More US military personnel have taken their OWN lives than have died in action


Hard to believe but it’s true.

Finian Cunningham


Here is a shocking statistic that you won’t hear in most western news media: over the past nine years, more US military personnel have taken their own lives than have died in action in either the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan. These are official figures from the US Department of Defence, yet somehow they have not been deemed newsworthy to report. Last year alone, more than 330 serving members of the US armed forces committed suicide – more than the 320 killed in Afghanistan and the 150 who fell in Iraq (see wsws.org).

Since 2001, when Washington launched its so-called war on terror, there has been a dramatic year-on-year increase in US military suicides, particularly in the army, which has borne the brunt of fighting abroad. Last year saw the highest total number since such records began in 1980. Prior to 2001, the suicide rate in the US military was lower than that for the general US population; now, it is nearly double the national average.

A growing number of these victims have been deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan. What these figures should tell us is that there is something fundamentally deranged about Washington’s “war on terror” – which is probably why western news media prefer to ignore the issue. How damning is it about such military campaigns that the number of US soldiers who take their own lives outnumber those killed by enemy combatants.

What is even more disturbing is that the official figures only count victims of suicide among serving personnel. Not included are the many more veterans – officially classed as civilians – who take their own lives.

Most likely, these deaths are reported in some small-town newspaper in “a brief” news item with no context or background as to what drove these individuals to take their own lives. It is estimated that the suicide rate among veterans demobbed from fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq is as high as four times the national average. The US Department of Veteran Affairs calculates that over 6,000 former service personnel commit suicide every year.

Many of these men have come home to a country they have fought for only to find no jobs, their homes repossessed by banks that have enjoyed trillion-dollar bailouts and broken relationships.

Meanwhile, President Obama – the erstwhile peace candidate – has taken on the role of Commander in Chief with gusto, telling his countrymen and women that they are fighting a “just war” to “defend American lives”. Only a year ago, he was campaigning for the presidency on a ticket to end such wars. Now, more than his predecessor, George W Bush, Obama is committing to wars without end. How soul-destroying is that for a grunt holed up in a bunker, with his young family back home probably telling him that they have just signed up for food stamps? In their guts, these US soldiers must know – as many other ordinary people around the world do – that these wars are nothing but a desperate, pathological bid by a dying power to salvage its crumbling empire – an empire that enriches a tiny elite and impoverishes the majority. Is it any wonder that many of them simply lose the will to live?

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Source: text: There are no sunglasses Image: Technorati.com
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A Comparison of Roman & ‘American’ Empires


In the same way as the value of Roman coins dropped, the value of the American dollar has been under attack for many years. To help correct America’s economic woes, the Obama administration announced in March of last year that it would print $1 trillion (ww.rt.com). However, history has shown again and again that printing money, without backing it up with gold or other sources of value, harms an economy instead of helping it. A prime example of this was when Septimus Severus, also seeking to boost his economy, decreased the silver content in Roman coins. It appears that the United States government is repeating some of the same mistakes from history, instead of learning from them.
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COMPLEXITY AND COLLAPSE

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“Those who fail to learn from the mistakes of their predecessors are destined to repeat them.”

– George Santayana

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Although I’ve never formally studied history, I am well aware of its importance, and do my best to make myself aware of interpretations which have relevance to our time. One such interpretation comes from the renowned anthropologist – Joseph Tainter. Tainter’s theory about how civilizations collapse is worrisome when we consider our present day circumstances. His basic idea is that as societies evolve and are met with challenges, these challenges are themselves met with increasing amounts of complexity. Complexity is, paradoxically, not that complicated – at least conceptually. (more…)

The Jihad that Islam must win


EastEnders: Syed Masood, played by Marc Elliott Photograph: BBCc
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THE JIHAD THAT ISLAM MUST WIN

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by Alexander Baron

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Far from being a threat to British society, Muslims in the UK are facing a concerted media circus and attacks from self-styled liberals aimed at having their values eroded. Alexander Baron explains.

