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[There have been] more than 300 drone strikes and some 2,500 people killed by the Central Intelligence Agency and the military since Mr. Obama first took office. Mr. Obama and his advisers are still debating whether remote-control killing should be a measure of last resort against imminent threats to the United States, or a more flexible tool, available to help allied governments attack their enemies or to prevent militants from controlling territory. Though publicly the administration presents a united front on the use of drones, behind the scenes there is longstanding tension. The administration is still pushing to make the rules formal and resolve internal uncertainty and disagreement about exactly when lethal action is justified. The Defense Department and the C.I.A. continue to press for greater latitude to carry out strikes. The administration’s legal reasoning has not persuaded many other countries that the strikes are acceptable under international law. For years before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the United States routinely condemned targeted killings of suspected terrorists by Israel, and most countries still object to such measures. Partly because United Nations officials know that the United States is setting a legal and ethical precedent for other countries developing armed drones, the U.N. plans to open a unit in Geneva early next year to investigate American drone strikes.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on atrocities carried out by the US in its illegal wars of aggression in the Middle East, Asia and Africa, click here.
For several decades, the US government - in annual "human rights" reports issued by the State Department (reports mandated by the US Congress) - has formally condemned nations around the globe for the practice of indefinite detention: imprisoning people without charges or any fixed sentence. [The] 2011 report condemned numerous nations for indefinite detention, including Libya ("abuse and lack of review in detention"), Uzbekistan ("arbitrary arrest and detention"), Syria ("arbitrary arrest and detention"), and Iran ("Authorities held detainees, at times incommunicado, often for weeks or months without charge or trial"). In Afghanistan and Iraq, the US government is engaged in a fierce and protracted battle over the fundamental right to be free of indefinite detention. Specifically, the US is demanding that the governments of those two nations cease extending this right to their citizens. The US has long been demanding that the Afghan government continue the American practice of indefinite detention without charges, and still presses this demand even after the top Afghan court in September ruled that such detentions violate Afghan law. Human rights workers in Afghanistan have long pointed out that America's practice of imprisoning Afghans without charges is a major source of anti-American sentiment in the country.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on war crimes carried out by the US in its illegal wars of aggression in the Middle East, Asia and Africa, click here.
Barbara Starr, CNN's Pentagon reporter (more accurately known as: the Pentagon's reporter at CNN), has an exciting exclusive today. Exclusively relying upon "three senior officials" in the Obama administration (all anonymous, needless to say), ... the CNN report on this incident is revealing indeed. Every paragraph - literally - contains nothing but mindless summaries of the claims of US government officials. There is not an iota of skepticism about any of the assertions, including how this incident happened, what the drone was doing at the time, or where it took place. Most notably, CNN does not even bother with the pretense of trying to include the claims of the Iranian government about what happened. There is no indication that the self-described news outlet even made an effort to contact Tehran to obtain their rendition of these events or even confirmation that it occurred. It simply regurgitates the accusations of anonymous US officials that Iran, with no provocation, out of the blue decided to shoot at a US drone in international airspace. (Although CNN does not mention it, last December Iran shot down a US drone which, it claims (and the US does not deny) was in Iranian air space). That CNN's prime mission is to serve the US government is hardly news. [The Christian Science Monitor, however, noted]: "There was no way to independently confirm the Pentagon's account, and correct facts have not always been initially forthcoming in past US-Iran incidents in the Persian Gulf." It then detailed several historical events when the US government's claims about Iran were proven to be false.
Note: Iran denies that the drone was in international airspace, as claimed by the US. For more on this, click here.
A jury has ordered an $85m compensation payout by the American military contractor Kellogg Brown and Root ... after finding it guilty of negligence for illnesses suffered by a dozen soldiers who guarded an oilfield water plant during the Iraq war. KBR was ordered to pay $6.2m to each of the soldiers in punitive damages and $850,000 in non-economic damages. During the Iraq war KBR was the engineering and construction arm of Halliburton, the biggest US contractor during the conflict. KBR split from Halliburton in April 2007. The US lawsuit was the first concerning American soldiers' exposure to a toxin at a water plant in southern Iraq. The soldiers have said they suffer from respiratory ailments after their exposure to sodium dichromate and fear that a carcinogen it contains – hexavalent chromium – could cause cancer later in life. The contractor's defence ultimately rested on the fact that it informed the US army of the risks of exposure to sodium dichromate. KBR was tasked with reconstructing the decrepit, scavenged plant just after the March 2003 invasion while troops from the US national guard defended the area. Bags of unguarded sodium dichromate – a corrosive substance used to keep pipes at the water plant free of rust – were ripped open, allowing the substance to spread across the plant and into the air. When KBR was still part of Halliburton it won a large share of Pentagon contracts to build and manage US military bases in Iraq after the 2003 invasion. Its former chief executive, Dick Cheney, was US vice-president.
