Posted tagged ‘Afghanistan’

The War to End All Wars…Again

October 20, 2009

America must leave the Middle East, and the sooner the better. Capturing Osama Bin Laden was a good idea, but didn’t necessarily require a complete military invasion, and in all fairness to former president Bush, not an easy task to accomplish. But now the goal has apparently changed. The hot new idea thought up by the Obama Administration is Nation Building. Nation Building? In an area of the world that trades women as prizes and that rules with the strict laws of a holy book? How can America expect a culture this different from ours to quickly adopt our way of life? We can’t, and we shouldn’t. And is this even a popular idea? I would say most Americans, including myself, supported the war in Afghanistan simply because we wanted Osama Bin Laden’s head on a silver platter, not because we wanted to share our democratic principles with a region dominated by religious dictatorship. History has shown us that this kind of war tends to end poorly, the idea that we can get rid of a group that is not pro-America and replace it with a United States loving capitalist-democratic-republican-freedom loving-non-theocratic-moralistic society. But I think one thing is certain, when Afghanistan is ready to embrace some of the more modern and pro-freedom choices in government, they will do it on their own behalf. The American Revolution didn’t occur because some foreign power told us to do it, and the French didn’t overthrow the King because another country invaded. All revolutions have to be carried out by the oppressed people, and will prevail if the people truly believe in their cause.

Now if you don’t like my previous reasoning for getting out of Afghanistan, let’s try the history of the country itself. Over the years, many strong, powerful imperialists have tried to take over Afghanistan. Alexander the Great, Ghengis Khan, the British Empire, and The Soviet Union are four of the big ones, and all four lost countless troops and soon after their Afghanistan campaigns, their entire Empire. They lost troops due to fierce rebels, blizzards, severe droughts in desert regions, and because of poor planning for mountain warfare. The rebels of Afghanistan always had the advantage of knowing the landscape, and being able to fight on the side of a mountain helped them out too. These four I mentioned were not peace bringing soldiers like the American Army; they were ruthless military forces that simply tried to obliterate the insurgents that tried to stop them. They didn’t have intentions of “spreading democracy” or educating the masses to prevent extremism. Their goal was to take over the territory, and they would do whatever it takes, with however many troops they needed, to take the country. America cannot afford (economically and in terms of human life) to fight the kind of war necessary to take control of Afghanistan, so what are we to do? Fight the war and go even further into debt? Have a military draft? Let’s see how well that goes over with America’s young voters.

General McChrystal just asked for more troops; translation: “we are losing.” It seems President Obama has two options: Send the extra troops that McChrystal wants (and probably more and more over the years we fight this war) and try and win it for the pride of America, or get out, take the loss, and save lives. Just like Vietnam, if we “lose,” do we really lose anything? We don’t need the territory of Afghanistan, and we’re not defending any democratic rebels that want our help in their valiant cause. In fact, the people there absolutely hate the United States and anything related to Western Civilization. That’s a funny parallel to Vietnam, since the people there hated us for trading them to the French government so France would join NATO. The Vietnamese simply wanted their own government, and if the only way was to embrace communism, it was fine by them. The people Afghanistan want their own government to. Do I agree with the current government in Afghanistan? @#$% no! It’s an oppressive theocracy that treats women like crap, keeps its people uneducated so that they will embrace distorted views of the Quran, and supports terrorism. We can’t build a nation in Afghanistan, and with the money we have spent in Afghanistan could have solved other national problems, such as healthcare or clean energy. This is why we need to pull out of Afghanistan, take the “loss”, and move on with our lives. We are not an imperialist nation, and the people of America are tired of being constantly at war. And I know one thing for certain; the American people are tired of being the military force of the United Nations. We should use our military to protect our own interests and our allies. However, if the people of Afghanistan call us tomorrow and say they want help with a revolution to overthrow the oppressive and corrupt government, then we’ll be more than happy to help.

Religion or Civilization: Why Democrats should support the war in the Middle East.

