Defense Secretary Gates has called the Taliban part of the “political fabric” of Afghanistan. The Financial Times has recently reported that General Stanley McChrystal, the NATO commander in Afghanistan, ‘raised the prospect that his troop surge will lead to a negotiated peace with the Taliban. ’
“The realities of life in Afghanistan, including the role of the Taliban, must be acknowledged for us to be effective in working with the Afghan people and for our prompt withdrawal,” said Kucinich. “My question to General McChrystal is, ‘Why wait until after the surge to begin diplomatic engagement?’”
“If our top military leaders believe that individuals currently associated with the Taliban may have a role in the future of a stable Afghanistan, why wait to begin engaging them until after a deadly surge? The idea that the Taliban will be more open to negotiations following a ‘troop surge’ is short term thinking that will inevitably lead to greater resistance and greater animosity towards America.”
 Green, Matthew. “McChrystal sees Taliban role.” Financial Times 24 Jan. 2010
It’s not easy to establish a clear line in history between the time when American democracy belonged to citizens and when it was lost, but wars give us starting point.
The first wars were fought over ideas. There was the Revolutionary War in the 18th century and then in the 19th century, the Civil War ‘preserved the union’ and ended slavery.
In the 20th century came the wars for national imperialism. First, Teddy Roosevelt’s wars in the Philippines and Cuba, then WWII which more or less accidentally resulted in imperial expansion.
After 1945, the U.S. was very good at waging war but no longer so good at winning, so we kept practicing. Wars waged against Korea and Vietnam failed to accomplish anything but massive destruction on somebody else’s land, ratchet up the hate index for the U.S., and give the Pentagon an excuse to exercise its military muscles and escalate its budget.
Today in a stunning 5-4 decision, the forces of truth, justice, democracy, and the American way were rolled back by Tony “The Fixer” Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Samuel “Unitary Executive” Alito, Anthony Kennedy and Chief ‘Justice’ John Roberts. They said that it was consequential to rollback democracy at this critical point in human history, because we don’t want people getting all full of themselves, and we don’t want their heads getting heavy filled up with a bunch of incendiary ideas, like that they actually control their own government! That was an idea that’s had it’s day in the sun, so to speak (it’s had its fifteen minutes!), but now it’s time for that notion to honorably set itself aside, and let other political philosophies share this nation’s political arena for awhile!
Kurt Haskell, Detroit area attorney and passenger on Christmas bomber Northwest Airlines flight 253, discusses the change in the official narrative that now acknowledges the sharply dressed Indian man who helped bombing suspect Abdulmutallab board the plane in the Netherlands, the official US policy of helping terrorism suspects into the country in order to catch the entire terror network, the possibility that the sharply dressed man was acting on behalf of the US government and Richard Wolffes theory that individuals within US intelligence agencies may have intentionally botched the job.
On January 20 Poland’s Defense Ministry revealed that a U.S. Patriot missile battery previously scheduled to be stationed near the nation’s capital will instead be deployed to a Baltic Sea location 35 miles from Russian territory; on January 29 the White House approved the transfer of 114 Patriot missiles to Taiwan as part of a $6.5 billion arms package that also includes eight warships the receiving nation plans to upgrade for the Aegis Combat System with the capacity for carrying Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) ship-based anti-ballistic missiles.
On January 22 head of the Pentagon’s Central Command General David Petraeus told an audience at the private Institute for the Study of War that two warships equipped with the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System “are in the Gulf at all times now.”  A news report on the same day remarked “That statement – along with the stationing of other U.S. air defense assets in the region – sends a strong signal to Iran….” 
As 20 million Americans struggle with unemployment and 40 million depend on food stamps, President Obama’s exhortation for “America to make painful choices” and to “live within its means”, must sound rather sickening. The president’s budget announcement calls for “austerity” in “discretionary spending” such as education and healthcare, but this frugality is not extended to the American military.
By Eva Golinger
Postcards from the Revolution
February 3, 2010
As is custom at the beginning of each year, the different US agencies publish their famous annual reports on topics ranging from human rights, trafficking in persons, terrorism, threats, drug-trafficking, and other issues that indicate who will be this year’s target of US aggression. Yesterday, it was the intelligence community’s turn. Admiral Dennis Blair, National Director of Intelligence, presented the Annual Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
The report details the principle threats to the interests and security of the US worldwide. This year, in addition to mentioning the usual suspects – Iran, North Korea, Afghanistan, Al Qa’ida and Iraq – the report dedicates significant space to Venezuela.
President Obama spoke to Senate Democrats at the Newseum in Washington, DC. Following his remarks he answered questions from the Democratic legislators. The Democratic Senators were assembled for an issues conference to discuss policy, strategy and message for the coming year.
This year, 30,000 additional American troops will be deployed to Afghanistan despite the fact that the U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan expressly opposed troop escalation in two strongly worded cables sent to the White House in 2009.
The White House ignored his warnings and sent troops anyway.
Back in February 2004 I wrote a piece about the GCHQ worker Katherine Gun who really did ‘break ranks’ when she blew the lid on the UN spying operation and of Ms. Short’s role in the run-up to the invasion, bits of which I think are worth reprinting here: Continue reading →