Something Wrong with America? or Why Is America Hated? By A. J. Harvey-Hall

An interesting piece from a reader and financial supporter (thank you!) of this website. Hope you enjoy it.

Something Wrong With America? or Why is America hated?

By A. J. Harvey-Hall, Australia

Where do I start?
I originally wrote this in 2013 when I was mad as hell, and here we are in 2015, and I am still mad as hell at you guys. Most of what I have written has come true.
Don’t believe me – ask your Remote Viewing (Project Stargate) people to drop in and check me out. It works both ways in case you are unaware.
Coming from Australia I can tell you a hell of a lot of where America “went wrong”. I am not saying Australia is/was perfect – it’s just a fact we were the last large island/continent settled by the so-called enlightened Westerners – due to distance we saw where everyone else stuffed up and decided as a whole not to do that (Commonwealth knowledge?).
Canada is very similar to Australia, so look to them as well. One thing’s for certain – everyone gets a fair go in this country. We are multicultural and tolerant. Early Western settlers did not treat the Aboriginals appropriately, but in summary, it was probably no different to any superior culture that overtook another at some time in history. It’s easy to look back and say what the Westerners did to Aboriginals was disgraceful.
I have a right to tell you how it is because Australia is the only country that has fought every war alongside America all through WW1 and WW2 and several “police” actions.
Let’s revisit some words spoken by one of your greatest presidents in the course of the America’s Cup back in 1962 when Australia was still a country of 10 million:
Quoting Kennedy –

Ambassador, Lady Beale, Ambassador and Mrs. Berckmeyer, Ambassador and Lady Ormsby Gore, the Ambassador from Portugal, our distinguished Ministers from Australia, Ladies and Gentlemen:
I know that all of us take the greatest pleasure in being here, first of all because whether we are Australian or American, we are all joined by a common interest, a common devotion and love for the sea.
And I am particularly glad to be here because this Cup is being challenged by our friends from Australia, this extraordinary group of men and women numbering some 10 million, who have demonstrated on many occasions, on many fields, in many countries, that they are the most extraordinarily athletic group in the world today, and that this extraordinary demonstration of physical vigor and skill has come not by the dictates of the state because the Australians are among the freest citizens in the world, but because of their choice…
Australia became committed to physical fitness, and it has been disastrous for the rest of us. We have the highest regard for Australia, Ambassador. As you said, we regard them as very satisfactory friends in peace and the best of friends in war. And I know there are a good many Americans of my generation who have the greatest possible reason to be grateful to the Australians who wrote a most distinguished record all the way from the desert of North Africa, and most particularly in the islands of the South Pacific, where their particular courage and gallantry I think met the strongest response in all of us in this country.
But I really don’t look to the past. I look to the present. The United States and Australia are most intimately bound together today, and I think that — and I speak as one who has had some experience in friendship and some experience in those who are not our friends — we value very much the fact that on the other side of the Pacific, the Australians inhabit a very key and crucial area and that the United States is most intimately associated with them. So beyond this race, beyond the result, rests this happy relationship between two great people.
– President John F. Kennedy, Newport, Rhode Island, September 14, 1962

Let’s go back to the (your) War of Independence:
The English were wrong in what they were doing – hence independence – not a problem. In gaining independence however you put in place the building blocks that as of today are not crumbling – they have already crumbled.
Every builder in the world knows that unless your foundations are spot on and repaired when cracks appear, a structure cannot live for hundreds of years. You must update and repair as you go to ensure the building is viable for hundreds of years ongoing – not just paper over it.
The building I am referring to is the “United States of America”. It has now crumbled as a result of a demarcation dispute between your two political parties that act worse than our Australian Parliament. Each party is only out to make a name for itself and has lost the understanding of “serving the people”.
Let’s talk about your constitution – ohhh – am I upsetting you already? Remember I am an outsider who is looking in giving you an unbiased opinion.
When your Constitution was framed it was OK, for the day!
It is now the oldest ‘out of date’ Constitution in the world. Don’t stand behind your outdated constitution. Start again. Be bold.
Yes – you have made amendments, but those amendments are just papering over extensions – you need to go back and look at the foundations and do the work there.
Take one example – a right to bear arms.
It was OK 200 years ago when things were a bit rough – it is not acceptable in the 20th or 21st Centuries, but you will not remove that right. How many people have died in your country as a result of that one so called right?
Your gun culture is one of the bases (not basis) that has crumbled. This is ultimately why you have numerous police forces that are happy to shoot first and ask questions later.
Your children and work colleagues will continue to die in massacres as a result of this “right“. They will continue to die in soft target areas such as schools, mass transport, malls, parades (early days – wait for it).
Hang on – maybe the British, Russians or Communists are still coming to invade. Pity you don’t update your Constitution the same way you enforce updates to laws you force upon people who want to trade with you.
You allow gun lobbyists to “set the course” with government officials, senators and the public.
Since when did lobbyists of any ilk run the government? Since when did they represent “the people”?
You continue to think of arms as a gun – they are no longer guns – instead are bombs, viruses or maybe even the Internet itself. But it’s OK because you have a right” to bear arms.
Let’s talk about your medical care.
Actually let’s save time and refer to Michael Moore. He is spot on. How can you allow your own citizens suffer and even die on the streets because they don’t have medical insurance? And some of your citizens applaud this stance.
How about your returned veterans – even wounded veterans have to fight to get medical assistance upon return – why – because you outsourced the process and someone applied expiry dates that wounded veterans were not aware of. It then requires an act of Congress or a law to be passed to allowed them back into the system.
More veterans have committed suicide upon return that you lost in actual combat. That is an absolute disgrace.
Even that poor, small country across from Florida – Cuba – does it better than you. A pissant island makes you look like a disgrace. Ohhh that’s right…you won’t interact with them because they put one over you in the Cuban Missile crisis. Get over it – you eventually did with Vietnam. And that leads me to another chapter – Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia…or shouldn’t I mention all the “minor” illegal wars you waged?
You lost LOST the Vietnam War – admit it. You will also lose the Afghanistan and Iraqi Wars. The Middle Eastern wars are also bankrupting your country – why can’t day to day Americans see this? No one (starting with Alexander the Great) has ever conquered Afghanistan – get real or get out.
If you think those wars are over, and as G. W. Bush said, “Mission completed”…think again. You have effectively put people in charge who are far worse than the dictators that were already there in Egypt, Iraq, Tunisia, Afghanistan etc. and now you are trying to do the same in Crimea via the Ukraine. You are responsible for the extremists that are now running around the Middle East, and I don’t mean Al Qaeda. You are responsible for the creation of ISIS.
Let’s look at all those African refugees (including Syrians, Lebanese etc.) who are risking their lives to cross the Mediterranean Sea to get to Europe. The USA is totally responsible for all these simply because of WMD lies that resulted in the invasion of Iraq. All Middle East actions from thereon are his fault. He is a war criminal – oopps did I break one of your laws saying he is a war criminal in the land of the free and home of the brave? The land of free speech?
Fact – history is written by the victors.
The USA is trying to run the Middle East like a corporation – all the top executives from the G. W. Bush era on are criminals lining their own pockets.
Starting wars in the 21st century will no longer get a country out of a recession. It’s simply profit-making. Why don’t you take Saudi Arabia to task for 9/11? Ohhh that’s right, they control the oil flow. Don’t upset them – why don’t you find an alternative to Middle East oil?
Are you getting a message here?
The entire world dislikes and even hates you. You have acted the bully for many years after The Korean War, effectively destroying the good will you established in the early 20th century. You are hated across all lines – economic, religious, social, political and otherwise.
What is your obsession with Israel?
Fact – Israel was founded by Jewish terrorists. They set off bombs, killed people and destroyed property to achieve their aims. Because the world had ‘sympathy’ for Jews after WW2, it happened and a blind eye was turned. Today Middle America strongly believes in the Bible literally and as such wants to see Israel succeed in order the “Second Coming” results.
People – the Bible is a guide. It is not Gospel.
Why? In the early centuries, the Roman Catholic Church held conferences and decided which books, writings and teachings ended up in “The Bible”. God did not decide which early Christian books ended up in The Bible – so it is absolute rubbish for someone to state that the Bible guides what the United States should do. Too many real accounts of Jesus’ workings were excluded. The Roman Catholic Church is responsible for closing our eyes to the real Christ.
Hopefully Pope Francis can arrest this BS.
There are numerous United Nations resolutions that Israel has refused to comply with. By the way – are you (USA) financially paid up with the UN, or do you still refuse to pay in a timely manner in order to attempt to remind them that you rule over them?
How about the Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq that lead to invasion? Colin Powell held up a drawing and said – here is the proof. You never found proof and never admitted you were wrong. Yes – Saddam Hussein was a bastard but he had the warring clans under control. It was all ALL about oil and nothing else. When the mud got too deep, you changed tact and said it was all about democracy. How far is Greece from Iraq? – damn closer that the USA. If the Greeks could not influence them – you sure in Hell can’t.
You can resolve the Palestinian problem in a matter of weeks, but you won’t due to that “minority” in the Middle East. This bullshit has been going on for 60 years.
Everyone knows (sorry – obviously you don’t) – the longer a problem festers, the harder and more costly it is to resolve.
I worked in the finance industry for many years and can only say that the number of times “we” (non-Americans) had to change our processes and rules etc. because the USA had set ‘”new standards” makes me sick. The standards set were not improvements – they were changed to line your pockets.
Look at Sarbanes Oxley for example – the world spent hundreds of billions of $’s attempting to comply because the USA would not do business with another country unless they did so only to see the USA itself found it too costly to implement itself! What a joke!
We now have many European countries in dire straits as a direct result of the exporting of American ways.
You destroyed the financial industry with your Subprime rubbish.
What about changes to financial models and makes etc. of any product or service that demand that people buy the “updated” version to reline your pockets. This is simply to keep the money wheel turning. You are desperately trying to ensure it keeps turning long enough for your problems to be passed to some other country or the next generation.
Ever thought about how much you spend on items such as defense, spying, war, inventing, manufacturing and using machines of war? Just imagine if only half of that was diverted to your health programs, science or to the benefit of other countries less fortunate? What about converting the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines into an international force for peace and relief of local and international disasters?
How can you allow a company to have a patent on the human breast cancer gene? You have to be kidding the world – but then again that’s your Constitution at work. No one owns human genes!
What happened to the “United States” that I remember as a child? That far-off country whose technology was so far advanced we could never dream of equaling.
What happened to that country that every county – even Russia in the old days – feared  -a form of respect?
Oh – and how long before I get the FBI, CIA, and all your other bullshit muscle agencies to frame me for some rubbish and shut me down…
A parting true story:
In late 1978/early 1979 my family traveled to Washington state where my father was working on behalf of a company in Australia. Unfortunately, departing Auckland NZ they had an emergency which meant we had to go back, dumping fuel on the way. 24 hours later we took off again after repairs and finally landed in Honolulu. My mother was pretty savvy and said get to the front of the Customs line so we can get to the connecting flight to LA.
Well – I was at the front of the queue, 18 years old, looking at an overweight female Customs officer wearing a gun strutting back and forwards. Her welcoming words to the Australians and New Zealanders were, “If you step over that yellow line, I will shoot you!” What a fucking joke – in 1978! No wonder you have a gun problem.
Welcome to America!
Congratulations to the NRA who lobby the most congressman/women on both sides.
Fact – I was born in July 1960, and in November 1963 I still vividly recall my parents being very upset when they heard of the news of Kennedy’s death despite my being three years old. All the more remarkable is the fact that we lived in Papua New Guinea – a protectorate of Australia at the time – literally a colonial backwater. I was too young to understand but remembered the words Kennedy and death and vaguely remembered the Cuba Crisis. We cried in the backwaters of the Pacific!
I fully understand that the Kennedys had their dalliances. Small beer in the scheme of things.
He and his brother are the standard you must return to.
Did Kennedy not say “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country?”
And in closing, written on the base of the Statue of Liberty…

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Emma Lazurus

My country totally lacks world-shaking oratory ,but I think we more than make up with it in our actions.

