Failed Empire

Chronicling the collapse of a failed society

Tag Archives: afghanistan

9/11 Ten Years On: The Lost Decade

building 7

It’s hard to believe that a decade has passed since the tragic events of September 11, 2001.  What we did not realize at the time was that the tragedy was only just beginning on that beautiful morning in late summer, as we were soon to embark on a lost decade which would eventually leave hundreds of thousands dead, eviscerate human rights both at home and abroad, destroy the national economy and squander trillions on multiple corporate wars of aggression.

So where are we now, and just what exactly has been accomplished since that fateful day?

We are embroiled in no less than five wars throughout the Islamic world:  Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Libya and Yemen.  More than 6,000 American soldiers are dead, tens of thousands more are permanently disabled.  Well in excess of one million civilians have been killed by our actions throughout the Muslim world, and the American economy has been sabotaged for generations to come by our multi-trillion dollar military expenditures.

The Patriot Act annihilated the very concept of civil liberties, while our Orwellian “War on Terror” has destroyed what few remnants there were of America’s standing in the world as a force for good:  Guantanamo Bay, indefinite detention without charge, torture, the now accepted Bush/Obama Doctrine of preemptive war.

The world is clearly a far worse place today than it was ten years ago.  The entire human race, thanks to the reckless actions of the corporatist Bush/Obama regime, has taken a giant step back.  2,700 dead on September 11, 2001 seems trivial in comparison.

But let’s look back on the events that triggered it all.  Just what do we know about the alleged attacks?  For starters, we know that the official story is completely false.  There are far too many questions which remain unanswered, and until these questions are answered no American can claim to know what really happened on that day.  While I do not purport to know what really transpired, I think the following questions require immediate answers:

1 – Why didn’t the official 9/11 report consider the source of funding for the attacks pertinent, particularly when there was clear evidence linking the hijackers to the Pakistani intelligence unit?

2 – What happened to Building 7?

3 – How is it possible that burning jet fuel caused two steel towers to collapse?

4 – What is Larry Silverstein talking about when he suggests “pulling it”?

5 – What happened to the remains of the plane in Pennsylvania?

6 – What happened to the remains of the plane at the Pentagon?

7 – Why won’t the Pentagon release the video of the plane striking it?

8 – What happened to the black boxes of the planes that struck the twin towers?

9 – What are we to make of the numerous eye-witness accounts which describe explosions in the basement, before the planes struck?

10 – What are we to make of the Project for a New American Century, and its document “Rebuilding America’s Defenses,” which cited the need for a new Pearl Harbor event nearly two years before the events of 9/11?

I am not necessarily suggesting a conspiracy of any sort, nor am I implying an inside job in which the twin towers were brought down by controlled demolition.  But short of concrete evidence to the contrary – or at least, evidence which supports the official story – I will not rule them out.  The CIA has routinely been involved in such attacks on nations throughout the world; what is to prevent it from carrying out a false-flag attack on US soil?  Anything is possible, particularly in a nation as corrupt as ours.  And until we have answers to the above questions and many more, we can hardly claim to live in a free and open society.

Opportunistic Invaders: 6 Out of 10 Americans Were For the War Before They Were Against It

Nato strikes in Libya

Americans are growing sick of war, but clearly no one in Washington cares:

According to a recent CBS News poll, six out of 10 American Democrats, Republicans, and independents think the US should not be involved in the unpopular war on Libya, The Atlantic reported.

The poll found that while 60 percent of the people opposed the Libyan war, only 30 percent of Americans feel their country is heading in the right direction with its military involvement in the North African country.

A similar CBS poll conducted back in March found that seven out of 10 Americans supported the US military intervention to protect Libyan civilians from the country’s ruler Muammar Gaddafi’s forces.

It should not be at all surprising that the majority of Americans are now opposed to U.S. military involvement in Libya, given the disastrous state of things here at home.  What is quite telling, however, is the initial poll from March showed that seven out of ten Americans initially supported the invasion.  After nine years in Afghanistan, eight years in Iraq and nearly 6,000 dead American soldiers, the masses were still tricked into supporting yet another war of aggression.

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Anti-U.S. Protests Swell in Pakistan; Americans Slumber Soundly

anti-U.S. protests in Pakistan

As the corporate media gloats over the alleged assassination of yet another terrorist in Pakistan, the illegality of our military action and the justifiable outrage expressed by the people there remains largely ignored.  Yet thousands of enraged Pakistanis have taken to the streets in recent days, demanding an end to the Empire’s latest war of aggression:

 Once again, Pakistan echoed with high anti-US sentiments when thousands of demonstrators staged a sit-in in the port city of Karachi, the commercial hub of Pakistan.

The event was organized by Pakistan’s largest religious party, Jamat-e-Islami, to protest against US drone attacks in the country. …

The government of Pakistan sees the attacks as a clear violation of the country’s sovereignty. many observers, however, believe Islamabad has tacitly agreed up on the attacks while publicly criticizing it to avoid public backlash. They say Pakistan’s economic dependence is another reason for bowing down before United States.