October 6, 2009

islam1In 2003, when US marines first invaded Iraq,   I looked on with familiar sadness as death and destruction were brought to me live via CNN, Fox Noise, MSNBC and others. At the time I thought the old PBS line  “This program is made possible with support from viewers like you,” should be shown as  fitting reminder to the American people that each  of us were morally responsible for suffering caused by the actions of our military, and that by being apathetic or voting for a hawkish pro-war Republican we were saying that the cause of wrenching Iraq from the hands of a brutal , rogue dictator was worth the price it would be paid in human tragedy; that above  the scars of war ten, fifteen, or thirty years from now a beautiful civilization would spring forth once again between the Tigris and Euphrates and that this would be worth the fatherless children, amputated lives, and bitter hatred toward the sources of that  anguish. Feeling that such a radical social transformation was not possible I opposed the war with a deep indignance, considering it to be the Vietnam of my generation.

Five and 1/2 years later with extremist violence in Iraq still on-going and U.S. withdrawal sure to leave an explosive power vacuum we must ask ourselves that same moral question that we did in Vietnam. Now that we have come to set the stage for Iraqi westernization, how are we to act if our leaving will eventually mean that over 700,000 people, and a handful of American soldiers in comparison  have died as a direct result of our invasion. As Sen. John Kerry so wisely put in his youth ” how do we ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam.”  Are we to let so many Iraqis die by our hands in vain? How will history judge us if we do not continue fight this fight, more importantly, what will be our history?

Let us make no mistake, the gauntlet is off and there is no going back. It is not unreasonable to say that the scourge of Islamic extremism is now an ever present danger in every nation on Earth. At the heart of this campaign is dark form of cultural and religious extremism equivalent to the Catholics during the crusades and the National Socialism of the early 20th century. Radical Islam yearns for world domination and the imposition of wacky religious laws that are based on twisted distortions of the Quran. They feed of of the economic stagnation of many Middle Eastern countries to breed hatred toward Israel and the West. We must push forward with all we have or not push at all. The Islamic extremists are right about one thing, there is a conspiracy to secularize the Middle East and to subvert Islamic theocracies, and I think it’s about time all Democrats got on board. Barack Obama and his army of lets-all-just-respect-each other-and-talkocrats need to buck up and defend the fort.  If sending in 40000 more US troops into Pakistan and Afghanistan means that we make headway against the rising tide of Islamic Extremism, then I say that this is a moral cause not unlike fighting Hitler during WWII, or with  much irony, Catholics during the crusades. While we are there, perhaps we can pass out copies of  The Origin of Species.

A friend and fellow Democrat told me something promising today over lunch, he said that when he goes home to visit his cousins in Pakistan, he finds that more and more of the people around him are Atheists.  Rejection of religion is the only rational insight to have when you see hoards  of barbarians blowing themselves up in the name of some socially reproduced  delusion called “god,”  or in Arabic “Allah.”

The question one must ask him or herself  when considering  whether the U.S. involvement is warranted must go beyond pretensions of pacifism, or blind faith in the milk of human kindness. The question is one of a combination of ethical judgment in the spirit of Jeremy Bentham, and practical wisdom of Winston Churchill. Bentham argued that “that which is ethical  minimizes pain and maximizes pleasure for the largest number of people.”  Churchill continuously warned British prime minister Neville Chamberlain of the danger the rise of National Socialism posed to Europe and the world many years before  the ruthless Hitler violated the Warsaw pact by annexing Czechoslovakia. If Chamberlain and the isolationist United States had heeded his call for action the world could very well have avoided a long and brutal war which caused human suffering on a truly unimaginable level. Alas, this is the argument for the neoconservative doctrine of  pre-emption, a dangerous ideology which must measure the need for intervention with the imagined need for intervention, or the call for war in the name of military-industrial, or other economic reasons.