The Hell with the Pentagon

As the agency which enforces US foreign policy at gunpoint, the Pentagon has always blown.
First of all, there is no such thing as the Defense Department. When has the Pentagon ever defended the country? Pearl Harbor? They did a fine job there, huh?
Obviously the task of the Pentagon is not to defend the US mainland, which is all it ever ought to do anyway.
Its task is to running around the world starting wars and killing people in other countries. Leaving aside whether that is sometimes a good idea (and I think it is,) what’s so defensive about that?
The real name of the Pentagon is the War Department.That’s what it was always called until World War 2, which the War Department won. After that in a spate of Orwellian frenzy, we named an army of aggression an army of self-defense and comically renamed its branch the Defense Department.
It’s like calling cops peace officers. You see anything peaceful about what a cop does in a typical day? Neither do I?
There was a brief glimmer of hope there in WW2 when we finally starting killing fascists and rightwingers instead of sleeping with them, but the ink was barely dry on the agreements before we were setting up the Gladio fascists, overthrowing Greek elections and slaughtering Greek peasants like ants.
Meanwhile it was scarcely a year after 1945 when the US once again started a torrid love affair with fascism and rightwing dictators like we have always done. We were smooching it up right quick with Europe’s fascists, in this case the former Nazis of Germany (who became the West German elite), Greek killer colonels, Mussolini’s heirs, actual Nazis in Ukraine, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, Jew-Nazis in Palestine, Franco (who we never stopped sleeping with anyway), Salazar, the malign Mr. Churchill, the true repulsive Dutch royalty and disgusting European colonists the world over, who we showered with guns and bombs to massacre the colonized.
In 1945, a war against fascism, reaction, Nazism and malign colonialism had ended, and for some reason America had fought against these things instead of supporting them as usual.
1946, and we were back in old style again, hiring Nazis by the busload for the CIA, overthrowing democratic governments and putting in genocidal dictatorships, becoming butt buddies with fascist swine everywhere.
So you see we have always pretty much sucked. World War 1 was fought amidst one of the most dishonest propaganda campaigns the world had ever seen, the Korean War was a Godawful mess where we turned North Korea to flaming rubble with the population cowering in caves while slaughtering 3 million North Koreans.
The horrific catastrophe called the Indochinese Wars, such as the Vietnam War, the Secret War in Laos and the Cambodian Massacre, where we genocided 500,000 Cambodians with bombs, driving the whole place crazy and creating the Khmer Rogue.
Panama and Grenada were pitiful jokes, malign, raw, naked imperialism at its worst.
The Gulf War was a brief return to sanity but turkey shoots are sickening.
Of course that followed on with the most evil war in US history, the Nazi-like war on aggression called The War on the Iraqi People (usually called the Iraq War), the Afghan rabbit hole which started out sensibly enough but turned into another Vietnam style Great Big Mess.
I suppose it is ok that we are killing Al Qaeda guys and I give a shout out to our boys over there fighting ISIS or the Taliban and Al Qaeda in South-Central Asia, Somalia and Yemen. Some people need killing.
But I sure don’t feel that way about their superiors, the US officers who fund and direct ISIS, Al Qaeda, etc. out of an Operations Center in Jordan with Jordanian, Israeli (!), Saudi, UAE, and Qatari officers.
And it was very thoughtful of the Pentagon to cover up the Ukrainian Air Force shootdown of the jetliner which we saw on the radar of our ships in Black Sea.
And it was nice of the US to relay the flight path of the Russian jet to the Turks 24 hours in advance so they could shoot down that Russian jet and kill that pilot.
One hand giveth and the other taketh away. For every good thing we do in Syria and Iraq, we do 10 or 20 bad things. Pretty much the story of the Pentagon.
Sure if you fought in WW2 or one of the few other decent wars, you have something to be proud of, and I can even say, “Thank you for your service,” but the main thing is that you signed up for the rightwing army of the rich that is dead set against the people and popular rule everywhere on Earth. Sure, it’s a great army, professional, super-competent and deadly, but it’s generally tasked with doing lousy things. Why anyone would sign up for that reactionary nightmare of an institution is beyond me. America needs to level the Pentagon and put in a true People’s Army instead. Like that would ever happen.

Syrian Government Sued for Killing US Journalist

Here.
I am sure that they did it. That’s a nasty little regime they have over there in Syria. On the other hand, Assad seems to be better than any of the alternatives, which isn’t saying much.
I never agree with targeting journalists during war, but increasingly just about everyone does it. We definitely targeted journalists and even whole media outfits in the first weeks of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. We bombed the Al Jazeera building in Kabul, and we attacked Al Jazeera reporters in a Baghdad hotel. There were fatalities in both cases. In both Iraq wars, the US bombed all major Iraqi news outlets and newspapers, but most of them kept reporting anyway. The Pentagon said they were targeted for “disseminating enemy propaganda in wartime.”
Recent Pentagon documents discuss the need to “control the narrative” during wartime and speak of another need to silence enemy critics and journalists who are seen as combatants in an information war. The language used to describe propaganda, controlling the narrative and targeting journalists sympathetic to the enemy is genuinely creepy.
Lousy countries always do this sort of thing in wartime, but I thought we were above this.
Putin has had reporters beaten up for reporting on Russian soldiers who were killed fighting in Ukraine when there supposed to be no Russians there. He is also implicated in the killing of journalists, including a woman who was famous for reporting on Russian atrocities in Chechnya.
Turkey routinely targets journalists, especially Kurdish reporters. A number of them have been killed.
Israel is notorious for targeting journalists. Palestinian journalists are arrested regularly, and a number have been shot by soldiers. A fair number of them have been killed. Some American journalists have also been killed by the IDF, and at least one was killed.
The US would not defend this journalist at all, and instead seemed to take Israel’s side. So here we have a government that supports a foreign state over its own people. Our country should be called “USrael” to symbolize the extent to which we dutifully support this foreign country against all common sense. An interview with a representative of the Israeli government regarding this case was tense and combative, and the Israeli seemed to be arguing that journalists were legitimate targets as some sort of “terrorist supporters” or “terror propagandists.”
I was always taught that my country was the good guy. I was taught how we generally fought fair and square in World War 2. This made me so proud to be an American. I learned quite a few things since then that made me question that line. But this recent behavior of the Pentagon’s has made me lose all hope. I had thought we were above this sort of crap and that we believed in fighting fair at least out of a gentlemanly honor. Turns out I was wrong. While we do fight quite a bit more fairly than most other countries (and so do the Israelis), a lot of our behavior is scumbucket low down there with the worst Turd World shitholes.
Color me disenchanted. I am not so much an America-hater as a disappointed patriot gone sour.

“France’s Response to Paris Attacks Encourages ISIS’s Caliphate Fantasy,” by Eric Walberg

Eric is a personal friend of mine and he published this on Academia.edu so that usually means anyone can grab it as long as you credit them. Lately, Eric writes for the Iranian media, presumably for money. I believe Kieth Preston is also writing for the Iranians these days.

I am putting this up mostly to provoke discussion.

France’s Response to Paris Attacks Encourages ISIS’s Caliphate Fantasy

Eric Walberg

France’s emotional response to the recent tragedy, devoid of reason and ignoring history, just makes matters worse.

 

The death toll in the November 13 attacks in Paris stands at 127. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani sent a message to his French counterpart Francois Hollande condemning the attacks. “In the name of the Iranian nation, itself a victim of the evil scourge of terrorism, I strongly condemn these inhumane crimes and condole with the bereaved French nation and government.”

In contrast, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu opened his weekly Cabinet meeting by calling on world leaders to condemn terror against … Israel. He began by addressing the killing of two Israelis, ignoring the 81 Palestinians who have died in protests this month. “The time has come for the nations of the world to condemn terrorism against us as much as they condemn terrorism anywhere else in the world.” He pledged Israeli intelligence assistance to France, adding “An attack on any of us needs to be seen as an attack on all of us.”

Translate: France’s tragedy is a wake-up call for solidarity with … Israel.

France’s Colonial Legacy

Until 2012, France was spared serious terrorist attacks, but its enduring colonial mentality continues to stoke anger. Most evident recently was the official defense of anti-Muslim hate literature published by the magazine Charlie Hebdo. Rather than persecuting the Islamophobes, which would have prevented blowback by enraged Muslims, the French insistence on freedom led to an attack in January on the Paris offices of the magazine, killing 12 people and wounding 11 others.

Worse yet, the new Socialist President Hollande pushed ahead with a return to outright colonial invasion, with air strikes and arms to Syrian rebels in opposition to both the Syrian government and ISIS supporters. This confused policy only makes sense if the intent is to dismantle the Syrian state and refashion a Syrian puppet government, harking back to France’s invasion of Syria-Lebanon following WWI in collusion with Britain, when they destroyed the Ottoman state and set up puppet regimes across the Middle East.

France was slow to adjust to post-WWII decolonization, and stubbornly maintained its military presence not only in Vietnam but in the Middle East. Along with Britain, now both humiliated bankrupt powers, it was in no position to enforce its will, and it handed over its colonial possessions to the US either directly or via the new world order institutions. Plus, of course, intrigue where a glimmer of independence appeared, as in Iran in 1953 or Egypt 1956.

Worst of all was the horror France inflicted for more than a century in Algeria. Algeria had to suffer a long, brutal war of liberation in which a million Algerians died before France finally left in 1962. French meddling in Algeria since has only compounded the animosity, especially the support given the military coup in 1992 in which 200,000 Algerians died.

France’s current return to openly colonial policies, first in Afghanistan, then Libya, Mali and now Syria, are guaranteed to have dire consequences. To its credit, France did not support the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, but there are now 3,200 French troops there.

France and US Support the Terrorists

France and the US have played a dangerous and foolish hand in their great games of asserting world power, at times using jihadists (1980s in Afghanistan) and at other times attacking them (1990s+ in Afghanistan), sometimes both at the same time (2011+ in Syria).

“Thank God for the Saudis and Prince Bandar,” John McCain told CNN in January 2014. Is McCain not aware that two of the most successful factions fighting Syrian President Assad’s forces are Islamist extremist groups Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS, and that their success is due to the support they have received from Qatar and Saudi Arabia? A senior Qatari official told The Atlantic journalist Steve Clemons that “he can identify al-Nusra commanders by the blocks they control in various Syrian cities. But ISIS is another matter. As one senior Qatari official stated, ‘ISIS has been a Saudi project.’”

France doesn’t have a wild card like McCain, but, like the US, supports Islamic fundamentalists in Syria and elsewhere through its ties with the Saudi and Qatari regimes and its actions in Syria. Even after it became obvious to everyone that the regime change project in Syria has led to an expansion of terrorism, Hollande was still pursuing it.

But then this hypocrisy goes for all the western nations, in the first place Canada, which has been bombing Syrian rebels and, at the same time, just signed a $14.8b arms deal with Saudi Arabia. The largest arms exports contract in Canadian history will be remembered as going to one of the worst human rights violators in the world and a funder of ISIS-related groups in Syria and Iraq.

In fact, Canada’s record on bombing Muslims in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, on restricting burqas and promoting ‘free speech’ defaming Islam, mirrors France, and led to a shooting last year that penetrated the parliament buildings in Ottawa and had Prime Minister Harper cowering in his closet.

Harper’s answer, when he had stopped shaking, was the same as Hollande’s: he insisted that “Canada will not be intimidated” by acts of violence and remained committed to Canada’s efforts “to work with our allies around the world and fight against the terrorist organizations … who bring their savagery to our shores.” He did admit that “we’re all aware and deeply troubled that both attacks were carried out by Canadian citizens, by young men born and raised in this peaceful country,” but, like Hollande today, failed to draw the logical conclusion.

Powder Keg

France has the largest Muslim population in Europe at 4m. Despite its claims of “liberty, equality and brotherhood”, it is considered the most racist country in Europe. French-Algerian communities still live on impoverished housing estates, go to bad schools, and have few opportunities for social advancement.

Discrimination in everything from jobs to housing is routine. There are few French-Algerians in politics, the law, the media or any other profession, though the prisons are full. Hollande refuses to reverse measures like the burqa ban and has highlighted his opposition to halal meat and praying in the street because of a lack of mosques.

Populist rightwing politicians like Nicolas Sarkozy and the National Front’s Marine Le Pen routinely portray alienated migrant communities as France’s enemy within. Le Pen garnered 20% of the popular vote in the first round of May’s presidential elections.

In their communique, the perpetrators of the recent attacks listed France’s crimes as leading a “new crusade” in Syria, as well as defending Charlie Hebdo magazine, and just because of general French decadence and racism. They claimed their targets were well chose ― a football match between ‘crusaders’ France and Germany attended by Hollande, and the Bataclan exhibition where “hundreds of pagans gathered for a concert of prostitution and vice” (the California group Eagles of Death Metal).

“This is for Syria,” were the last words of one of the Paris attackers. But he could have said it was for Mali, or Libya, or Iraq. France is very proactive against Islamists worldwide, especially in the face of what is frequently seen as British and American retreat. Over 10,000 French troops are currently deployed abroad. In addition to Iraq, there are over 5,000 troops in western and central Africa. Last week Hollande announced that France will deploy an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf to assist the fight against ISIS.

As with Osama Bin Laden’s strategy of promoting dramatic terrorist attacks in the West to provoke a crackdown and to radicalize Muslims, the strategy behind the current attacks is to generate a French crackdown to encourage Muslims to follow ISIS’s caliphate fantasy. It has worked all too well so far, and Hollande’s vow to be “ruthless” in his response leads him and France in the wrong direction.

In his address on recent events, Iran’s Leader Imam Khameini acknowledged that “there are voices of criticism in the West about its colonial past. But they only criticize the distant past. Why should the revision of collective conscience apply to the distant past and not to the current problems?”

Originally published here.

Salafi Jihadism: Part 1

Original here. This essay is very well-done, the best I have ever read on the subject.

This is the first of a two-part post on Salafi jihadism. Part 1 is intended to provide a definition of jihad, a look at the history of Salafism/Wahhabism, their similarities and differences and how they spread in the end of the 20th century.

Also before anyone thinks I’m targeting Salafis for an agenda, I intend to cover jihadism in each segment of Islam. I simply chose to begin with Salafi jihadism due to its greater relevance and attention in the world today.