Around the clock, about 16 times a day, drones take off or land at a U.S. military base [in Djibouti], the combat hub for the Obama administration’s ... wars in the Horn of Africa and the Middle East. Some of the unmanned aircraft are bound for Somalia. Most of the armed drones, however, veer north across the Gulf of Aden to Yemen. Camp Lemonnier began as a temporary staging ground for U.S. Marines looking for a foothold in the region a decade ago. Over the past two years, the U.S. military has clandestinely transformed it into the busiest Predator drone base outside the Afghan war zone. The Obama administration has gone to extraordinary lengths to conceal the legal and operational details of its targeted-killing program. Increasingly, the orders to find, track or kill [targeted] people are delivered to Camp Lemonnier. Secrecy blankets most of the [500-acre] camp’s activities. In August, the Defense Department delivered a master plan to Congress detailing how the camp will be used over the next quarter-century. About $1.4 billion in construction projects are on the drawing board, including a huge new compound that could house up to 1,100 Special Operations forces, more than triple the current number. Drones will continue to be in the forefront. Today, Camp Lemonnier is the centerpiece of an expanding constellation of half a dozen U.S. drone and surveillance bases in Africa ... from Mali to Libya to the Central African Republic. The U.S. military also flies drones from small civilian airports in Ethiopia and the Seychelles, but those operations pale in comparison to what is unfolding in Djibouti.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the secret and illegal operations of the "global war on terror," click here.
Presidential counterterrorism adviser John O. Brennan is compiling the rules for a war the Obama administration believes will far outlast its own time in office. The “playbook,” as Brennan calls it, will ... cover the selection and approval of targets from the “disposition matrix,” the designation of who should pull the trigger when a killing is warranted, and the legal authorities the administration thinks sanction its actions in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and beyond. Brennan is the principal architect of a policy that has transformed counterterrorism from a conventional fight centered in Afghanistan to a high-tech global effort to track down and eliminate perceived enemies one by one. What was once a disparate collection of tactics ... has become a White House-centered strategy with Brennan at its core. Brennan is leading efforts to curtail the CIA’s primary responsibility for targeted killings. Still, during Brennan’s tenure, the CIA has carried out hundreds of drone strikes in Pakistan and opened a new base for armed drones in the Arabian Peninsula. Brennan wields enormous power in shaping decisions on “kill” lists and the allocation of armed drones, the war’s signature weapon.
Note: Remember that these drones have been used to kill American citizens who were given no rights or trial, including a 16-year-old American boy. Is this what is called justice? For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the secret and illegal operations of the "global war on terror," click here.
Over the past two years, the Obama administration has been secretly developing a new blueprint for pursuing terrorists, a next-generation targeting list called the “disposition matrix.” The matrix contains the names of terrorism suspects arrayed against an accounting of the resources being marshaled to track them down, including sealed indictments and clandestine operations. U.S. officials said the database is designed to go beyond existing kill lists, mapping plans for the “disposition” of suspects beyond the reach of American drones. The government expects to continue adding names to kill or capture lists for years. Among senior Obama administration officials, there is a broad consensus that such operations are likely to be extended at least another decade. That timeline suggests that the United States has reached only the midpoint of what was once known as the global war on terrorism. Targeting lists that were regarded as finite emergency measures after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, are now fixtures of the national security apparatus. The rosters expand and contract with the pace of drone strikes but never go to zero. Obama has institutionalized the highly classified practice of targeted killing, transforming ad-hoc elements into a counterterrorism infrastructure capable of sustaining a seemingly permanent war. Privately, officials acknowledge that the development of the matrix is part of a series of moves, in Washington and overseas, to embed counterterrorism tools into U.S. policy for the long haul.
Note: Through the drone program, the U.S. has license to kill in foreign countries without those being killed given any sort of trial or rights. Is it any wonder some countries are highly critical of this program? For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the secret and illegal operations of the "global war on terror," click here.