The US has carried out hundreds of drone attacks in Pakistan’ tribal belt, since august 2008, which have killed over 2,000 people. According to reports by local witnesses, most of those killed in the attacks are innocent civilians, including women and children.

Think about that last paragraph, and what it actually says about American foreign policy.  The invasion of Afghanistan – which has subsequently spread to neighboring Pakistan – was supposedly motivated as a response to the events of September 11.  While the official narrative is clearly flawed, most Americans appear to believe it, particularly with regard to the war in Afghanistan.  The lives of 2,700 Americans were lost on September 11, 2001 – a terrible tragedy, to be sure, but hardly a figure which justifies the mass murder which has taken place at the hands of American forces since that day.  It now appears that nearly the same number of American civilians killed on 9/11 have now been killed by American military action in Pakistan, a country with which we are not even formally at war.

We have, in other words, replicated the atrocities of September 11 in another sovereign.  The people of Pakistan have done nothing to harm the United States or its citizens, and yet we have, wholly unprovoked, engaged in endless missile strikes that have resulted in the deaths of thousands of civilians.  We have become what we abhorred.

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U.S. Military Intervention in Libya Aimed to Squelch Gold-Backed African Dinar

Wars are never actually fought for the reasons sold to the masses:

Some believe it is about protecting civilians, others say it is about oil, but some are convinced intervention in Libya is all about Gaddafi’s plan to introduce the gold dinar, a single African currency made from gold, a true sharing of the wealth.

Gaddafi did not give up. In the months leading up to the military intervention, he called on African and Muslim nations to join together to create this new currency that would rival the dollar and euro. They would sell oil and other resources around the world only for gold dinars.

It is an idea that would shift the economic balance of the world. …

And it has happened before.

In 2000, Saddam Hussein announced Iraqi oil would be traded in euros, not dollars. Some say sanctions and an invasion followed because the Americans were desperate to prevent OPEC from transferring oil trading in all its member countries to the euro.

A gold dinar would have had serious consequences for the world financial system, but may also have empowered the people of Africa, something black activists say the US wants to avoid at all costs.

Embroiled in wars of aggression throughout the Middle East, it’s hard to imagine that anyone would accept the standard rhetoric about protecting human rights and promoting democracy as motivation for our latest war in Libya.  But judging by the absence of protest in the United States, and the sheer lack of meaningful coverage in the MSM, it would appear that most Americans have bought the fictional narrative.

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ICC Should Remove Double Standard Before Prosecuting Gadhafi

The International Criminal Court is preparing to indict Moammar Gadhafi:

In asking for the arrest warrants, Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said the evidence is clear: Moammar Gadhafi personally ordered the attacks on unarmed civilians that have been taking place since the uprising began in mid-February.

“He committed crimes with the goal of preserving authority. He has absolute authority. He uses that authority to commit crimes,” said Ocampo.

Prosecutor Moreno-Ocampo said Mr. Gadhafi ruled through fear, that his security forces opened fire onto demonstrators, used heavy artillery on funeral processions, and used snipers to shoot worshippers leaving mosques.

Gadhafi is without a doubt a war criminal, and should be treated as such.  But the ICC will remain a mockery until it seeks to apply international law to citizens of all nationalities, and not just those of the developing world.   I am referring here, of course, to the most obvious example of crimes against humanity in modern history:  the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as the extra-judicial assassination of Osama bin Laden.

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Afghanistan’s Valuable Natural Resources Ensure Full U.S. Withdrawal is Impossible

With the alleged death of Osama bin Laden, many Americans are rightly beginning to question whether or not we will now withdraw our military forces from Afghanistan.  After all, bin Laden was the reason we went there in the first place, right?  More out of necessity than anything else, the mainstream media and a few government officials are at least paying lip service to that possibility.  From the Washington Post (h/t Susie Madrak):

 The Obama administration is seeking to use the killing of Osama bin Laden to accelerate a negotiated settlement with the Taliban and hasten the end of the Afghanistan war, according to U.S. officials involved in war policy.

Administration officials think it could now be easier for the reclusive leader of the largest Taliban faction, Mohammad Omar, to break his group’s alliance with al-Qaeda, a key U.S. requirement for any peace deal. They also think that bin Laden’s death could make peace talks a more palatable outcome for Americans and insulate President Obama from criticism that his administration would be negotiating with terrorists.

Bin Laden’s death is the beginning of the endgame in Afghanistan,” said a senior administration official who, like others interviewed for this article, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal policy deliberations. “It changes everything.”

So does the death of Osama bin Laden change everything?  Well, no, not really.  As with the military misadventures of every empire in history, the American invasion of Afghanistan can be attributed entirely to economic and geopolitical reasons.  Protecting “American interests,” as it is generally phrased in Washington jargon, rarely means protecting the lives and liberty of ordinary Americans.  Instead, it virtually always means securing access to precious natural resources (i.e. oil) or obtaining other economic or political outcomes that are beneficial to the U.S. elite.