Definition of Jihad: The Arabic word Jihad is derived from the verb Jahada – meaning to strive or struggle. In Islamic terminology it means to make an effort, to endeavor and to strive for a noble cause. The word is generally used to describe any type of striving in the cause of Allah (God). According to Islamic teachings there are three main types of Jihad as explained below:

i) Jihad-e-Akbar, i.e jihad of the highest order. This is the jihad (struggle) for self-reformation. The struggle is against our own temptations such as greed, lust and other worldly temptations. This type of jihad is obligatory on every Muslim throughout his life.

ii) Jihad-e-Kabir, i.e major jihad. This is the jihad of propagation of the truth, the message of Qur’an. The Qur’an also instructs us to spread this message with wisdom, tolerance and respect to others and their beliefs and prohibits the use of any coercion or force. According to the Qur’an anyone who devotes his time, effort, wealth or knowledge to the cause of righteousness is practicing Jihad-e-Kabir. This is also obligatory on all Muslims.

iii) Jihad-e-Asghar, i.e jihad of the lower order. This is the jihad of a defensive battle. The Qur’an has clearly restricted this type of jihad to certain conditions while forbidding transgression of any sort. The conflict must of a defensive nature for the Muslim community, Muslims must have been prevented from freely practicing their religion and beliefs, and they must have been driven from their homes.

Another requirement for the declaration of this type of jihad is the existence of an Islamic State and a Muslim leader to declare it; without this condition, Muslims are allowed to defend themselves in case of being attacked or persecuted but not to declare and prosecute an official jihad. Once a jihad has been declared, the Muslim army is bound by a set of regulations to observe while on campaign, some of which are listed here.[1][2]

It is critical to understand that the aim of jihad is not the conversion of non-Muslim populations. Most scholars agree upon the concept of jihad being a defensive measure; some modern Islamic revivalists such as Sayyid Qutb and Abdullah Azzam argued for the use of jihad as an offensive measure but for the expansion of Muslim territory and Islamic ideals rather than the religious conversion of the local peoples, forced or otherwise, to Islam. As a result, jihad is similar to the Christian concept of a crusade but differs in this critical matter among others. However, jihad is a hotly debated topic in jurisprudence, and a look at the opinions of various scholars can be found here.[3]

History of Salafism/Wahhabism: Salafism is a conservative, orthodox movement within Sunni Islam that seeks to return the practice of Islam to its fundamentals. As such, it emphasizes emulation of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and the Salaf as Saliheen (Pious Predecessors) which comprise the first three generations of Muslims (Companions, Successors and Successors of the Successors), and it rejects any rituals or beliefs not practiced by them; as a result, they are against any innovations, or bidah.

In legal jurisprudence, Salafis are divided among those that remain faithful to the four Sunni maddhabs (schools of law) and those that reject them in favour of ijtihad (independent legal judgement).

In terms of politics, Salafis are generally divided into three categories.

The largest category consists of the quietists, those who believe in remaining indifferent to politics and repression in favour of being closer to God.

The next largest category is the activists, that comprises those who participate in politics to advocate for Islamist agendas and religious legislation.

The smallest category by far is the jihadists, which are the most well known category worldwide but are a tiny minority.

The central tenets of Salafism have existed since the earlier days of Islam, with scholars such as Ibn Taymiyyah referring to and emphasizing adherence to the model of the Salaf. However, Salafism did not spread widely until the 18th century when Muhammad Abdul Wahhab started preaching in the Najd area of Arabia. Abdul Wahhab believed that the practices of the society around him, including venerating the tombs of the Companions, or making invocations to holy men, were similar to the practices during the pre-Islamic Jahiliya (Age of Ignorance).

Thus, he wished to return to a more puritan and conservative form of Islam free of any supposed innovations or bidah and similar to how he believed Islam was practiced in its earliest days. He also believed that those who professed themselves to be Muslim but participated in bidah were beyond the pale of Islam. He began preaching in the town of Unayna, but his actions and ideals were unpopular with the nobility of the era, with Abdul Wahhab being expelled from his town due to pressure applied by a powerful chief, Sulaiman ibn Muhammad ibn Ghurayr.

However, he managed to find refuge with the ruler of the town of Diriyah, Muhammad ibn Saud. In 1744, they formed a pact whereby ibn Saud would protect and propagate the doctrines espoused by Abdul Wahhab by military action, while the latter would religiously legitimize the former’s military conquests and allow the imposition of Islamic taxation, which would net the Al Sauds more income than at the current rates.

Hence began a period of conquest over multiple generations that expanded the Al Sauds’ holdings to much of Arabia, created the First Saudi State and the propagation of Abdul Wahhab’s teachings, pejoratively termed Wahhabism by its critics, outside of Najd. This is also where Abdul Wahhab broke with traditional Salafist thinking; unlike traditional Salafists, Abdul Wahhab was willing to use force and coercion to spread his teachings and was willing to participate in politics and political agreements to achieve that goal.

Scholars are disputed over the degree of brutality sanctioned by Abdul Wahhab, but it is clear that in successive generations, the Wahhabis have become more and more radical, ultimately adopting ibn Taymiyyah’s ideas of takfir (excommunication); this allowed them to brand Muslims living in violation of Islamic law to be non-Muslims and thus justified their fighting against other Muslims. They also adopted a ‘convert or die’ approach to their enemies.

This increasing ruthlessness was the cause of the Al Saud’s downfall. In 1802, the Wahhabis attacked Karbala, slaughtering much of the population and desecrating the shrine of Imam Hussain, and launched a similar assault on Taif in 1803, slaughtering the male population and enslaving women and children.

Ultimately, the Ottoman Empire, which controlled Arabia at the time, had enough and dispatched an army in 1818 that destroyed the First Saudi State, killing the Al Saud ruler, razing Diriyah and doing their best to stamp out both the House of Saud and the Wahhabi movement. However, the remoteness of the Najd prevented either from happening, and a Second Saudi State resulted in that region; consequently, by the end of the 19th century, most of the townspeople in the area were Wahhabis.

Many of the new members were former Bedouins who abandoned nomadic life for settlements on the insistence of Wahhabi religious scholars who declared that a nomadic lifestyle was incompatible with Islam. The newly settled Bedouins served well as soldiers for the Wahhabi religious leaders.

Although alive, Wahhabism remained mostly confined to the Najd till the end of the First World War. During the war, the reigning head of the Al Saud family, Abdulaziz ibn Saud, aided the Allies by revolting against the Ottomans. Although his campaign to rule Arabia had begun in 1901, he was unable to assert his authority over Hijaz until 1923, when the British removed their support for the Sharifs of Makkah.

In 1927, Abdulaziz signed a treaty with the British, who recognized his independence from the former Ottoman territories in exchange for letting go of Transjordan, Iraq, Kuwait and other British protectorates. However, Abdulaziz faced an internal rebellion among his troops. During his campaigns, he made use of the Ikhwan, a militia of radical Wahhabi Bedouin warriors. When he signed the treaty with the British, the Ikhwan refused to obey and raided Transjordan.

Unwilling to risk British ire, Abdulaziz fought the Ikhwan and defeated them in 1929 with British support. The survivors of the Ikhwan were then organized in various militias which would later form the core of the Saudi Arabian National Guard. Although defeated, the Ikhwan left their mark on Arabian society by uprooting the old cultural norms and supplanting them with radical Wahhabi ideology as part of their campaign on behalf of the Al Sauds.

In addition, Wahhabi ideology spread to the cities of Makkah and Madinah and gained control of the religious apparatus in the land. Although the Wahhabi religious establishment was given much latitude with respect to religious observance and teaching, in many cases Abdulaziz overruled the ulema, allowing the driving of automobiles and the attendance of Shia pilgrims at the annual Hajj. In addition, most of Abdulaziz’s consolidation of power and dealings with Western powers kept him at odds with the ulema.

Although Salafism/Wahhabism inspired offshoots such as the Ahl-e-Hadith and Deoband movements in South Asia, the reach of these two ideologies was quite low during most of the 20th century. Even within Saudi Arabia, the implementation of Islamic law was relatively relaxed compared to today.

This changed in 1979, when two things happened. First the Iranian Revolution occurred, toppling the Shah there and sending shockwaves through the monarchies in the region. Second, the Grand Mosque in Makkah was taken over by Islamic extremists who called for the stricter implementation of Islamic doctrines and the fall of the Al Saud family.

In the aftermath of these events, the Saudi government became stricter in religious matters. Due to the huge increase in oil income since the 1973 oil crisis, the government had lavished funding on religious literature, scholarships and hundreds of new Islamic schools, universities and mosques. In order to counter any threat of an Iranian-style revolution by the Shia population of the country and to satisfy disgruntled conservative clerics, this funding was further increased.

The beginning of the Afghan War provided an opportunity to export troublesome clerics to Pakistan, Afghanistan and other countries. This achieved two aims; first, it allowed the Sauds to embed a Wahhabi religious establishment of their choice, and secondly, the export of Wahhabi ideology served as a bulwark against the revolutionary doctrines that Iran was beginning to propagate in the Middle East. Since the Afghan War attracted volunteers from all over the Muslim world, almost all of whom spent time in the Saudi-sponsored religious schools, the spread of Salafism was assured.[4]

Due to the financial support that Salafism/Wahhabism enjoys from the Gulf, it has received attention and commands influence disproportionate to its size. There are roughly 50 million Salafists in the world, a tiny fraction of the total Muslim population.[5] Yet, Salafi scholars such as Zakir Naik from India are some of the most recognizable in the Muslim world, having instant name recognition even amongst many non-Salafis.

The Salafi movement is described as the fastest growing Islamic movement in the world, according to a report by the BND, the German domestic intelligence service.[6] This is especially true for regions such as Europe and North America, which have no native Islamic traditions of their own and thus are more susceptible to supplanting than historically Muslim areas.

Although Salafis have historically been peaceful and apolitical, believing in using persuasion rather than force, modern Salafism is often considered indistinguishable from Wahhabism and in many cases, conflict has arisen when Salafis have tried to propagate their doctrines. For instance in Pakistan, there is much animosity between followers of the Deoband movement, inspired by Salafism, and the Barelvi movement, inspired by the Sufi traditions of the subcontinent.

Moreover, in the aftermath of the Arab Spring, more and more Salafists are becoming part of the activist category, joining politics to propagate their beliefs. One example of such a movement is the Nour Party in Egypt, which gained a quarter of the seats in the 2011-12 elections.

In normal circumstances, one might consider the engagement of conservative Islamists in democratic politics to be a positive sign; however, the failure of the Arab Spring to bring meaningful change to the lives of people in most of the affected countries has disillusioned many democratic Salafis, many of whom have shifted to the jihadist category of Salafism, thinking military action to be the last feasible route.[7]

Sources:

1 http://islamicfaq.org/jihad/

2 http://www.islamhelpline.net/node/441

3 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jihad#Current_usage

4 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wahhabism

5 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salafi_movement#cite_note-123

6 http://www.aina.org/news/20120416150547.htm

7 http://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21656189-islams-most-conservative-adherents-are-finding-politics-hard-it-beats

The Blood on Obama’s Hands: Kunduz Hospital Attack Designed “to Kill and Destroy”

I have not written about this attack yet, but this article sums up my feelings about it. Obviously there was a deliberate attack on the hospital. The story that Afghan government troops called in the strike and we then hit the hospital by accident does not seem to be true.

MSF had given the coordinates of the hospital to the US a number of times before the attack. The location was given again two days before and the day of the attack. US intelligence knew where the hospital was, as they had been discussing whether or not a Pakistani spy was present in the hospital.

The hospital repeatedly called the US military while the attack was taking place, but the attack went on anyway. The attack went on for an incredible one hour and fifteen minutes, even while hospital staff were calling and reporting that the attack was taking place! This means it was 100% intentional.

They either did it because they thought the Pakistani spy was there, or because they thought some Taliban were hiding there, or, most likely of all, to punish the hospital for treating Taliban fighters. Field hospitals and medics have always been off limits for attacks as per the Geneva Conventions, but the Pentagon’s latest horrifying Laws of War Manual seems to exempt the US military from virtually all of the Geneva and other Conventions we have signed.

The US military did this at least once before. In the Battle of Fallujah, the military deliberately bombed Fallujah’s hospital which was treating wounded fighters and civilians. It was one of the first targets we hit. We knew exactly where it was and had been told many times where it was but we bombed it anyway. We obviously bombed it deliberately.

I used to think we were above all this crap but it looks like we are not and the US military is down there with the worst militaries on Earth when it comes to brutal ways of fighting war. How dare we complain about Assad! We are just as bad as he is!

The Blood on Obama’s Hands: Kunduz Hospital Attack Designed “to Kill and Destroy”

from Global Research

“Patients burned in their beds, medical staff were decapitated and lost limbs, and others were shot by the circling AC-130 gunship while fleeing the burning building.”

So reads the opening of an initial review issued Thursday by Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders—MSF), documenting the horrifying October 3 US airstrike on the charitable agency’s hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan.

While spelling out the carnage inflicted upon wounded men, women and children as well as doctors, nurses and other medical staff that day, the report adds to the already overwhelming evidence that the attack was neither an accident nor a case of “collateral damage,” but rather a deliberate war crime ordered by the Pentagon to further US military objectives in Afghanistan.

Among the new information provided by the report is that, after repeatedly providing the Pentagon, the US Army in Kabul as well as the Afghan authorities with the coordinates of the well-known medical facility, MSF staff at the Kunduz hospital received a phone call two nights before the attack from a US government official in Washington. He asked whether it “had a large number of Taliban ‘holed up’ there.” The official was told that the hospital was functioning normally and at full capacity, with some wounded Taliban fighters among the patients.