As this doctrine is dangerous to our democracy, and yet still the threat that militant Islam poses to the world is very real and very frightening, we must point to  the larger philosophical driver for the reproduction of militant Islam in the first place- religion. It is without hesitation that all of us, in good conscience and clear thought , cannot deny that at the heart of this conflict is human religiosity and that it should be fitting that  the place where the three major world religions were born is also the place that they should die.  Now this sounds harsh to the cultural and moral relativist ear of the average Democrat,  but we must remain objective and realistic about what drives , and has been the driving factor behind the scourge of war throughout human history.  Behind nearly every dark story of the suffering of war is a leader or movement which claims to be divinely ordained. Hitler claimed to have been acting under the authority of an Aryan Jesus, and even visited the head of the Palestinian army before embarking on a brutal campaign of ethnic genocide.  Mahmood Amadinejad and his theocratic overlords have repeatedly claimed divine authority in their campaign to engage in a proxy war using the Palestinian  PLO and Hamas as fronts. In WW II we had emperor Hirohito of Japan, who claimed divinity by inheritance. In Ireland we have Protestants and Catholics, in the Middle east we have Shia and Sunni. When confronted with proof of evil in tangible human suffering throughout modern history, religion answers back with nothing but dangerous superstition. It is time to wrestle our world from the hands of myths wrought in human fear. Religion is the poison which allows otherwise moral and decent people to be manipulated into purveyors of the inhumane.  And if we oppose the war in the Middle East because we are disgusted by the  endless parade of human suffering we must also oppose the core ideology which  begot  its existence.  Thus as a Democrats , We should support  the war because occupying the middle east, and installing leaders who support our interests will help facilitate the spread of  western secularism to the Middle East, which will serve as an antidote to the emergence of dangerous Islamic Theocrats, and Caliphate ideology in the future. In short, the less religion is accepted in the  Middle East, the more stable, prosperous, and peaceful it will be.

Democrats have too long  straddled the fence on this all-too-important issue, we have walked softly and now it is time to show those lunatics just how big our stick really is. Barack Obama should follow the advice of his Pentagon advisors and send in more ground support. And you, as a Democrat, and especially as an Athiest or Agnostic Democrat should stand in full support, sad that while we are temporarily increasing human misery,  in the end it will serve as a great first step toward a New World Order in which religion will be considered as quaint as burning witches. Over and Out.

Pakistan Moves Troops To Border With India

December 27, 2008
Map of Pakistan

Map of Pakistan

(New York) – Pakistan has started to move some of its troops based on the nations western border with Afghanistan and has asked that its soldiers stop going on leave due to the rising tensions it is facing with India on its eastern border. Senior Pakistani officials have cited the movement as a precaution “in view of the prevailing environment.”

Due to a lack of strong reliable sources within Pakistan we are currently unable to make an edcuated guess regarding the troop movments. Washington sources have told us that there is “no evidence of major troop movement” in Pakistan. (more…)

US To Increase Troop Presence In Afghanistan

December 20, 2008
U.S. Army Soldiers from Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment provide security during a meeting with the district subgovernor at the district center in Sabari, Afghanistan, March 6, 2007. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Justin Holley)

U.S. Army Soldiers from Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment provide security during a meeting with the district subgovernor at the district center in Sabari, Afghanistan, March 6, 2007. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Justin Holley)

(New York) – In Kabul Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen announced a planned increase in the number of American troops in Afghanistan.

“Some 20 to 30,000 is the window of overall increase from where we are right now. I don’t have an exact number,” He was quoted as saying.

This would double the amount of American troops in the country. Currently there are 31,000 US troops in the country. NATO is contributing 51,000 soldiers to the mission in Afghanistan under the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). However included in that number are 14,000 American soldiers.

General David McKiernan who is in charge of the ISAF has continually requested more troops to help combat a resurgent Taliban. Admiral Mullen said the American troops would be sent to Southern Afghanistan to assist Canadian and Dutch troops which have shouldered most of the burden in fighting the Taliban.

Secretary of State Gates recently announced the deployment of another brigade to arrive early next year. The annoucment of troops while not unexpected comes on the heels of an announcement from the British government stating their intentions to send more troops to Afghanistan.

It seems the plan would be to help build infrastructure and increase security on the local level while the Taliban is held at bay by the new forces.

After Guantanamo… part 2

December 14, 2008

This is part two of a two part series on Guantanamo Bay. The first part can be found here.

Previously we answered the question about where detainees who are set free can go. Now we address the rest of the detainees….