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Kucinich Calls for Freezing of Funds for Obama’s Latest War

The man who should be president, Dennis Kucinich, has written a letter to his fellow members of Congress, urging them to support his bill which will deny funding for Obama’s latest war.  The letter points out all of the obvious things that our mainstream media has frustratingly failed to cover, but it is refreshing to see reality being addressed by at least one of our elected officials:

Even with NATO’s support, the war in Libya has the potential to become a quagmire, in part because we entered into this conflict without clear goals. Already, military action has brought the eastern and western parts of Libya to a standoff. Is the goal to divide Libya? Is the goal to remove Muammar Qadaffi? Will we install a friendly regime? What if the country is destabilized to the point that extremist groups such as al-Qaeda are allowed to take root? How does this war end? When will this war end? How much will it cost American taxpayers? What is the impact on our already overstretched military?

These are such basic questions it is absurd that no one in the MSM seems to have asked them.  Nearly 10 years into the perpetual “War on Terror,” have we as Americans learned nothing?  How is it that Obama has managed to inject us into yet another military conflict?  He already has two covert wars being waged in Yemen and Pakistan – two incredibly dangerous and unstable countries – and now we have inserted ourselves into what was – and will continue to be – a civil war.  What are we doing there, and why have we allowed ourselves to get there?

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U.S. Engages in Fifth Concurrent War

With the launch of 112 Tomahawk missiles against Libya, the United States has now begun its fifth concurrent war. The U.S. military is now engaged in varying degrees of military conflict in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, and now Libya. While Americans continue to suffer under the weight of soaring unemployment, rising inflation and an ongoing lack of access to affordable health care, our allegedly leftward-leaning president has committed our precious national resources to yet another needless war of aggression.

Let’s be clear that what is going in Libya under Moammar Gadhafi is utterly reprehensible. Obama is correct in asserting that “We cannot stand idly by when a tyrant tells his people there will be no mercy.” The problem here is with the sheer hypocrisy inherent in such a statement coming from a figure such as Obama. What about similar protests in Bahrain, Yemen and Saudi Arabia?

The United States has stood by as 1,500 troops from Saudi Arabia crossed the causeway to ensure that revolts in Bahrain were adequately stifled. Meanwhile, blood continues to be shed in Yemen as protesters fight against one of the most repressive regimes on earth, while perhaps the most repressive regime – that of Saudi Arabia – remains our staunch ally.

Why the disgustingly transparent double standard? Read more of this post

Wikileaks: Obama Protected Bush Administration War Criminals

The evidence continues to mount from the latest Wikileaks treasure trove:

“In its first months in office, the Obama administration sought to protect Bush administration officials facing criminal investigation overseas for their involvement in establishing policies the that governed interrogations of detained terrorist suspects. A “confidential” April 17, 2009, cable sent from the US embassy in Madrid to the State Department—one of the 251,287 cables obtained by WikiLeaks—details how the Obama administration, working with Republicans, leaned on Spain to derail this potential prosecution. …

Back when it seemed that this case could become a major international issue, during an April 14, 2009, White House briefing, I asked press secretary Robert Gibbs if the Obama administration would cooperate with any request from the Spaniards for information and documents related to the Bush Six. He said, ‘I don’t want to get involved in hypotheticals.’ What he didn’t disclose was that the Obama administration, working with Republicans, was actively pressuring the Spaniards to drop the investigation. Those efforts apparently paid off, and, as this WikiLeaks-released cable shows, Gonzales, Haynes, Feith, Bybee, Addington, and Yoo owed Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton thank-you notes.”

As with most of the revelations from Wikileaks, there is little here about which one should be surprised.  The most recent batch of leaks – along with the Iraq War Logs and Afghan Diaries – merely provides concrete evidence to support what most people have suspected all along.   It was long apparent that Obama was not interested in pursuing criminal prosecution of Bush and his gang of lawless thugs – indeed, the Democrats made clear their unwillingness to uphold the rule of law back in the 2008 mid-term elections, with Nancy “Impeachment is Off the Table” Pelosi’s now infamous words.

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Obama’s Non-Promise to End the War is a Promise to Prolong the Status Quo

I know I’m a couple of days late in commenting on this tasty morsel of a news item, but it certainly needs to be addressed:

“At a landmark NATO summit in Lisbon on Saturday, Western allies agreed to call an end to their troops’ combat mission in Afghanistan by 2014.

The 48 countries of the NATO-led force in Afghanistan struck a deal with Karzai to begin transferring parts of the battlefield to his control in early 2011 and move Western troops to a support role by 2014.

While all the allies agreed to set the target date to end their offensive operations in Afghanistan, the United States warned that hard fighting remained ahead and did not rule out combat continuing after 2014.”

Our supposed ultra-left president, after sending an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan earlier this year, is now promising to continue this unwinnable war for at least another four years.  And given the ruthless stranglehold that the corporate media has on our national dialogue, this promise of four more years of needless bloodshed is actually presented in a positive light.  “Obama the leftist is ending the war!” is the obviously intended message.  One wonders if the pledged withdrawal of combat troops will resemble the “end” of the Iraq War we observed earlier this year:

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