The hospital, the report states, was well-lit and clearly marked, with MSF insignia on its roof. Based on interviews with some 60 staff members, the report establishes that there were no armed individuals in the facility and, indeed, there had been no fighting, gunshots or explosions in the vicinity of the hospital in the evening preceding the attack.

The attack by the slow-moving, propeller-driven AC-130 gunship lasted between an hour and an hour and 15 minutes, with the plane continuously circling the hospital, hitting it with its multiple rapid-fire cannon, precision bombs and missiles.

“The view from inside the hospital is that this attack was conducted with a purpose to kill and destroy,” Christopher Stokes, MSF’s general director, told reporters at a press conference in Kabul on Thursday. “A mistake is quite hard to understand and believe at this time.”

The MSF report gives a chilling sense of the brutality of this crime. It recounts that the first area to be hit was the Intensive Care Unit, where immobile patients, including two children, were killed outright or burned to death in their hospital beds.

The operating theaters were then destroyed, with at least two patients killed as they lay on operating tables.

“An MSF nurse arrived at the administrative building covered from head to toe in debris and blood with his left arm hanging from a small piece of tissue after having suffered a traumatic amputation in the blast,” the report recounts.

Staff members described people being mowed down as they tried to flee the airstrike. “MSF doctors and other medical staff were shot while running to reach safety in a different part of the compound,” the report adds.

“One MSF staff member described a patient in a wheelchair attempting to escape from the inpatient department when he was killed by shrapnel from a blast,” the report states. “Other MSF staff describe seeing people running while on fire and then falling unconscious on the ground. One MSF staff was decapitated by shrapnel in the airstrikes.”

The US airstrike turned what had been the principal medical facility for over one million people in northeastern Afghanistan into hell on earth. In addition to wantonly killing patients and medical staff, it left the region’s entire population without badly needed medical care.

There are two plausible theories that have been advanced to explain the attack. The first, based on reporting by AP, indicates that the strike was ordered out of suspicion that a Pakistani intelligence officer who was coordinating operations with the Taliban was present in the hospital. In other words, mass murder against innocent civilians was carried out as part of a “targeted assassination” against one man.

The other explanation is that the US military decided to obliterate the hospital because it was treating wounded Taliban fighters.

In either case, under international law the attack constitutes a war crime, the kind of offense for which Nazi officers were tried and convicted at Nuremberg.

But not so under the legal rationales for US criminal aggression fashioned under the Obama administration.

As the four-part series, “The Pentagon’s Law of War Manual,” being finalized on the World Socialist Web Site today establishes, the pseudo-legal doctrine that has been crafted for the US military, while giving a formal nod to international law’s prohibition against targeting civilians, makes clear that in practice such attacks are not only allowed but encouraged.

“Civilians may be killed incidentally in military operations; however, the expected incidental harm to civilians may not be excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage from an attack,” the law of war manual states. In other words, the US military is allowed to kill civilians, and the greater the military objective, the more innocent men, women and children, not to mention doctors, nurses and patients, may be slaughtered.

Similarly, while stating that “feasible precautions” should be taken to “avoid” civilian casualties, the manual goes on to affirm that, if US commanders determine that “taking a precaution would result in operational risk (i.e., a risk of failing to accomplish the mission) or an increased risk of harm to their own forces, then the precaution would not be feasible and would not be required.” This is a clear mandate to US military officers to wipe out however many civilians they deem necessary to “accomplish the mission” or reduce their own casualties.

No doubt, within the US chain of command, such calculations were made to arrive at the decision to order an AC-130 to slowly and deliberately reduce a civilian hospital to rubble, killing at least 30 patients and medical staff and wounding many others.

The responsibility for this crime lies not merely with the crew of the flying gunship, the commanders on  the ground in Afghanistan or the top brass of the US military. It extends to the top of the US political establishment, including President Barack Obama and his top aides, who have done so much to make murderous violence around the world routine, from aggressive war, to drone assassinations to cold-blooded massacres.

The White House and the Pentagon have thus far stonewalled MSF’s demand for an independent investigation into the Kunduz hospital massacre.

Even more telling, Joanne Liu, president of MSF, reported this week that the agency had appealed to some 76 governments seeking support for an impartial investigation, but had received none. “The silence is embarrassing,” Liu told Reuters.

Behind this apparent indifference by capitalist governments around the globe to the horrors unleashed by the US military in Kunduz lies the recognition that this attack constituted not the exception, but the rule, not the product of a “tragic error” or “collateral damage,” but the inevitable expression of  the criminality of American imperialism.

“ISIL and the Taliban”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJ4LYj2uIQ0

You might get an error message if you try to play this video on the page here. If that happens,click on the Youtube icon in the lower right and watch it on Youtube, where it should work.

Fantastic documentary from Al Jazeera on the growing ISIS forces in Afghanistan.

ISIS is mostly in Nangarhar, Kunar and Nuristan. These are very rugged areas in the northeast where some of the most radical Taliban elements stay.

In addition, this area was very popular with high ranking Al Qaeda types. A video of Osama bin Laden and Ayman Zawahiri walking down a rocky mountain slope was probably shot in Kunar, and Tora Bora, where bin Laden made his escape, is in Nangarhar.

Nuristan was originally called Kafirstan, as it was pagan until Muslim invaders converted the area in the 1890’s. For some reason these relatively new converts to Islam became some of the most fundamentalist Muslims in the country.

Many small Indo-Iranian languages are spoken here that are pretty far from either Pashto, Persian or Urdu/Hindi. A lot of these people look very white – these are some of the Whitest people in Afghanistan. The very interesting Kalash people reside right across the border in Pakistan near Chitral.

The area is especially rugged – especially Nuristan and Kunar – and is more or less impenetrable. Nuristan is very steep, and the uniquely styled houses are cut right into the hillside in what looks like terraced villages. Many areas are only accessible by helicopter or on foot, as there it is not even passable by jeep, and there are only footpaths. Further, many of the bridges in Nuristan are only footbridges, and no vehicle can cross them. Many of the few US missions in Nuristan operated by dropping the troops in by helicopter. US forces took relatively heavy losses in this area. I believe there was a US base there which was nearly overrun by the Taliban.

The few Afghan government outposts were quickly abandoned, and the state has little or no presence in the area. I believe that for a time in the last decade, Nuristan even lacked a governor. Successive governors were appointed ,but the Taliban kept threatening them, and they would quit.

It is here where ISIS has chosen to set up its new home in Afghanistan. My understanding is that they have been able to recruit quite a few former Taliban into their ranks, and in addition, many new fighters have come from the Pakistani Taliban across the border, some of whose factions have already declared allegiance to ISIL.

ISIS and the Taliban are fighting in this area, as ISIS generally says that they are the only rebel army that can exist in any area, and they try force all competitors to either pledge allegiance to ISIS or be destroyed by ISIS’ army.

I fear that ISIS has quite a few fighters in Afghanistan (I believe over 1,000 at the very least and possibly thousands). The future will probably see more and more Afghan fighters pledging allegiance to ISIS and joining their side, but for the moment, their largest presence is in the northeast.

US Knew They Were Bombing Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Kunduz, Went ahead and Did It Anyway

Here.

Apparently US “analysts” (an analyst is generally CIA or some sort of intelligence personnel such as military intelligence) had been studying the Medicins Sans Frontiers Hospital in Kunduz for weeks and had become convinced that a major Taliban figure was using the hospital as a safe house to coordinate Taliban attacks all over Kunduz.

A major uproar took place when the US bombed this hospital in Kunduz, killing and wounding dozens of people. The attacks from a C-130 gunship continued for 30 minutes even as the organization frantically contacted the US military and told them that they were bombing a hospital. The hospital had also given the US the coordinates of the hospital several times before so it would not get accidentally bombed.

The US report said that Afghan military called in the attacks when they said they were taking gunfire from the hospital. The US plane apparently acted on the Afghan request without checking it out.

Now it turns out that US analysts believed that the hospital was being used as central control for the Taliban. In addition, either the US or the Afghans or both were angry that the hospital was treating wounded Taliban fighters.

It is looking dubious that the Afghans called in the attack themselves. Instead it looks like the US deliberately hit the hospital either because a Taliban leader was holed up there or to send a message to the Medicins Sans Frontiers organization to stop treating wounded Taliban fighters. If Medicins Sans Frontiers refused and continued to treat wounded Taliban, their hospitals might just get bombed.

US officials said that although a number of US officials knew where the hospital was, they were not sure if the fact that it was a hospital had been communicated to the C-130 crew when the crew attacked it, so the crew either could have been told that it was a hospital and went ahead and bombed it anyway, or the crew was deliberately left in the dark about the nature of the target.

I must say that when I heard this happened, I knew it was done deliberately, especially when the attacks did not stop for 30 minutes after the US was warned they were hitting a hospital. I figured that the US or Taliban ordered the strikes to punish Medicins Sans Frontiers for treating wounded Taliban, but now it looks like they may have been trying to take out a major Taliban figure instead.

Nothing surprised me about this attack. In the Total Spectrum Dominance Warfare Theory that the US now practices, hospitals that treat enemy wounded are considered to be military targets.

How far we have fallen.

US Foreign Policy: Nation State Destruction

Under folks like “Democrat” Anne-Marie “Humanitarian Bomber” Slaughter and “Republican” George “Mission Accomplished” Bush, US foreign policy really boils down to the removal of nation-states either by invasion, mercenary insurgency or armed coup. What’s left over is a failed state with little authority in most of its territory which is then ruled by various US proxy forces such as Nazis, fascists, warlords, tribal chiefs and Islamist fundamentalist idiots.
In Libya, we destroyed a brutal yet stable nation-state and replaced it with anarchy, a failed state apparatus and rule by tribes, warlords and radical Al Qaeda types with a continuous low level of violence.
In Syria, we destroyed a brutal yet stable nation-state and replaced with utter chaos, a mad civil war that left 180,000 dead and 9 million refugees and most of the nation in utter ruins outside of the state’s rule. Radical Islamists control vast swathes of land and atrocities occur continuously. The truth is that Syria has been destroyed.
In Iraq, the US removed a very brutal yet stable nation-state and replaced it with utter chaos, and a continuous insurgency followed by a savage civil war that has left 1.4 million Iraqis dead. Al Qaeda types control vast swathes of land, and Ayatollah types hold sway in the south. Iraq lies in ruins.
In Afghanistan, the US removed an evil yet fairly stable state under the Taliban and replaced it with military occupation and a failed state which barely has jurisdiction or control outside of Kabul city limits. Most of the land lies in ruins and a vast number of died for no particularly good reason. Afghanistan basically lies in ruins.
In Ukraine, the US replaced a stable but corrupt leader who refused to bow to IMF debt slavery and be a nation-seller. A man who got cold feet when it came down to the nitty-gritty of selling out his people bailed on the devastating deal being shoved down his throat. The US then funded some of its pet Nazis to riot in the streets, kill cops and put snipers on buildings shooting dozens in false flag operations.
An insane Nazi regime soon took over and immediately declared war on every minority in the country, especially the Russians. They also for all intents and purposes declared war on Russia. The Russians in the East, naturally alarmed at the rise of this new Nazi power in Europe, logically decided they wanted no part of this mess and voted to secede. A huge military operation was then launched on the people of the East resulting in hundreds dead and entire cities in ruins while America cheered on the slaughter and called for more killing and destruction. Much of Eastern Ukraine now lies in ruins.
In Yemen, a weak government has lost control of much of the countryside where tribal militias and Al Qaeda type Islamists control giant swathes of territory. I am not sure what it was like before 9-11, but I do not think it was this bad.
Tunisia, previously a very stable state, is now destabilized by invading Al Qaeda types from Libya flooded with weapons from the overthrown Libyan government.
Mubarak was removed in Egypt, and in the resulting protests, many died. Elections were held, and Muslim Brotherhood Islamists won. Quite a bit of protest and some violence then ensued. The MB started enacting a lot of anti-democratic laws, and al-Sisi, a Nasserite style general in the Egyptian Army, seized power along with other officers. The MB protested, and many MB protesters were massacred in cold blood. Death sentences were levied against 600 protestors for a protest in which one cop was killed. Attacks against Egyptian Coptic Christians increased dramatically. The result is a chaotic Egypt that was much more stable under Mubarak.

James Petras, “US Working and Middle Class: Solidarity or Competition in the Face of Crisis?”

Another excellent article by Petras. He discusses the obvious, why working class and middle class Americans consistently support the policies of the rich.

US Working and Middle Class: Solidarity or Competition in the Face of Crisis?

James Petras

“I don’t think you realize how hard it is for the oppressed to become united. Their misery unites them (…) But otherwise their misery is liable to cut them off from one another, for they are forced to snatch the wretched crumbs from each other’s mouth”. – Bertolt Brecht, Collected Plays Vol. 9 (Pantheon Books, New York, 1972) p. 379

Introduction

There are two incontestable facts about the United States: the economy and the working class are experiencing a prolonged economic crisis which has lasted over three years and shows no signs of ending; there has been no major revolt, mass national resistance or even large scale protests of any consequence. Few writers have attempted to address this seeming paradox and those who do, have provided partial answers which in fact raise more questions than they answer.