So what about the rest of the detainees? Well most of them will face trails under the plans being crafted by the Obama administration. The Bush administration has set up military tribunals for the detainees.

Various organizations such as the ACLU and Amnesty International have cited these tribunals as unfair. Recently the ACLU released a letter about the tribunals.

“Many of us do not believe these military commissions to be fair, in accordance with American values, or capable of achieving the justice that 9/11 family members and all Americans deserve,”

Many are asking to give the detainees fair trials with Constitutional rights, the same rights anyone on American soil is entitled to. There is opposition to the plan to give the detainees trials in the US. One of those is Senate Judiciary Committee member John Cornyn, (R-TX) said it is a “colossal mistake to treat terrorism as a mere crime.”

Human Rights First which recently met with the transition team issued a statement saying since the attacks of 9/11 there have been 107 successful prosecutions of international terrorism cases in the federal courts, compared with three convictions in military commissions at Guantanamo Bay.

President-Elect Obama will no doubt have to address this issue very early on in his presidency. Many have cited the unfair treatment of prisoners as a violation of human rights and some have even resigned their positions in protest of the treatment.

Many inside the current administration are hoping Obama will keep the camp open after reading some of the classified information he now has access to. Will it happen? (more…)

After Guantanamo…

December 13, 2008

This is part one of a two part series covering the future of Guantánamo Bay.

(NEW YORK) Guantánamo Bay is a bay located in Guantánamo Province at the south-eastern end of Cuba. Most people however know the bay by the U.S. Naval base there. The land granted to the United States was granted to them in the terms of the Cuban-American treaty of 1903 which effectively leases the land indefinitely to the United States. Currently the United States leases the land for $4,085 annually.

In the American controlled Guantánamo Bay Naval Base are more than ships, barracks and an airfield. There are various food franchises owned by the Department of the Navy. There’s a Taco Bell, Subway, KFC, A&W, pubs, bowling allies, and even Cuba’s first and only McDonald’s.

Guantanamo Bay inmates upon arrival

Guantanamo Bay inmates upon arrival

The base is best known for the now infamous Guantánamo Bay Naval Base Detention Camp, where many detainees are held.

There has been controversy time and time again regarding the base. From the treatment of inmates, to the conditions they’re held in, to the ages of them.

Barack Obama campaigned on the promise of closing down the Detention Camp. He will not be closing down the base itself as the base is vital to the Navy’s interests and is a key strategic location in the Caribbean. The closing of the detention center on the base he has said is one of his top priorities.

There are very few, if any people who are against shutting down the detention center. But there’s a question which looms large and seems to have gone unnoticed by the media. What happens after the Detention center at Guantánamo Bay is closed?
(more…)

Poland Ends Military Draft

December 12, 2008
Polish Professional Troops

Polish Troops in Afghanistan

After 90 years Poland has ended its program of conscription into the military. All men 18 years and older must serve 9 months in Poland’s military.

Poland for most of its history was under threat of invasion. Recently these threats have loomed large yet again. These threats coming mostly from its neighbor to the east with the largest land army in the world. The Russian invasion of Georgia this summer reminded Poland how easy it would be for them to be next.

Recently however with the last election there were promises to the many youths that in exchange for their vote, the politicians would end the draft. So now the time has come for the government to end the draft. They kept their promises.

Last week the last group of of drafted soldiers would be the final group. This followed 90 years of mandatory service. All of this coming as an effort to modernize its army.

Poland has shown its eagerness to tackle military problems lately as a member of NATO and of the EU. With troops in Chad, Afghanistan and recently finished its tour of duty in Iraq. Poland has shown to be a vital ally to the United States and its Western European allies.

Poland is facing the same problems as many other nations at this time. The global economic recession has taken finances away from the armed services. Then there is the added pressure of outdated and failing equipment. The new policy of ending conscription has led to yet another problem to be addressed.

Not having a steady supply of men to serve in its armed forces Poland has had to start running commercials and raising financial compensation for its soldiers.  After these draftee’s have finished their 9 month tours of duty Poland will officially have a professional army.