Sunday, October 24, 2010

President Obama, Return That Peace Prize

From re "allied" deaths in Afghanistan. Sorry this does not format well; please click through for a better view. None dare call this victory . . . US, UK and "other" = NATO deaths have all risen, more or less, each year.

Coalition Military Fatalities By Year

Year US UK Other Total

2001 12 0 0 12
2002 49 3 18 70
2003 48 0 10 58
2004 52 1 7 60
2005 99 1 31 131
2006 98 39 54 191
2007 117 42 73 232
2008 155 51 89 295
2009 317 108 96 521
2010 401 96 101 598
Total 1348 341 479 2168

Since most mainstream U. S. media seemed interesting in war reporting only when the U. S. was getting its butt kicked in Iraq a while ago, let's go to a mainstream Canadian newspaper, the Globe and Mail, for a current article about the Afghan War titled Canada's next battle:

The main Canadian battle group of about 1,000 troops, which once fought across Kandahar province, is now concentrated in one tough rural district, Panjwaii, fighting alongside more U.S. and Afghan soldiers in a push to clear out a few hundred hard-core insurgents in a hide-and-seek war. But locals who braced for coalition offensives earlier this month have seen Canadians clear insurgents out of Panjwaii villages such as Zangabad and Talokan several times in recent years, only to see the Taliban return after their exit.

“Many Taliban and many ordinary people were killed, many gardens and orchards destroyed, and many soldiers killed,” Door Mohammad, a 49-year-old taxi driver from Talokan said three weeks ago, before the latest offensive. “At the end, the post was empty, and the Canadians gone, we don’t know where. And now Talokan area is an important place for the Taliban ... there is sort of Taliban-like government like the last time.”

Few would bet there will be a ticker-tape parade through the streets of Kandahar city when Canadian combat troops leave next July. . .

Canada’s military will leave Afghanistan with a bitter taste in its mouth about the scope and scale of what it can accomplish . . .

How much have you heard lately about the brilliant U. S. "victory" months ago in the "city" of Marja?

Now these marvelous "successes" are apparently going to be replicated in Pakistan by what by statute is a non-combatant force, the CIA, as follows.

The Nation (Pakistani online newspaper) reports:

The United States is pressuring Pakistan to allow more CIA officers into the country to expand US secret operations aimed at eliminating militant havens near the Afghan border, a prominent American newspaper (that's the WSJ) reported Saturday. . .

US-led foreign forces have carried out a record number of airstrikes and drone attacks in Pakistan this year in violation of international law.
(Emphasis added; that's the newspaper's opinion.)

One has to wonder indeed what the international legality as well as the strategic benefit of an expanding military effort in Pakistan really are. There's little doubt that almost everyone there dislikes the U. S. Sure, we may be useful to settle local scores or to spread money around, but winning hearts and minds? A dubious premise.

I thought that Americans and especially the Democrats agreed after the Viet Nam fiasco that the United States could not and should not be the world's policeman. What was that song title, Oops!... I Did It Again? Of which the last line is: I'm not that innocent.

We're doing it again and not innocently either.

Here's a lengthy excerpt from a speech given by Secretary of State J. Q. Adams to the House of Representatives on July 4, 1821:

And now, friends and countrymen, if the wise and learned philosophers of the elder world, the first observers of nutation and aberration, the discoverers of maddening ether and invisible planets, the inventors of Congreve rockets and Shrapnel shells, should find their hearts disposed to enquire what has America done for the benefit of mankind? . . .

She has, in the lapse of nearly half a century, without a single exception, respected the independence of other nations while asserting and maintaining her own.

She has abstained from interference in the concerns of others, even when conflict has been for principles to which she clings, as to the last vital drop that visits the heart.

She has seen that probably for centuries to come, all the contests of that Aceldama the European world, will be contests of inveterate power, and emerging right.

Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be.

But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy.

She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all.

She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.

She will commend the general cause by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example.

She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom.

The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force....

She might become the dictatress of the world. She would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit....

[America's] glory is not dominion, but liberty. Her march is the march of the mind. She has a spear and a shield: but the motto upon her shield is, Freedom, Independence, Peace. This has been her Declaration: this has been, as far as her necessary intercourse with the rest of mankind would permit, her practice.

Unfortunately for the almost non-existent peace movement in the U. S., the likely changes in the Congress in next week's election will lead to greater rather than less support for more military action in Pak-ghanistan. This will not help the economic recovery.

The hard-working troops "over there" are needed in America to help build and rebuild this country rather than spreading death and destruction and generating more and more haters of America. Back in the day, the chant was: The whole world's watching, the whole world's watching.

What happens in Pak-ghanistan does not stay in Pak-ghanistan.

Copyright (C) Long Lake LLC 2010

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