It played unwilling host to one of the bloodiest battles of the Iraq war. Fallujah's ... residents changed the name of their "City of Mosques" to "the polluted city" after the United States launched two massive military campaigns eight years ago. A new study reports a "staggering rise" in birth defects among Iraqi children conceived in the aftermath of the war. High rates of miscarriage, toxic levels of lead and mercury contamination and spiralling numbers of birth defects ranging from congenital heart defects to brain dysfunctions and malformed limbs have been recorded. There is "compelling evidence" to link the increased numbers of defects and miscarriages to military assaults, says Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, one of the lead authors of the report and an environmental toxicologist at the University of Michigan's School of Public Health. US marines first bombarded Fallujah in April 2004. Seven months later, the marines stormed the city for a second time, using some of the heaviest US air strikes deployed in Iraq. American forces later admitted that they had used white phosphorus shells, although they never admitted to using depleted uranium, which has been linked to high rates of cancer and birth defects. The new findings, published in the [Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology], will bolster claims that US and Nato munitions used in the conflict led to a widespread health crisis in Iraq. The latest study found that in Fallujah, more than half of all babies surveyed were born with a birth defect between 2007 and 2010. Before the siege, this figure was more like one in 10. Prior to the turn of the millennium, fewer than 2 per cent of babies were born with a defect.
Note: Similar defects have been found among children born in Basra after British troops invaded, according to the report at the link above. For a five-minute BBC clip showing how the damage inflicted on Iraqi babies is being covered up at the highest levels, click here. For more on this, click here.
It played unwilling host to one of the bloodiest battles of the Iraq war. Fallujah's homes and businesses were left shattered; hundreds of Iraqi civilians were killed. Its residents changed the name of their "City of Mosques" to "the polluted city" after the United States launched two massive military campaigns eight years ago. A new study reports a "staggering rise" in birth defects among Iraqi children conceived in the aftermath of the war. High rates of miscarriage, toxic levels of lead and mercury contamination and spiralling numbers of birth defects ranging from congenital heart defects to brain dysfunctions and malformed limbs have been recorded. Even more disturbingly, they appear to be occurring at an increasing rate in children born in Fallujah, about 40 miles west of Baghdad. There is "compelling evidence" to link the increased numbers of defects and miscarriages to military assaults, says Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, one of the lead authors of the report and an environmental toxicologist at the University of Michigan's School of Public Health. Similar defects have been found among children born in Basra after British troops invaded, according to the new research. American forces later admitted that they had used white phosphorus shells, although they never admitted to using depleted uranium, which has been linked to high rates of cancer and birth defects. The new findings, published in the Environmental Contamination and Toxicology bulletin, will bolster claims that US and Nato munitions used in the conflict led to a widespread health crisis in Iraq.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on US and UK atrocities committed in their wars of aggression against Iraq and Afghanistan, click here.
Last week, Stanford University and New York University released a major study about the use of drones in the ever-evolving but never-ending war on terror. Drones are terrorizing an entire civilian population. [We] spent weeks in Pakistan interviewing more than 60 people from North Waziristan. Many were survivors of strikes. Others had lost loved ones and family members. All of them live under the constant threat of annihilation. What my colleagues and I learned from these unnamed and unknown victims of America's drone warfare gave the report its title: "Living Under Drones." Drones are a constant presence in the skies above the North Waziristan tribal area in Pakistan, with as many as six hovering over villages at any one time. People hear them day and night. They are an inescapable presence, the looming specter of death from above. And that presence is steadily destroying a community twice the size of Rhode Island. The routines of daily life have been ripped to shreds. Indisputably innocent people cower in their homes, afraid to assemble on the streets. "Double taps," or secondary strikes on the same target, have stopped residents from aiding those who have been injured. A leading humanitarian agency now delays assistance by an astonishing six hours. What makes this situation even worse is that no one can tell people in these communities what they can do to make themselves safe. No one knows who is on the American kill list, no one knows how they got there and no one knows what they can do to get themselves off. It's all terrifyingly random. Suddenly, and without warning, a missile launches and obliterates everyone within a 16-yard radius.
Note: The author of this report, Jennifer Gibson, is a staff attorney with Reprieve, a London-based legal charity that represents dozens of Pakistani drone victims. For an excellent, seven-minute video by professors exploring the tragic reality of drone strikes in Pakistan, click here. For the "Living Under Drones" website where you can read a summary and download this report by Stanford University and the New York Times, click here. To learn about a beautiful movement to place large photos of children's faces in target areas to stop drone operators from killing innocents, click here.
