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Swanson: Public Pressure Is Slowly Ending Afghanistan War

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bigtree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-03-11 07:28 AM
Original message
Swanson: Public Pressure Is Slowly Ending Afghanistan War
Edited on Thu Nov-03-11 07:59 AM by bigtree
Feints and baby steps in the direction of eventually ending a massive crime are not enough. Hoping to meet a distant deadline for ending a war that cannot be justified for a single day is not enough. A new misunderstanding should not be piled on top of other fictional accomplishments (the closing of Guantanamo, the complete withdrawal from Iraq, universal health coverage, etc.). But if we don't understand that we are beginning to move things in the right direction many among us will lose heart and others will miscalculate.

This is what the Associated Press had to say on Thursday morning as we prepared to march on the White House and the Treasury . . . http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5i0WqJ...

The first point to understand here is that, however real this change turns out to be, the explanations for it are sheer hogwash. This war has been a disaster on its own terms for over a decade now. There's been talk of shifting to a "training" role for most of the past decade. It was possible to discover last month or last year or several years ago that some provinces were more violent than others, that the occupation was fueling the violence and proving counter-productive, and that pay-offs to the Taliban meant U.S. dollars were funding both sides of a continuing catastrophe. U.S. troops could have all been locked up in their bases until flown home at any point in the past decade. Why leak this proposal now?

It's not because Afghans are fighting back. That's not new. It's not because the financial cost is stratospheric. That's not new, and it funds important presidential campaign "contributors." It's not because the Pentagon and NATO no longer want a permanent presence and weapons bases in Afghanistan, not to mention a pipeline. All of that, as far as we know, hasn't changed or been abandoned. What has changed is that people in the United States, and in Europe as well, are in the streets, the squares, and the parks. On a daily basis marches through DC streets are shouting "How do you fix the deficit? End the wars, tax the rich!" The media coverage has changed. If the polling on support for the Afghanistan war continues its current downward trend, before long this war will be as unpopular as Congress. But it is the passion and the action that has changed in this moment, not the polling.

Congress is also coming face-to-face with the possibility of being forced into some minor cuts to the world's largest military budget. Weapons makers are extremely serious about imposing any such cuts on troops rather than on our brave weapons. This brings us to the danger of de-escalations. If large U.S. troop deployments to hot occupations are scaled back, but U.S. bases continue to be built around the world, mercenaries continue to be hired, missile "defense" stations continue to be deployed, drones continue to slaughter without "risk to human life," our success will be far from complete. Transforming war is not the same as ending it. Robotic warfare will not reduce the risk of long-term blowback, will not eliminate punishing economic costs and environmental damage, will not lessen the pressure on our civil liberties at home, and will not mean an end to the direct immoral and illegal killing of members of the non-U.S. 95% of humanity.

The proper course at this moment is not to declare an end to our activism . . .

read more: http://www.opednews.com/articles/Public-Pressure-Is-Slo...

related:

Inevitable Retreat in Afghanistan
http://journals.democraticunderground.com/bigtree/1394

The President could energize his reelection campaign by announcing an early Afghanistan withdrawal
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

A reelected Pres. Obama will likely meet the 2014 deadline to remove most troops from Afghanistan
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
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valerief Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-03-11 07:52 AM
Response to Original message
1. So what country will be the target of WAR TAXES next? nt
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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-03-11 08:01 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. "Anyone can go to Baghdad. Real men go to Tehran." -- Senior Bush Official, May 2003
From way back when...



Did al-Qaeda's Gambit Work? Have They Baited Bush into Disastrous Missteps in the Middle East?

Real Men Go to Tehran


by M. SHAHID ALAM
CounterPunch
January 17, 2006

EXCERPT...

What has been holding back the real men in Washington and Tel Aviv? One reason of course is that the cake walk very quickly turned into a quagmire. The apparent Iraqi welcome was replaced by a growing and hardy insurgency, which has exacted a high toll on US plans for Iraq even though it was led mostly by Sunni Arabs. As a result, close to 150,000 US troops remain tied down in Iraq, with little prospect that they can be freed soon for action against Iran. Most Shiites arent resisting the American occupation, but they are ready to take power in Iraq, and want the Americans to leave.

While the US cannot mount a full-scale invasion of Iran without a draft, it does possesses the capability despite the Iraqi quagmire to launch air and missile strikes at Iranian targets, using nuclear weapons to destroy underground weapon sites. On the other hand, despite its saber rattling, most analysts agree that Israel does not possess this capability on its own. Unlike Iraq, Iran has dispersed its nuclear assets to dozens of sites, some unknown. Then, why hasnt the US mounted air attacks against Iran yet? Or will it any time soon?

More and more, as the Americans have taken a more sober reckoning of Irans political and military capabilities, they realize that Iran is not Iraq. When Osirak was attacked by Israel in June 1981, Iraq did nothing: it could do nothing. One thing is nearly certain: Iran will respond to any attack on its nuclear sites. Irans nuclear program has the broadest public support: as a result, the Iranian Revolution would suffer a serious loss of prestige if it did nothing to punish the attacks. The question is: what can Iran do in retaliation?

Both the CIA and DIA have conducted war games to determine the consequences of an American air attack on Irans nuclear facilities. According to Newsweek (September 27, 2004), "No one liked the outcome." According to an Air Force source, "The war games were unsuccessful at preventing the conflict from escalating." In December 2004, The Atlantic Monthly reported similar results for its own war game on this question. The architect of these games, Sam Gardner, concluded, "You have no military solution for the issues of Iran."

CONTINUED...

http://www.counterpunch.org/2006/01/17/real-men-go-to-t... /



"Money trumps peace." -- George W Bush, Feb. 14, 2007
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bigtree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-03-11 09:58 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. the Sudan?
:shrug:
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