Lines of Inquiry

Essentially most writers emphasize one of the two sides of the “paradox”. The ‘crises’ analysts focus on the extent, duration and enduring nature of the economic breakdown, outlining its harsh impact on the working and middle class in terms of losses of employment, benefits, wages, mortgages etc. Others, mostly left progressive, emphasize the local protests, critical responses registered in opinion polls, occasional complaints of trade union bureaucrats and the hopes and intimations of academics and pundits that a ‘revolt’ is on its way some time in the near future.

Among the minority of less sanguine critical analysts, there is despair, or at least a more pessimist view of the ‘paradox’. They point to several deep-seated psychological, organizational and political obstacles which prevent any revolt or mass unrest from taking hold among the United States’ public.

On the whole these critics see the working and middle class as ‘victims’ of the system, acted upon by false leaders, media manipulation, corporate capitalism and the two party system which prevent them from pursuing their class interests.

In this essay, I will pursue an alternative line of analysis which will argue that the “external enemies” blocking working and middle class resistance are aided and abetted by the behavior and perceived interest within the classes. In pursuit of this line of inquiry, I will argue that both the nature and scope of ‘the crises’ has been misunderstood in its impact on the working and middle class and as a consequence the degree of internal contradictions within those classes has not been adequately understood.

Key Concepts: Clarifying ‘Crises’ and its Impact

Economic crises, even severe, prolonged ones, such as is affecting the US today, do not have a uniform impact on all sectors of the working and middle class. The uneven impact has segmented the working and middle class, between those who are adversely affected and those not, or who in certain circumstances have benefited. This segmentation is one key factor accounting for the lack of class solidarity and has resulted in ‘contradictions’ within and between the working and middle class.

Secondly the uneven development of social organization – especially trade unionization – between public and private sector workers, has led to the former securing and retaining greater social benefits and increases and wages, while the former has lost ground. The public sector workers draw on public financing to fund their ‘corporate interests’ while private sector workers are forced to pay increased taxes, because of regressive fiscal legislation.

The result is an apparent or real conflict of interest between well-organized public workers organized around a narrow set of (self) interests and the mass of unorganized private sector workers who, unable to increase their wages via class struggle, side with “fiscal conservatives” (funded by big business) to demand cutbacks from public sector workers.

Political partisanship, especially among middle and working class Democrats, undercuts class solidarity and weakens unified social resistance. This is evident in relation to issues of war and peace, the economic crises and cutbacks in social programs.

When the Democrats hold office, as they do today ad the wars and war spending multiply, the bulk of the peace movement has disappeared, labor protests against budget cutbacks focus on Republican governors, not Democrats, even as the working and middle class (including public sector employees) are adversely affected.

The millionaire top trade union officials (average annual salary over $300,000 plus perks) further the division by prioritizing the security of their position via million dollar contributions to the Democrats, thus buying insurance on income flows from dues payments. Security of officialdom via alignment with Party legislators and governors, mayors and executive leaders contributes to a further division within the working class between ‘secure functionaries’ and their followers on the one hand, and the rest of the middle and working class.

Operating with these key concepts we will now turn to describing the ‘objective conditions of crises’, a critical survey of some explanations for the ‘paradox’, and follow with a detailed examination of the ‘internal contradictions’ and conclude by outlining some points of departure for resolving the paradox.

Economic Crisis is Real, Deep and Sustained

The symptoms and structures of a deep economic crisis are readily visible to any but the most obtuse government apologist or prestigious economist: un- and under-employment has reached between 18 to 20 percent. One out of three US families are directly affected by loss of employment. One out of ten American family homeowners are either behind in the mortgage payments or face foreclosure. Over half of the current unemployed (9.1 percent) have been out of work at least six months.

Massive cutbacks in public expenditures and investments have led to the end of health, educational and welfare programs for tens of millions of low income families, children, the disabled, the elderly pensioners. Private firms have eliminated or reduced payments for health insurance, leaving over 50 million working Americans without health insurance and another 30 million with inadequate medical coverage. Tax exemptions, reduced and regressive taxation have increased tax payments by wage and salaried workers, reducing their net income.

Increases in pension and health payments forced on middle and working class employees have further reduced net income. Increased spending for at least four wars (Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya) preparation for a fifth (Iran) and support for the world’s most militarist state (Israel) and a greatly expanded and costly domestic police state apparatus (Homeland Security alone costs $180 billion) has greatly deteriorated environmental, workplace and leisure space living standards.

Corporate political power and absolute tyrannical control over the workplace has increased fear, insecurity and virtual terror among employees facing increased speed-ups and arbitrary elimination of any say in health and workplace safety, work schedules, over and under time workloads. Low pay service jobs proliferate, high pay jobs are outsourced out of the country; manufacturing plants are relocated abroad; lower paid immigrant professionals and laborers are imported increasing pressure on US workers to compete for lower pay and lesser benefits.

The ‘economic crises’ is embedded in the deep structure of US capitalism and is not a ‘cyclical phenomenon’ subject to a dynamic recovery, restoring lost jobs, homes, living standards and working conditions.

Middle and Working Class Responses to the Economic Crises

The profound, deep seated and pervasive economic crises has not elicited any commensurate revolts, rebellion or even sustained national protest movement. At best local protests by specific segments of the working and middle class have sought to defend narrow organizational and economic interests. The public employees in Wisconsin’s protest movement were as exceptional in its militancy as it was isolated and limited in its overall national impact.

As California Republican and New York Democratic governors eliminate tens of billions of dollars in wages, pension and health benefits for hundreds of thousands of unionized public employees, union officials squawk impotently on the sidelines, incapable of mounting any serious protests let alone popular movements.

Though public opinion polls register high levels of individual concern about the economic crises and dissatisfaction with both political parties the response to the crises has not led to practical activity, nor has any mass ‘movement’’ emerged – it remains private inconsequential discontent.

As much as millions of middle and working classes are deeply preoccupied with the ongoing economic crises there are no significant social or political repercussions past, present or in the foreseeable future.

All the inflated hopes and ‘ominous prognostications’ by liberals and leftists, socialists and progressives, who wrote and predicted a coming ‘revolt of the masses’ have been flat wrong. The crisis continues and the highly dissatisfied middle and working class remain privately suffering, muttering their grievances in isolation, unwilling to engage in any mass collective action.

Even as the mass media, even as the internet, Facebook and Tweeter, present millions demonstrating and striking and even toppling oppressive regimes in the Middle East and North Africa; even as news reports filter out of repeated general strikes and mass occupations of public plazas by employees and workers and unemployed in Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy and France, the United States workers stand numb, indifferent and impotent to ‘learn the lessons’ and ‘take collective action’ even where the issues of employment and cutbacks are similar.

Explanations for Social Immobility in the Face of the Economic Crises

There is no lack of ‘recognition’ that ‘something is wrong’ in these United States. There is no lack of pundits attempting to grapple with the paradox of economic crises and social immobility.

Several explanatory forays are floating through the media and the internet. Some writers resort to psychological explanations of social passivity pointing to widespread ‘fear’ of employer retaliation, state repression, or a sense of ‘futility’ in the face of political party indifference and hostility. The psychological arguments have some merit as they point to some of the immediate causes of non-involvement but fail to explain what causes ‘fear’ and futility.

In response many critical progressive cite the absence or weakness of social organizations in particular they point to the decline of trade union organizations, leaving 93 percent of the private sector unorganized and the state sector unionized workers with limited bargaining powers. While these critics are right to emphasize the unwillingness of millionaire trade union officials to break new political ground and initiate new organizing efforts, one needs to explain why the unorganized middle and working class have not themselves launched any new initiatives?

Union officials have a long history of “give backs” going back at least two decades and yet those who are directly adversely affected and those who have lost their jobs have not organized an alternative network of solidarity.

Political analysts emphasize the oligarchic and restrictive nature of the electoral system as pre-empting the emergence of new political initiatives. The multi-million dollar cost of running for office, the near monopoly dominance of the mass media by the corporate two-party elite and the legal obstacle to securing a place on the ballot, discourage disenchanted voters from supporting new political party initiatives.

But the deeper question is why mass movements, outside of the party-electoral framework, have not emerged that might eventually challenge the political oligarchy, the corporate monopoly of media and change the legal constraints on effective entry into the electoral arena. Why do mass movements emerge in other even more repressive countries, facing similar constraints on legal access and confronted by entrenched oligarchies?

If similar ‘external constraints’ as those found in the US led to divergent behavioral responses, it raises the question of whether the differences within the middle and working class can be the source of passivity and immobility?

A few writers, principally on the Left, cite the divorce or distance between intellectuals/academics and the downwardly mobile middle and working class. In the United States there are few intellectuals – politically engaged writers and political lecturers.

What passes for the educated classes, are full-time professional academics who differ little in their social and everyday life, regardless of their stated ideological philosophies. The vast majority of leftist academics conceive of their ‘activism’ as reading papers to each other at ‘left’ or ‘social forums’, which differ little in format and consequences from mainstream professional meetings.

Even those left academics who take a political role, it is mostly in relation with the multi-millionaire senior trade union officials and their loyalist apparatus. As a result the progressive academics have ended up with little entrée into the vast majority of workers who are outside of the trade unions and those dissident union factions challenging the trade union – Democratic Party – corporate nexus.

An Alternate Explanation for the ‘Paradox’

One of the key problems inhibiting an understanding of the paradox is the treatment of the key concept – “crises”. Many writers conceive of the ‘crises’ in a ‘holistic’ way, presuming what is ‘general’ or ‘systemic’ has a homogenous effect on the middle and working class. In fact the vast majority, say three-quarters have not been seriously impacted by the “crises”.

Assuming that the unemployed and under-employed comprise about twenty percent and adding those who have suffered serious downward mobility, we still have at least 70 percent whose main preoccupation is to retain their ‘privileged’ position and to disengage from those who have fallen out of their class-social orbit.

In the US, more than any other country, the sharp internal differences, between employed and un-underemployed, has led to ‘competition’ not solidarity. In most countries of the world ‘unemployed’ and underemployed workers can expect backing, active support from unionized workers; in the US once middle class employees and workers lose their job and cannot pay dues they are dropped.

Even in terms of social, family and neighborhood life, they are seen as a ‘cost’, a potential drain on the resources of those who are employed. The employed see the unemployed and poorly paid as a welfare cost , hence an added tax burden instead of as an ally in a struggle to make the corporate elite pay higher taxes and reduce war spending. Among employed workers higher taxes, means capital flight; lesser military expenditures mean few war industry jobs.

Segmentation within the middle and working class operates at many levels. The most striking is between the pay scale of top union officials which runs over $300,000 plus perks and the unemployed/underemployed living on less than $30,000. These economic differences are played out politically and socially. The trade union apparatus buys ‘job security’ by contributing tens of millions to mostly Democrats, to ensure that unions retain their formal legality and collective bargaining rights.

In other words the ‘organized’ unions, all of 12% of the labor force, is a ‘captive force’ of the ‘crises ridden’ state, which excludes any new socio-political initiatives which would reflect the demands and interest of the under-unemployed and low paid non-unionized workers.

Middle and working class are differentially, impacted by the crises: those with jobs and ties to the Democratic Party place their partisan loyalties above any notion of class solidarity. Job holders don’t support the jobless – they see them as competitors over a shrinking income pie.

If we examine these two groups in detail we find that the poorly paid and un and underemployed tend to be young people under 30 years, blacks, Hispanics and single parents; the better paid employed middle and working class tend to be older, white educated and of Anglo-Jewish background. The generational, racial, ethnic divisions play a far bigger role in the US than anywhere else, because of the obliteration of class identity and outlooks, which has diluted any notion of class solidarity.

The segmentation of the middle and working class is deepened in the US because those with stable employment in many cases benefit from the adverse consequences affecting downwardly mobile (unemployed) employees and workers.

Mortgage foreclosures affect over 10 million American families unable to meet their payments. Banks eager to recover some part of their loan, offer to sell houses at sharply reduced prices. Employed middle and working class home buyers are elated to purchase homes, even as their class members are evicted to the street or trailer camp. There is no movement to block or protest evictions from neighbors, workmates and/or relatives; instead discreet inquiries are made about the auction date.

Better paid workers look to secure cheaper consumer goods in super-stores that employ minimum wage workers. The ‘interests’ of workers are defined by immediate individual-consumer interests not in terms of the improvement of strategic interests resulting from the potential social and political power of an organized class.

Employed middle and working class homeowners see themselves as ‘tax payers’ allied with corporate and real estate moguls fighting to lower taxes by cutting welfare and social services for the low paid working class and unemployed. The growth of upper and middle/working class tax revolts against the welfare state is in effect a war of one segment of the class against another. Clearly one segment fights to grab the crumbs from the mouth of another segment.

Even among the organized working class, there is segmentation. Pockets of better paid unionized public sector workers secured pay raises and pension and health plans via collective struggle, ignoring the interests, demands and needs of the sea of non-unionized workers, who were in the process of downward mobility while paying higher taxes. Hence their socio-economic differences were politicized and exploited by the Right – and the public-private sectors of the middle and working class competed over the crumbs of a shrinking budget.