The US military has designated Julian Assange and WikiLeaks as enemies of the United States - the same legal category as the al-Qaeda terrorist network and the Taliban insurgency. Declassified US Air Force counter-intelligence documents, released under US freedom-of-information laws, reveal that military personnel who contact WikiLeaks or WikiLeaks supporters may be at risk of being charged with "communicating with the enemy", a military crime that carries a maximum sentence of death. The documents, some originally classified "Secret/NoForn" - not releasable to non-US nationals - record a probe by the air force's Office of Special Investigations into a cyber systems analyst based in Britain who allegedly expressed support for WikiLeaks and attended pro-Assange demonstrations in London. The suspected offence was "communicating with the enemy, 104-D", an article in the US Uniform Code of Military Justice that prohibits military personnel from "communicating, corresponding or holding intercourse with the enemy". US Vice-President Joe Biden labelled Mr Assange a "high-tech terrorist" in December 2010 and US congressional leaders have called for him to be charged with espionage. Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee - both once involved in presidential campaigns - have both urged that Mr Assange be "hunted down". Mr Assange's US attorney, Michael Ratner, said the designation of WikiLeaks as an "enemy" had serious implications for the WikiLeaks publisher if he were to be extradited to the US, including possible military detention.
Note: So revealing top secrets can cause you to be labelled an enemy of the state. Write you political and media representatives to protest this stance. For analysis of this story, click here. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on military corruption, click here.
U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan have killed far more people than the United States has acknowledged, have traumatized innocent residents and largely been ineffective, according to a new study released [on September 25]. The study by Stanford Law School and New York University's School of Law calls for a re-evaluation of the practice, saying the number of "high-level" targets killed as a percentage of total casualties is extremely low -- about 2%. In contrast to more conservative U.S. statements, the Stanford/NYU report -- titled "Living Under Drones" -- offers starker figures published by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, an independent organization based at City University in London. Based on interviews with witnesses, victims and experts, the report accuses the CIA of "double-striking" a target, moments after the initial hit, thereby killing first responders. It also highlights harm "beyond death and physical injury," publishing accounts of psychological trauma experienced by people living in Pakistan's tribal northwest region, who it says hear drones hover 24 hours a day. "Before this we were all very happy," the report quotes an anonymous resident as saying. "But after these drones attacks a lot of people are victims and have lost members of their family. A lot of them, they have mental illnesses." People have to live with the fear that a strike could come down on them at any moment of the day or night, leaving behind dead whose "bodies are shattered to pieces," and survivors who must be desperately sped to a hospital.
Far more civilians have been killed by U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal areas than U.S. counter-terrorism officials have acknowledged, a new study by human rights researchers at Stanford University and New York University contends. The report, "Living Under Drones," also concludes that the classified CIA program has ... turned the Pakistani public against U.S. policy in the volatile region. "Real people are suffering real harm" but are largely ignored in government or news media discussions of drone attacks, said James Cavallaro of Stanford, one of the study's authors. Cavallaro said the study was intended to challenge official accounts of the drones as precise instruments of high-tech warfare with few adverse consequences. The study concludes that only about 2% of drone casualties are top militant leaders. The study authors did not estimate overall civilian casualties because of limited data, Cavallaro said. But it cites estimates by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which has reported extensively on drone strikes, of 474 to 884 civilian deaths since 2004, including 176 children. In April, Obama's top counter-terrorism advisor, John Brennan, described civilian casualties from drone strikes as "exceedingly rare." The study challenges official versions of three attacks between 2009 and 2011, including a drone strike on March 17, 2011, that killed an estimated 42 people.
Note: Imagine the uproar if another country killed innocent civilians in the US while using drones to kill terrorists in the country. Visit the Living Under Drones website here. For a Democracy Now! report on the results of this study click here. For more analysis click here and here.
Before he died on Sept. 8, Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif had spent close to 4,000 days and nights in the American prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. He was found unconscious, alone in his cell, thousands of miles from home and family in Yemen. Like so many men still imprisoned at Guantánamo, Mr. Latif was fleeing American bombing - not fighting - when he was apprehended by the Pakistani police near the Afghan border and turned over to the United States military. He was never charged with a crime. The United States government claims the legal authority to hold men like Mr. Latif until the "war on terror" ends, which is to say, forever. Setting aside this troubling legal proposition, his death and the despair he endured in the years preceding it remind us of the toll Guantánamo takes on human beings. Adnan Latif is the human face of indefinite detention. [In 2010] a United States District Court judge hearing Mr. Latif’s habeas corpus petition ordered him released, ruling that the accusations against him were "unconvincing" and that his detention was "not lawful." By that time, Mr. Latif had been cleared for release from Guantánamo on three separate occasions, including in 2009 by the Obama administration’s multiagency Guantánamo Review Task Force. Nevertheless, the Department of Justice appealed the district court’s decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit - which has ruled in the government’s favor in nearly every habeas corpus appeal it has heard.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on civil liberties, click here.
The immorality of the United States and Great Britain's decision to invade Iraq in 2003, premised on the lie that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, has destabilised and polarised the world to a greater extent than any other conflict in history. The then-leaders of the US and UK fabricated the grounds to [invade, and] have driven us to the edge of a precipice where we now stand – with the spectre of Syria and Iran before us. The cost ... has been staggering, beginning in Iraq itself. Last year, an average of 6.5 people died there each day in suicide attacks and vehicle bombs, according to the Iraqi Body Count project. More than 110,000 Iraqis have died in the conflict since 2003 and millions have been displaced. By the end of last year, nearly 4,500 American soldiers had been killed and more than 32,000 wounded. On these grounds alone, in a consistent world, those responsible for this suffering and loss of life should be treading the same path as some of their African and Asian peers who have been made to answer for their actions in the Hague. I did not deem it appropriate to have this discussion at the Discovery Invest Leadership Summit in Johannesburg last week. As the date drew nearer, I felt an increasingly profound sense of discomfort about attending a summit on "leadership" with Mr Blair. My appeal to Mr Blair is not to talk about leadership, but to demonstrate it.
Note: This article was written by South African religious and human rights leader Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu of Cape Town. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the lies told to launch the US/UK wars of aggression in the Middle East, click here.
Gone are the days of the all-American army hero. These days, the US military is more like a sanctuary for racists, gang members and the chronically unfit. In the relatively halcyon days of the first Gulf war in 1990, the US military blocked the enlistment of felons. It spurned men and women with low IQs or those without a high school diploma. It would either block the enlistment of or kick out neo-Nazis and gang members. It would treat or discharge alcoholics, drug abusers and the mentally ill. No more. Many of the wars' worst atrocities are linked directly to the loosening of enlistment regulations on criminals, racist extremists, and gang members, among others. By 2005, the US had 150,000 troops deployed in Iraq and 19,500 in Afghanistan. But the military wasn't prepared in any way for this kind of extended deployment. The slim forces needed fattening up and what followed constituted a complete re-evaluation of who was qualified to serve. Information obtained through the Freedom of Information Act ... found the number of convicted criminals enlisting in the US military had nearly doubled in two years, from 824 in 2004 to 1,605 in 2006. A total of 4,230 convicted felons were enlisted, including those guilty of rape and murder. On top of this, 43,977 soldiers signed up who had been found guilty of a serious misdemeanour, which includes assault. Another 58,561 had drug-related convictions, but all were handed a gun and sent off to the Middle East. [And] since its inception, the leaders of the white supremacist movement have encouraged their members to enlist. They see it as a way for their followers to receive combat and weapons training, courtesy of the US government.
Note: Extracted from Irregular Army: How The US Military Recruited Neo-Nazis, Gang Members, And Criminals To Fight The War On Terror, by Matt Kennard. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on military corruption, click here.
A Navy SEAL's firsthand account of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden pulls back the veil on the secret operations conducted almost nightly by elite American forces against terrorist suspects. Former SEAL Matt Bissonnette's account contradicted in key details the account of the raid presented by administration officials in the days after the May 2011 raid in Abbotabad, Pakistan. Bissonnette wrote that the SEALs spotted bin Laden at the top of a darkened hallway and shot him in the head even though they could not tell whether he was armed. Administration officials have described the SEALs shooting bin Laden only after he ducked back into a bedroom because they assumed he might be reaching for a weapon. Bissonnette wrote the book, No Easy Day, under the pseudonym Mark Owen, as one of the men in the room when they killed bin Laden. In [one] scene, a terrified mother clutches her child and a young girl identifies the dead man as Osama bin Laden. The SEAL author says he did "not disclose confidential or sensitive information that would compromise national security in any way."
Note: Isn't it interesting that the SEAL team "spotted bin Laden at the top of a darkened hallway and shot him in the head." If it was a darkened hallway, how did they know it was bin Laden? The articles states "a young girl identifies the dead man as Osama bin Laden." Is that really how they ID'd this guy? And why did they then dump his body into the ocean, so that there could never be definitive proof that the body was indeed bin Laden? So many questions remain. For more evidence bin Laden was not killed by SEALs, click here.