As public facilities for health and education declined, the middle and working class divided between those who turned to private clinics and schools and those who remained dependent on public facilities, based on state expenditures. Those segments tied to the ‘private’ rejected taxes to fund the ‘public’; undercutting any class solidarity to improve the financing and quality of public health and education.

Conclusion

It is clear that the crisis of capitalism has evoked contradictory responses among different segments of the middle and working class based on its differential impact. Pre-existing non-class identities, internal economic division between leaders and followers and generational divisions and party partisan loyalties have undermined class solidarity and led to inconsequential complaints and diffuse hostility.

Competition- not solidarity- within and among the middle and working class is the reason for the profound immobility of Americans in the face of a prolonged and deepening economic crises.

That is now and in the past. Are there any prospects for a different future? Is there any possibility for uniting middle and working class segments in any sustained struggle? Are there alternative roads to class solidarity and popular mobilizations?

The most promising direction is to start at the local and regional level and involve local community organizations and dissident rank and file trade unions and progressive professionals (lawyer, doctors, etc.) in struggles, which resonate with the most adversely affected groups facing unemployment, foreclosures, no health plans, etc.

All polls show a deep divergence between the vast majority of Americans and the political elite of both parties on issues of bank bailouts, tax exemptions for the rich, “reforms” (privatizations and cut backs), Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Divergences exist over the loss of life and expenditures in America’s multiple and longest wars (Afghanistan).

Referendums proposing (1) to end the cap on social security taxes for the rich would end the so-called “social security crises”. (2) A sales tax on financial transactions would fund the Medicare deficit. Public investments in our deteriorating infrastructure based on the transfer of war funds ($790 billion) would create jobs, increase demand in the domestic economy and augment the productivity and competitiveness of the US economy.

Support for public health is an issue that unites most segments of the middle and working class, unionized health workers and community organizations in a potential confrontation with Big Pharma and the private corporate health industries.

A higher minimum wage – starting at $12 an hour – could mobilize most middle and working class segments, and initiatives at the local level could bring in the immigrant and domestic low paid workers.

The interview data demonstrate that most Americans have apparently ‘contradictory’ attitudes: supporting progressive and regressive policies. For example many support Medicare and ‘small government’; federal job creation and deficit reduction; import tariffs and cheap consumer imports.

An comprehensive activist political educational program, that demonstrates that progressive social reforms are feasible and fundable, based on a sustained fiscal struggle against corporate and financial capital, can be converted into organization and direct action. We start with an objective reality, demonstrating that the sustained crisis of capitalism does not and cannot deliver the most elementary demands: jobs, housing, security, peace and growth.

That is a big advantage over the advocates of the system who argue for prolonged and deeper regressive measures for the foreseeable future.

Secondly, we start with the advantage of knowing that the country has the potential wealth, skills and resources to overcome the crises. Thirdly, we can argue from relatively successful popular programs which have vast support – social security, Medicare, Medicaid – as ‘examples’ to extend and deepen social coverage.

For most Americans, the fight today, to the extent that it exists is defensive – efforts to preserve the last vestiges of independent organization, to defend social security, health programs, affordable public education, pensions. The corporate offensive is increasingly ‘homogenizing’ the organized middle and working class with the lowest paid unorganized segments. There are fewer ‘privileged workers’ even as they are still in self-denial.

The near extinction of private sector unionism and the moribund millionaire leadership provides an opportunity to start anew with a horizontal leadership, accountable to the membership and integrated with community based co-op, ecologist, immigrant, consumer based organizations. What is absolutely clear is that ‘crises’ alone will not result in any mass upheaval; nor do ‘enlightened’ progressive academics holed up in their micro-world offer any leadership.

The road forward starts with local leaders emerging from local coalitions, building organizations on the bases of independent political and social initiatives which resonate with their neighbors, fellow workers and the organized and unorganized downwardly mobile Americans. I see no easy or quick solutions to the ‘paradox’ but I do see the objective conditions, for building a movement. I hear a multitude of angry and discordant voices. Above all, I hope the oppressed will stop “snatching the crumbs from each other.”

The NATO War on Libya: Way to Go, Idiots

I knew this would happen.

All of you liberals who supported the war on Libya, now look what you’ve done.

Speaking on CBS’ Face the Nation, South Carolina Republican Lindsay Graham said we are getting very close to the time when we are going to have to attack Syria. He also said that now is the time to let Assad know that all options are on the table. Graham was an avid supporter of the US Nazi war of aggression on the Iraqi people that led to the US colonization of Iraq. He supported the somewhat more supportable Afghan War. Of course he was very much behind the Libyan War.

Of course, Graham cited the Libyan War as the basis for attacking Iraq, saying that Assad and Ghaddafi were indistinguishable.

Graham could not seem to stop with Syria. He also demanded more aggressive attacks against Pakistani territory and said that the US is on a collision course with Pakistan.

In the wake of war on Libya, Jew Lieberman (Independent – Tel Aviv/Connecticut) demanded that the US also attack Syria. If we can attack Libya, then we can attack Syria too, he reasoned.

I was very worried about this. Though the war on Libya seemed innocent enough, the problem is what these things lead to. In an imperialist power such as the US, they set the stage via the slippery slope for more wars of aggression on whichever other target the imperialists feel like attacking next. It opens a Pandora’s Box. First Libya, next Syria, next Pakistan, next what?

See why I thought this was a bad idea?

How To Solve 90% of the US Long-Term Debt Problems

Real simple.

  1. End US military involvement in Iraq. Recall there are still 50,000 troops there?
  2. End US military involvement in Afghanistan. This is a hot war that shows no sign of ending soon, or period. I’m worried, but maybe it’s time to leave.
  3. Eliminate all of the catastrophic Bush tax cuts of 2001 (now the Obama tax cuts on the principle of you do them, you own them), including the middle class tax cuts that everyone loves so much. Even the middle class cuts are serious threat to the New Deal and Great Society, and I don’t see why any middle class American would want to kill the New Deal and Great Society just to get a tax cut. That means going back to Clinton era tax rates, which were quite low and affordable last time I checked.

That solves 90% of our long-term debt problems right there, just like that. Now how hard was that?
Ever heard a single deficit hawk scum mention this solution? Of course not. Did you hear a single single deficit hawk oppose the latest outrageous Obama tax cuts? Of course not.
Deficit hawks, by their definition, are all liars. They really don’t care about deficits and debt. What they all, and I mean all, believe in is Starve the Beast. Starve the Beast has been the neoliberal supply side philosophy of both political parties, the Punditocracy and the entirety of the US media “right” to “left”. Works like this:

  1. First, “starve the beast” by defunding the state with huge tax cuts. We now of 30 years of endless tax cuts, and they are really starting to bite.
  2. Create a deficit or debt crisis deliberately with tax cuts and deliberate overspending on a variety of things that are never paid for, including wars, defense spending, Medicare Part B, etc.
  3. Use the deficit and debt crisis you manufactured to create a constituency for the utter necessity of massive cuts in government programs, with the main focus being social programs. In this way, the Right can finally kill the Great Society and New Deal that they have hated from Day One.
  4. Use ruined economies as “disaster capitalism,” which means that the ruined economy will starve the state of funds. Then use the economic crisis to gut the state and kill the hated social programs.In this sense, ruined economies, economic crises, recessions and depressions are actually seen by deficit hawks as wonderful things.

Reagan, both Bushes, Clinton and now Obama were all Starve the Beast politicians. Time for something new.

List of Obama Sellouts Since the Election

Right after his “shellacking” he went to India, of all places, and negotiated some crazy trade deal with the diabolical Indian elite. He claimed he got some American jobs in the deal. None of these crazy neoliberal trade pacts ever pay for themselves in the way of US jobs. They always only lose US jobs. That’s all they do. That’s what they are designed to do. India is taking 10 jobs from Americans for every 1 job Obama got from the deal. The disconnect was almost unfathomable. These Beltway elites just don’t get it.
List:
Afghanistan: Obama junked a 2011 pullout date, and General Petraeus said we would be there for decades. Afghanistan is going to be like the “temporary” tax cuts. Occupation will become permanent.
Iraq: From promising to pull out of Iraq, Obama has left 50,000 troops in the country! The 50,000 are left after the “complete pullout. LOL. Iraq looks to be another permanent occupation.
Chamber of Commerce Monsters: After the fanatically pro-Republican CoC ran one of the most dishonest campaigns in memory, helping to destroy the Democratic Party’s candidates, Obama met with them!
Congressional Republicans: Totally obstructionist Republicans who have admitted that they have one goal only, to destroy Obama’s Presidency, should have been shunned. Instead, outrageously, Obama met with them and apologized for not “reaching out to them more.” LOL!
That’s like the victim apologizing to the bully for making him mad after getting beat up for the 300th time. The bully laughs in his face and beats him again for good measure. That’s exactly what happened here. The Republicans punched him out again in the meeting, and Obama walked away smiling, presumably with a sore anus.
Roger Altman: Total disaster Roger Altman helped run the criminal enterprise called Lehman Brothers that was shut down by the state under the RICO Act. This is one of the singlehandedly helped to destroy the US economy. Obama is rewarding him for this destruction by putting Altman on his economic team! Outrageous. Obama’s economic team is mostly made of Goldman Sachs gangsters who ought to be indicted under the RICO Act for their role in the organized crime group called the Goldman Sachs Cartel.
Froze federal workers pay: Thereby going along with rightwing lies – federal workers make too much money, spending is the problem, we need austerity.
South Korea NAFTA: Went to South Korea and triumphantly negotiated a NAFTA like catastrophe with that country. It’s going to cost US workers an untold number of jobs.

Islamist Bombers Attack Sweden

1 dead, 2 wounded in blasts attacking Christmas shoppers in Stockholm. The dead man was apparently a bomber on foot. He was carrying a bag of pipe bombs and they seem to have exploded, either accidentally or on purpose is not known. The press was calling it a suicide bombing, but police are not sure.
Video of the blast here.
A while earlier, a car bomb had gone off in a shopping center. There was no one in the car.
Before the blasts, the Swedish press had received threats from Islamists threatening attacks against Sweden for their presence in Afghanistan and the recent cartoons of Mohammad by a Swedish cartoonist. The 2 wounded people suffered minor injuries.
The blasts seem to have been carried out by an Al Qaeda type group, because AQ groups are the ones who threaten to bomb Europe over Mohammad cartoons and troops in Afghanistan.

Reactionary Nut Republican On Various Non-Existent Threats

From In Mala Fide, where many a flipped out reactionary hangs out, a super-rightist named Whiskey holds forth:

You’re completely off base on this. The objections to the START treaty is that it hamstrings the US, particularly with weapons modernization (so they actually work) and forbids a ABM shield. Which is needed.
Obama’s objective is to punish White America for having and using Nukes by eliminating them first. As he’s pushed for repeatedly in speeches and actions. No one trusts him because he’s against the US having nukes or a military in the first place.
Nor are you correct about Iran not being able to get nukes. North Korea has them, and just today it was revealed their centrifuge program, thought impossible was far along and done in less than a year, right before our eyes. Of course they have help, as does Pakistan and Iran: CHINA.
China wishes to use proxies to threaten or even nuke the US, deniably, so they can scoop up much of Asia, including Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Indonesia. Their economy is a sham and they know it. They have a massive gender imbalance. They have looming demographic shortages coming.
This is the mark of a “use it or lose it” aggressive power: see Japan and Germany, 1930′s. For the Chinese to take Taiwan, and the rest of Asia, as colonies and mercantile advantages (think 1600-1700′s France) they must move the US out, and indirect ways are less risky than overt war (which is disturbingly contemplated in Chinese media and thus with official approval).
Iran is a threat because it too faces a looming crisis domestically with their economy, looming demographic implosion, and like China and Turkey aspirations for empire rebuilding. Iran’s leaders have stated they wish to reconstitute in Islamic form the Persian Empire, stretching into the Balkans, down to Egypt, and the Arabian Peninsula.
As a practical matter, Iran’s nukes would allow it to keep oil prices sky high (by threatening the Gulf states) and turf out the US Navy. If you like paying less than $20 a gallon for gas and keeping your job, you’ll find Iran’s nukes a threat. Given the need to start paying off their gunmen and what amounts to a cadre of military gangsters they are likely racing to this goal of nukes + ballistic missiles. Both technology more than sixty years old.
Its not that hard to do, the Russians did it in the 1950′s.
As far as Iran plus Pakistan, each could point to the other if they are both nuclear, if a major US city goes boom!
Which is why Lindsay Grahmanesty is right. We need to dismember Iran before they go nuclear. So we can have gas that is not so expensive it destroys the economy and puts us in horse and buggy times. We also need a robust nuclear deterrent, and ABM against nations like North Korea which are thinly disguised proxy attackers helped by China. Iran does not have any friends and a major power like the US needs to provide useful lessons and reminders of the danger of attacking us.
Our main problem is that no one really believes we have the will and ability to punish nations severely if they threaten our core interests. China has no such problem and is our major competitor. Thus we need to dump the START treaty and do something about Iran, like bomb all its major facilities. Setting back its nuke program and promoting useful fear. [I mean really, who’d care if we bombed the crap out of Iran? But its a good way to put fear of the US into Pakistan’s military, so they control their jihadis.]
Never underestimate the power of a useful example in international relations.

One insane remark at a time here.
The objections to the START treaty is that it hamstrings the US, particularly with weapons modernization (so they actually work) and forbids a ABM shield. Which is needed.
This guy must go to the Richard Perle School in International Relations. First he trots out the old, “We need to still keep building nukes ‘to make sure they still work'” line. Can you believe that this crazy line has captured the famished imaginations of many a US President? Sad but true.
Next up we have the ABM shield. It’s a bad idea, and it’s based on the premise of a winnable nuclear war. Nuclear wars are not winnable. Everyone loses. In the we can win scenario, the ABM shoots down all the enemy nukes, and then we blast them with our nukes. It goes back to the USSR and the Cold War, which is supposedly over, but neocons like this guy are always finding new wars to fight.
Obama’s objective is to punish White America for having and using Nukes by eliminating them first. As he’s pushed for repeatedly in speeches and actions. No one trusts him because he’s against the US having nukes or a military in the first place.
Wow, some Tea Party White racism thrown in for good measure. Obama hates US Whites because we have nukes and niggers don’t. LOL. No one cares that Obama opposes even the US having nukes, supposedly, but even Obama isn’t nuts enough to unilaterally disarm.
Of course they have help, as does Pakistan and Iran: CHINA.
China, a nuclear power, is helping potential enemy neighbors and near neighbors also become military powers, so that maybe they can threaten China in the figure. Right dude. Rule #1 about nuclear powers is that they don’t tend to spread it around. Look at all the big nuclear powers. Any of them proliferated? Of course not. If you had the deadliest poison on Earth, would you even give it to your best friends or family? Of course not.
China wishes to use proxies to threaten or even nuke the US, deniably, so they can scoop up much of Asia, including Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Indonesia. Their economy is a sham and they know it. They have a massive gender imbalance. They have looming demographic shortages coming. This is the mark of a “use it or lose it” aggressive power: see Japan and Germany, 1930′s. For the Chinese to take Taiwan, and the rest of Asia, as colonies and mercantile advantages (think 1600-1700′s France) they must move the US out, and indirect ways are less risky than overt war (which is disturbingly contemplated in Chinese media and thus with official approval).
LOL, whoa dude. Too much, dude, too much. Even the Perle – Wolfowitz – Gaffney – Rumsfeld – Cheney – Feith Project for a New American Century sociopaths don’t say things this crazy. There’s crazy and there’s batshit crazy. This is batshit crazy. So nuts I won’t even bother to refute it. Suffice to say there is no evidence for it.
China’s economy in some ways is in better shape than the West’s. It is growing at a remarkable pace. It avoided the financial ponzi scheme World Depression through the use of state banks. China invests in real capital investment, real productivity growth and real commodity production and increasing wages and living standards, whereas the US engages in asset stripping, bald and naked class war out of the 1890’s, financial ponzi schemes, the destruction of the real economy, a financialized casino economy that in reality is a house of cards, declining wages and living standards and an economy that both parties run only so the top 2% can attack the bottom 98%.
China’s economy is run for the nation, the people and workers. The US’ economy is run by and for a parasitical FIRE sector with banksters at the helm determined to suck every last bit of surplus out of consumers in form of payments to banks.
Iran is a threat because it too faces a looming crisis domestically with their economy, looming demographic implosion, and like China and Turkey aspirations for empire rebuilding. Iran’s leaders have stated they wish to reconstitute in Islamic form the Persian Empire, stretching into the Balkans, down to Egypt, and the Arabian Peninsula.
Iran’s demographics are no big deal anymore than any other 3rd World Country. The birth rate is below replacement. The economy is doing ok, barring the sanctions. Iran certainly has no desire to be an imperialist state, and neither does Turkey (LOL) and even China does not aspire to such.
Iran’s leaders certainly have never said that they want to recolonize the Arab World under a recreated Persian Empire. This sounds like the fevered blatherings of fanatical Sunnis more than rational analysis.
As a practical matter, Iran’s nukes would allow it to keep oil prices sky high (by threatening the Gulf states) and turf out the US Navy. If you like paying less than $20 a gallon for gas and keeping your job, you’ll find Iran’s nukes a threat. Given the need to start paying off their gunmen and what amounts to a cadre of military gangsters they are likely racing to this goal of nukes + ballistic missiles. Both technology more than sixty years old.
Won’t happen. Even if they ever get them, Iran won’t use nukes to blackmail the world. This is just ridiculous. They will use them like all other sane countries use them, in order to keep idiots like us from attacking them. Duh.
As far as Iran plus Pakistan, each could point to the other if they are both nuclear, if a major US city goes boom!
A US city won’t go boom unless someone shoots a nuke at it. If that ever happened, I’m sure the Pentagon has the high tech to figure out which country launched it. Snark. There’s no way to nuke a US city without shooting a ballistic missile at it. I deal with the suitcase nukes bullshit in an earlier post.
Which is why Lindsay Grahmanesty is right. We need to dismember Iran before they go nuclear. So we can have gas that is not so expensive it destroys the economy and puts us in horse and buggy times.
The homosexual Lindsay Graham is not right. We don’t need to invade Iran, much less dismember it. If you thought Iraq and Afghanistan were fun, try doing Iran!
Iran does not have any friends and a major power like the US needs to provide useful lessons and reminders of the danger of attacking us.
Yeah but no one’s “attacking us” you neocon dumbshit. Oh, that’s right, in the 107 degree minds of the neocons, the US is always “under attack.” Usually the attacks are the “invisible” kind, but they are attacks nonetheless. Snark.
We also need a robust nuclear deterrent, and ABM against nations like North Korea which are thinly disguised proxy attackers helped by China.
We don’t need the ABM, and it doesn’t even work anyway. Ever try shooting down a bullet with another bullet. That’s what an ABM is. It doesn’t work. North Korea is not a Chinese proxy. China has it’s own nukes, and it’s almost an ally anyway. There is huge trade between the US and China. No reason to screw that up with messy things like wars.
Our main problem is that no one really believes we have the will and ability to punish nations severely if they threaten our core interests.
Neocons are always saying this. “Our enemies think we are weak. We need to attack someone to show them we are serious!” By the way, this was one of the main rationales for the Iraq War, and look where that got us. Sure the world is scared of the US.
In the above, “threaten” means just about anything. It means looking at Uncle Sam wrong. It means not following orders when the US issues them. “US interests” means the interests of US imperialism. Not a good thing.
Thus we need to dump the START treaty and do something about Iran, like bomb all its major facilities.
Yeah, brilliant idea, dumbass. Want to see that $20/gallon oil? Then try this.
I mean really, who’d care if we bombed the crap out of Iran?
Just about the whole world, in particular the Muslim World, Russia, China, everyone really? This is another of the neocon delusions. First of all, the world is full of enemies who “hate us for our freedom” or whatever bullshit reason they thought up last night. We have no friends. Second of all, the world really does love America and will secretly be overjoyed when we start the next war. This is the thinking behind the assholes who started the Iraq War, exactly.
But its a good way to put fear of the US into Pakistan’s military, so they control their jihadis.
Yeah dude. Um, Pakistan is afraid we are going to bomb their nuclear facilities? WTF.
Never underestimate the power of a useful example in international relations.
This is the “make an example out of them” neocon school. This argument was also very important in the Iraq War. Boy, this guy is drumming them out one by one here, no?
The scary thing is that this raving lunatic represents the way the Republican Party thinks, and the way that 10’s of millions or possibly even a majority of Americans think, or could easily be led to think. Commenter AJ is right. US imperialism is a menace to humanity. The sooner it crashes and burns, the better.

Good Video on the Taliban

A Western journalist embedded with them high in the mountains of Kunar Province. They have a very large gun, but I’m not sure what it is. We get to see them set ambushes for US convoys, avoid US planes, etc. We see them at home relaxing with their troops and their families.

One thing that is interesting is the phenotype of these Kunar Pashtuns. These are some of the Whitest looking Pashtuns I’ve ever seen. The Kunar Pashtuns are right next door to Nuristan. Nuristan and Chitral across the border has the Whitest looking people in the region. Lots of blond hair and blue and green eyes. As far as I’m concerned, these people are Whites. Anyone who says they’re not White ought to have their head examined.

The Significance of the Refoundation of the Maoist Movement in Pakistan

This is an interesting document outlining the prospects for revolution in Pakistan.

If not for Islam, Pakistan would probably already be in a revolutionary situation right now.

Bangladesh, where objective conditions are just as bad as in India, if not worse, has seen little progress in an actual armed struggle by Maoist forces, mostly due to the presence of Islam. Islamic Bangladesh has recently seen a large movement towards Islamism, though the nation’s elites are still secular. The Islamic parties are very large and popular.

Your average poor, starving peasant, who ought to be on board with revolution, is instead wasting his time jerking off with Islamist reactinaries. The Islamist militias have attacked the Maoists many times, killing many cadres. The state is probably using them for this purpose. This is reminiscent of the situtation in Indonesia in 1965, when Islamist militias were used to kill 1 million Communists in less than a year, a massacre that the CIA was involved in from start to finish.

Every time revolution rears its head in the Islamic World, the Islamists immediately condemn them as “atheists” and slaughter them. I assume that your average religious Muslim supports this massacre of the apostates.

Since Islam is so embedded in the population, I am dubious at the prospects for revolution in Pakistan. The Islamists will quickly condemn the Maoists as “atheists” and will be free to slaughter them. Further, the state will use the Islamist militias, as it already does. For instance, the Pakistani state used the Islamist militias to kill Benazir Bhutto recently. Further, getting pegged as atheists will make it hard for the Maoists to get support.

The revolutionary situation in Hindu countries is much better for some reason. Maoism went over great in Nepal, and the Maoists are doing well in India. In Nepal, the Maoists simply asked, “What’s Hinduism done for you lately?” The answer in general was nothing. Hinduism was used via the caste system by local elites to repress the peasants in a feudal to semi-feudal manner. In India, most of the Hindu Maoists have not really given up Hinduism. I suspect that Hinduism is not as deeply embedded in your average peasant’s psyche as Islam is.

Nevertheless, I understand that the PMKP is already quite popular among peasants oppressed by semi-feudalism. They hold large rallies in favor of land rights and lots of peasants show up. I assume that they don’t directly attack Islam – that would be idiotic in Pakistan. I have a Pakistani friend who comes from a feudal landlord family, and even she supported the PMKP, saying they were good for the peasants.

At any rate, I don’t think a revolutionary situation exists in Pakistan right now, and it will be a while before one starts up. And that’s almost all due to Islam.

The Significance of the Refoundation of the Maoist Movement in Pakistan

August 12, 2010

A Statement to the Seventh National Congress of the Pakistan Mazdoor Kissan Party

From the General Secretary of Revolutionary Initiative

With our fists raised as high as our hopes for the future of the
Pakistani revolution, Revolutionary Initiative, a
Marxist-Leninist-Maoist pre-party formation in Canada, offers a red salute to the comrades convening the August 2010 7th National Congress of the Pakistan Mazdoor Kissan Party (Pakistan Workers and Peasants Party).

We understand that the 7th Congress will mark a return of the PMKP to the Maoist origins of the party, as established by its founders Major Ishaq Mohammed, Afzal Bungish, Eric Sperian, and Ghulam Nabi Kaloo in the 1960s.

The new program of the PMKP will effect a decisive break with the pseudo-alternatives currently being presented to the people of Pakistan: the perpetuation of a backward semi-colonial, semi-feudal society maintained by the pro-imperialist military and civil bureaucracy, comprador bourgeoisie, and feudal ruling elite; versus the equally backward social program offered up by the Taliban of
Pakistan. By breaking with the revisionist Left, which looks to U.S. imperialism for enlightenment through its brutal “War on Terror”, the PMKP is setting a course to truly rally the peasants, proletarians, and the progressive petty-bourgeois elements to the anti-imperialist cause.

Further, by exposing the program of the Taliban as fascism in a different form, the PMKP has truly placed itself at the vanguard of all the toiling masses in Pakistan.

Pakistan’s lackeys to the imperialists and the Taliban only appear to be irreconcilably opposing forces, but in practice they are two sides of the same coin. The world will never forget that it was U.S. imperialism, during the course of the Cold War, which helped create the Taliban with the unwavering support of the Pakistani state.

Due to the Pakistani ruling classes’ subservience to U.S. imperialism, the vast majority paid a steep price for the maintenance of the country’s incredible state of economic backwardness. Today, this relationship
has brought only new sufferings, with U.S. imperialism raining down drone attacks upon the heads of Pakistani civilians.

With a population of 170 million people, 48% of Pakistan’s labour force is involved in agricultural production. About 55% of the country’s population possesses no land at all. The vast majority of people in the countryside are exploited by landlords, usurers, merchants, and the religious institutions.

As the PMKP’s new draft program reads, it is the semi-colonial aspect of Pakistan’s countryside that remains the “main obstacle to the release of productive forces and the progress of our country”. This is what makes the heavily exploited and oppressed peasantry the “main force in the peoples democratic revolution carried out under the leadership of the proletariat.”

It is these conditions that make Pakistan ripe for People’s War. If the Maoists do not lead the struggle of the people, the Islamic forces will continue to prevail in their reactionary mobilization of the masses in their pseudo-opposition to U.S. imperialism.

The floods that are currently ravaging Pakistan, bringing great misery and dislocation to as much as 10% of the population and claiming thousands of lives, could be easily mitigated by a socialist society which places all the productive forces of society in the hands of the workers and peasants.