Weapons sales by the United States tripled in 2011 to a record high, driven by major sales to Persian Gulf [countries], according to a new study for Congress. Overseas weapons sales by the United States totaled $66.3 billion last year, or nearly 78 percent of the global arms market, valued at $85.3 billion in 2011. Russia was a distant second, with $4.8 billion in deals. The U.S. weapons sales total was an "extraordinary increase" over the $21.4 billion in deals for 2010, the study found, and was the largest single-year sales total in the history of U.S. arms exports. The previous high was in fiscal year 2009, when American weapons sales overseas totaled nearly $31 billion. Increasing tensions with Iran drove a set of Persian Gulf nations -- Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman -- to spend record amounts on weapons. These states do not share a border with Iran, and their purchases focused on warplanes and complex missile defense systems. The agreements with Saudi Arabia included the purchase of 84 advanced F-15 fighters, a variety of ammunition, missiles and logistics support, and upgrades of 70 of the F-15 fighters in the current fleet ... all contributing to a total Saudi weapons deal with the United States of $33.4 billion, according to the study. The United Arab Emirates bought a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, an advanced anti-missile shield that is valued at $3.49 billion, as well as 16 Chinook helicopters for $939 million.
Note: For analyses of this deeply revealing Congressional report on the intense preparations for war on Iran, click here and here. If just 1% of these skyrocketing arms sales were put towards feeding the world, global hunger would vanish in no time.
It was 2007, and [Gwenyth] Todd, then 42, was a top political adviser to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet. Previous 5th Fleet commanders had resisted various ploys by Bush administration hawks to threaten the Tehran regime. But in spring 2007, a new commander arrived with an ambitious program to show the Iranians who was boss in the Persian Gulf. Vice Adm. Kevin J. Cosgriff ... was itching to push the Iranians, Todd and other present and former Navy officials say. Cosgriff’s idea, presented in a series of staff meetings, was to sail three “big decks,” as aircraft carriers are known, through the Strait of Hormuz — to put a virtual armada, unannounced, on Iran’s doorstep. No advance notice, even to Saudi Arabia and other gulf allies. Not only that, they said, Cosgriff ordered his staff to keep the State Department in the dark, too. To Todd, it was like something straight out of “Seven Days in May,” the 1964 political thriller about a right-wing U.S. military coup. Todd feared that the Iranians would respond, possibly by launching fast-attack missile boats into the gulf or unleashing Hezbollah on Israel. Then anything could happen: a collision, a jittery exchange of gunfire — bad enough on its own, but also an incident that Washington hawks could seize on to justify an all-out response on Iran. Preposterous? It had happened before, off North Vietnam in 1964. In the Tonkin Gulf incident, a Navy captain claimed a communist attack on his ship. President Lyndon Johnson swiftly ordered the bombing of North Vietnam, touching off a wider war that turned the country upside down and left more than 58,000 U.S. servicemen dead.
Note: Todd eventually was stripped of her career under most unusual circumstances. This entire article is most intriguing and informative about the inner workings of the military. For more on this, click here.
The U.S. military is packing to leave Afghanistan - pulling up airfields, tearing down bases, disassembling Humvees for transport. Over the next few weeks, 23,000 troops will fly home, leaving 68,000 troops who will stay until 2014. The looming question, though, is: After 11 years, more than 2,000 U.S. military fatalities and at least $1 trillion in expenses, what are the United States and NATO leaving behind? The answer is bleak: Afghan security forces totally incapable of operating on their own, as the U.S. military quietly acknowledges. And a government so corrupt and ineffectual that, as the Army said in that report to Congress, it "bolsters insurgent messaging." In others words, great PR for the Taliban. Since 2002, the United States has spent $43 billion to train the Afghan military and police. It plans to spend $11.2 billion more this year, and the military has requested another $5.8 billion for 2013. Now the training mission acknowledges that none of the Afghan forces are ready to fight on their own. The highest rating for trained Afghan forces today is "independent - with advisers." Only 7 percent of Afghan army units are capable even of that. That's just one in a nest of problems. Another big one is illiteracy. The special inspector general for Afghan reconstruction, in a recent report, said the literacy rate of Afghan security forces "as a whole is 11 percent." In almost every measurable way, the training mission is losing ground. Aren't we in the same position as the Soviet Union 30 years ago - pursuing a Sisyphean task, inescapably destined to fail?
Note: The author of this article, Joel Brinkley, is a professor of journalism at Stanford University and a Pulitzer Prize-winning former foreign correspondent for the New York Times. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the realities of the US war of aggression in Afghanistan, click here.
Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.