It is our hope that the floods do not derail the plans for the 7th Congress, but if they do, we know it will be because of the urgent need for the revolutionary vanguard to serve and guide the people in a time of great hardship. It is inevitable that the imperialists and the reactionaries in Pakistan will use the catastrophes to strengthen their legitimacy and order, just as the imperialists and reactionaries have done in Haiti with the great earthquake there in January 2010.

In addition to the great consequences that the rise of the Pakistani Maoist movement will have at the domestic level, the Pakistani revolution would also affect historic transformations at the regional and world levels.

Regionally, the revolution in Pakistan would carry the revolutionary tide sweeping South Asia deeper into the Muslim world, breaking the monopoly of the clerical fascists in the struggle against imperialism, which they do not fundamentally oppose and do so in appearance only for their own opportunistic and self-aggrandizing purposes.

At the world level, the rise of a revolutionary communist tide in Pakistan would deal a blow to the ideological basis of the imperialist ‘War on Terror’. In the Western imperialist countries, Muslims are being scapegoated to divert the rest of the masses from the true geopolitical and economic interests of the NATO bloc of imperialists: to plunder the world, exploit the toiling masses, and gain the upper hand in the inter-imperialist competition with the other imperialists and regional geopolitical rivals, especially Russia and China.

The masses in the West are blackmailed into supporting the imperialist war of aggression in Afghanistan through the specter of Taliban rule. But we know that the war against the Taliban, a war on domestic reactionaries and exploiting classes, can only be the class war of the toiling masses, not the imperialists. The world was reminded of this on May 1st, 2010 when the PMKP rallied and marched in North-West Frontier Province for the support of the revolution in Nepal.

We look forward, comrades, to the great feats that the people of Pakistan will achieve under the leadership of genuine communists guided by Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, and we will show the masses in our country that the people of Pakistan are our friends and comrades, and that they strive for genuine democracy, for socialism and for communism, just like ourselves.

If the PMKP, alongside our comrades of the Shola Jawid (Communist Party Maoist of Afghanistan) and Sarbederan (Communist Party of Iran-Maoist), successfully organize and arouse the masses for national democratic revolution by way of anti-imperialist People’s Wars in Central and South Asia, genuine communists all around the world will rally to your cause, learn important lessons from your struggle, and promote them amongst the proletarians of their home countries.

If the PMKP holds fast to Marxism-Leninism-Maoism after the convention of the 7th National Congress, deeply uprooting the revisionism of the past decades, and boldly applies MLM to the conditions of Pakistan, then a glorious future lays ahead for the people of Pakistan and South and Central Asia. The era of imperialism is the era of world proletarian revolution. In this phase imperialism’s strategic decline, the phase of the second great crisis of capitalist imperialism that has plagued the world since the early 1970s, the conditions for proletarian revolution are inexorably improving.

Finally, this message of solidarity would not be complete without our own organization clearly identifying Canadian imperialism as a leading enemy of the people of the world, including the people of your country. A leading player in the occupation of Afghanistan and NATO is Canadian imperialism, the basis of which is Canadian monopoly-finance capital. As the imperialist war in Afghanistan more and more spills over into your country, your connection to the Canadian proletariat’s revolutionary struggle deepens more and more.

The proletarian youth who are being sent to Afghanistan only to return to Canada in body bags are also the victims of imperialist war, but they must be driven from Afghanistan just the same. The ruinous war in Afghanistan sets the basis for revolutionary agitation amongst the soldiers, no less than the Korean War and the Vietnam War radicalized whole generations of youth and soldiers in the West.

Together, let us hasten the movement towards socialism and communism on a world scale before the imperialists drag us further into a hellish world of war, avertable disasters, ecological catastrophe, and the day-to-day grinding exploitation and oppression of capitalism.

Red salute to the PMKP for taking up the banner of Marxism-Leninism- Maoism!

Onwards with the People’s War in Pakistan!

From Canada to Pakistan, long live the international proletarian revolution.

Jews Are Not the Problem

A commenter asks:

Robert, you claimed that anti-Semitism on the Maury2K blog was disturbing to you. As a leftist, ask yourself this question: what have Jews done for workers and the left in recent years, I mean other than pushing for more wars in the Middle East and promoting neoliberal economics.

National Bolshevik retarded anti-Semitism is indeed disturbing to me, and the more I read it, the less I like it. If this is socialism, it’s the Socialism of Fools:

Trotsky was a Jew. The defeat of Trotsky by Stalin was the defeat of Jewish plutocracy by Stalin’s workers revolution. Why was Trotsky a “plutocrat?” Because he was a Jew, dontcha know?

Retarded.

Why are Jews not the enemy?

Simple, the Jews as a voting group are the most liberal and progressive group in the US. If you look at the US liberal-Left, it’s full of Jews. I was on the Left for many years. The Communist Party USA is Jews from top to bottom. So are the Greens and other Left parties. Jews completely dominate the entire US Left, and your average US Jewish voter is the most progressive voter in the US.

Jews lead movements. Sure, a few promote neoliberalism, but neoliberalism is simply what is promoted by the entire US capitalist class, 98% of which is non-Jewish. Blaming Jews for neoliberalism is the Socialism of Fools! Wars in the Middle East? Well, it’s unfortunate, but the truth is that We Are All Jews now.

The US Gentiles support Israel and wars in the Middle East. Bush and Cheney knew what they were doing. No Jews secretly pushed them into war. They wanted war with Saddam going back years, but for reasons of US imperialism for the most part. Israel was a side issue, and Bush and Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al, could give a flying fuck about Saddam’s threat to Israel.

The entire US Republican Party is pro-Israel. And it’s not because Jews force them into this. It’s ideological. US conservatism at the moment is fanatically pro-Zionist. That is its ideological nature, and it has little to do with US internal politics, since Jews don’t vote Republican anyway.

Israel is a settler-colonial and imperialist state that is allied with US imperialism. As promoters of US imperialism, the Republican Party is deeply allied with Israel. Plus they see Israelis as Western Judeo-Christians in a sea of evil Muslims, so they support them on that basis  – the US Republican Party is now deeply Christian fundamentalist on an ideological level.

As far as the Democratic Party and Israel, the Democratic Party under Obama is the most anti-Israel Administration since Nixon 1972-1974. And it’s led by Jews. A Jew, Rahm Emanuel, is leading the anti-Israel charge with this Administration.

US Jewry is tiring of Israel’s crap. The gap between US Jewish liberalism, anti-racism and multiculturalism and Israeli Jewish fascism is becoming too wide to bridge. Israel’s bullshit is endangering US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

US Jews are not so dual loyalist as you think. They are loyal to the Jews, sure, but only up to a point. First and foremost, most US Jews are Americans and American patriots. A liberal and progressive Israel would win their loyalty, but Israeli fascism is getting too blatant these days. Hence US Jews are cutting the strings of their aprons to Israel.

Taliban Kill 12 NATO Troops in One Day

In multiple attacks, too, no mean feat.

4 US troops were killed in an IED attack, 1 more was killed in a gunfight, and three were killed in a Taliban effort to overrun a US-Afghan police base in Kandahar. The last attack involved a suicide car bomb, followed by RPG and automatic weapons fire, along and many rockets fired at the base.

All Americans were killed in the South, which probably means Kandahar and Helmand.

4 more troops, all British, were killed. 3 of them were killed in in Helmand in  yet another attack by a Taliban mole posing as an Afghan soldier. Either that, or an Afghan soldier who went over to the other side. We are seeing more and more of these “traitor attacks” where Afghan troops or police open fire on NATO forces that they are working with. These are essentially suicide attacks, since the attackers are often killed, but they are often deadly. In this case, incredibly, the guy escaped, and there is a huge manhunt on for him.

I am not sure what to do about Afghanistan. It’s quite clear that we are spending almost nothing on education, health care, roads, etc. for the Afghans. If we spent more on that, would they like us more? Hard to say. I also do not believe reports about a Taliban-Al Qaeda rift. The two groups are very well integrated, especially in Pakistan. It’s hard to tell where one ends and the other begins. If the Taliban win in Afghanistan when we pull out (dubious but possible) they could once again turn the place over to Al Qaeda.

The Taliban’s problem is that they are an ethnic militia. They are primarily, if not exclusively Pashtun. The Taliban anymore are simply a vehicle for Pashtun nationalism. Non-Pashtuns such as Afghan Hazara, Tajiks, Uzbeks, etc. are scarce if not nonexistent in the movement. So the Afghan Hazara, Tajiks, Uzbeks, etc will never go over to the Taliban, as the Taliban are racist Pashtuns who will oppress all the other groups.

But the Afghan government is almost worthless. The cops are corrupt and evil, often kidnapping young boys for sex and shaking down residents for bribes just to drive on the roads. They do nothing to help the people. In areas outside of Taliban control, highway robbery and brigands are very common. The Taliban come in and put a stop to all of that.

I really don’t know what to do about this situation, but I am not sure “we are going to win” with the way we are going.

Mullah Omar is still alive and is probably living in Quetta.

Nice Summary of the Taliban in Pakistan and Afghanistan

Excellent article from the BBC covers Helmand, Kandahar, Zabul, Ghazni, Paktika, Khost, Paktia, Logar, Wardak, Nangarhar and Kunar Provinces in Afghanistan. The Taliban are most prominent in the South, in Helmand, Kandahar, Oruzgan and Zabul. They also have a strong presence in the East, in Khost, Paktika and Paktia and to the north in Kunar.

They have a lesser presence in Nangarhar, Ghazni, Logar and Wardak, but I think this article unnecessarily played down their presence in Ghazni. In Ghazni, the Taliban rule the night.

Excellent graphic from the BBC of the main Taliban areas in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Ghazni is way worse off than Logar and Wardak.

In Pakistan, the Taliban have a strong presence all along the border, especially in Chaghai, Quetta, Toba Kakar, North and South Waziristan, Mohmand, Bajaur and Swat. I think they have a very strong presence in Dir also. In fact, I have long suspected that Osama bin Laden is hiding in Dir. Ayman al-Zawahiri recently married a woman from the Mohmand tribe, the major group in the Mohmand region.

They have a lesser presence in the Orakzai, Kurram and Khyber Agencies.

The Pakistani Taliban are divided into groups that mostly fight in Afghanistan and others that mostly fight in Pakistan. The ones that mostly fight in Afghanistan are the ones that the Pakistani government would be most likely to cut a deal with.

I think the article is correct that the Taliban leadership is in Quetta. It would not surprise me.

There are 24,000 militants in South Waziristan, including many foreign fighters who for all intents and purposes are part of Al Qaeda. The foreign jihadis, including Arabs, Chechens, Uzbeks and Uighurs, have married deeply into the local tribes and are now part of the neighborhood. In the West, a Taliban group fights mostly in Afghanistan, while in East, another group fights in Pakistan.

There are 10,000 militants in North Waziristan. Jalaluddin Haqqani is a powerful force here. The militants mostly use this area as a base for operations in Afghanistan, and Haqqani brokered a peace deal with the Pakistan government in 2006. Haqqani has an excellent force, and it was his forces who blew up the CIA base in Khost a while back, killing 8 CIA officers, including the CIA chief of Khost. That’s some darned good counterintelligence.

Orakzai and Kurram have a lesser Taliban factor due to many Shia living there. Shia want nothing to do with the hyper-Sunni Taliban. However, there are 2,000 militants in Orakzai controlled by Hakimullah Mehsud of the Mehsud tribe. He is also one of the big shots in South Waziristan. His forces are present in Orakzai and in Lower Kurram where there are few Shia.

They have filtered up to the Khyber Agency where they are behind a lot of the attacks around Peshawar. Peshawar is no longer a safe city. There is a strong Taliban presence in the slums on the outskirts of the city in particular.

The Tehrik Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is present in the Mohmand, Bajaur and Khyber Agencies. This group has been fighting Pakistani forces from the very start. The Pakistani government is currently in the midst of a large operation against militants in Mohmand and Khyber.

Maulvi Faqir Mohammad is the head of the Taliban in Bajaur, and he is  a dangerous fellow. I’ve long suspected him of harboring top Al Qaeda figures. He has about 10,000 militants under his command. A truce ended hostilities here in 2009, and the TTP was supposed to dissolve itself and yield to the state. That has not happened, and they are back in charge of much of the Agency.

There are 5,000 militants in Mohmand Agency who are currently fighting the Pakistani government. The government is making good progress against them.

There was a large militant network of unknown size until recently in the Swat Valley. Swat had always been governed under archaic British colonial law which was ended in the early 1990s’s. This resulted in a campaign to impose Sharia Law. Finally, Sharia Law was imposed in 2009 as part of a deal with the government, but the fighting continued. Militants here were vicious, attacking anything and anyone having anything to do with the Pakistani state.

After a savage counterinsurgency by Pakistani forces, things are pretty calm. But there was a price to be paid for this, as many militants were murdered by state death squads who abducted them, tortured them horribly until their deaths and then left their mangled and mutilated bodies in the open for everyone to see. This was the Salvadorization of Swat Valley. It worked, but I don’t support such tactics.

All in all, the article lists 51,000 Pakistani Taliban forces in Pakistan, but I am afraid there are a lot more than that, since the forces in rear bases of Quetta and Chaghai are not included.