Far away from the villages of Iraq, the backwaters of Afghanistan or the handful of self-styled imams protesting in Wootton Bassett against the British occupation of Islamic lands, another jihad is being fought. It is a jihad in which Islam is a major – the major player – only this time it is on the receiving end. Not only that, but just as most capitalists don’t realise that the communists are waging a relentless class war against them, most Moslems don’t realise they are the targets of this particular jihad, or even that it is being waged. For this is a disguised jihad, it uses the same Orwellian newspeak as the “pro-choice” lobby, which speaks not of murdering unborn babies in the womb or even of abortion, but of freedom from male oppression and the right to choose – i.e. abortion on demand regardless of the circumstances. The very same newspeak is used by the self-styled anti-fascist lobby and its umbrella organisations when they appeal for tolerance – which means banning anyone they brand fascists, racists, sexists, Holocaust deniers. And homophobes.

This jihad is the war being waged by liberal “progressives” in the mass media against especially, but not exclusively, Islamic values, in particular against the Islamic intolerance of male homosexuality. For the moment, traditional Islam appears to have prevailed, but the reader – and more especially the viewer – should not be deceived. The liberal élite will ensure the scriptwriters declare the gay lobby the eventual winner. And round two could start sooner than you think. (more…)

Published in: on 30/01/2010 at 5:28 pm  Comments (4)  
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Attack of the Drones: WTF?


All based on REVENGE


Posted by Quannah

I’ve been waiting for some media outlet to run a story on a seemingly ignored policy shift concerning the Predator Drone attacks in Pakistan by the CIA. I’m still waiting. So, rather than continue to wait, I decided to put this out there.

We all heard about the CIA deaths in Afghanistan on December 30, 2009, along with the Xe (Blackwater) contractors, after a Jordanian double-agent blew himself up inside a gym at a US installation — because security measures weren’t followed. But what I found most interesting about this story was the comments immediately after the attack. This was widely reported at the time. According to CNN International:

“An American intelligence official vowed Thursday (December 31, 2009) that the United States would avenge a suspected terrorist attack on a U.S. base in Afghanistan that resulted in the deaths of seven CIA officers.”

So, REVENGE is now the purpose of launching Predator Drone strikes in Pakistan? Is that supposed to be the motive of our intelligence agencies in fighting counter-terrorism? WTF?

I find it interesting that, according to my research, there were 44 Predator Drone strikes in Pakistan in 2009. And since the attack on the CIA base in Afghanistan on December 30, 2009, the CIA has launched at least 11 strikes in Pakistan. In less than one month’s time. That means that in 2009, the CIA averaged 3.6 strikes per month. If we continue the uptick in attacks that we’ve seen since December 30, the total for 2010 could well exceed 132 attacks.

All based on REVENGE.

There were well over 700 civilians killed in these Drone attacks in Pakistan in 2009. In fact, for each Al Qaeda or Taliban member killed in these Drone attacks, there were 140 civilians killed. What a high price to pay for “getting” another “high value terrorist” in Pakistan! And the government always says that they managed to kill the “Number Two” or “Number Three” leader, and it has led me to think… how many Number Two or Number Three leaders of Al Qaeda or the Taliban can there possibly be? WTF?

The other disturbing thing that hasn’t been talked about much, other than Jeremy Scahill who does a phenomenal job reporting on Xe (Blackwater) and their nefarious role in the wars of the past decade, is the fact that CNN International also reported on December 30, 2009:

“Two of those killed were contractors with private security firm Xe, formerly known as Blackwater, a former intelligence official told CNN. The CIA considers contractors to be officers.”

So, not only are these growing numbers of civilians dying in Pakistan out of revenge for the deaths of CIA officers, but also for the deaths of the mercenaries Erik Prince sent to work with the CIA. WTF???

I know there are many stories in the news these days, and there are some that need to be discussed. But there are also “news” stories that are as insipid as the marriage and treatment of sexual addiction of Tiger Woods. But this story, which deserved close scrutiny, not to mention some explanation by Leon Panetta, flies under the radar.

But this is just My Three Cents…

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Source:text: Alternet.org Image: http://agitprop.typepad.com/
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Pentagon’s Circles within circles around the Taliban


Gordon Brown hosts a breakfast meeting at Downing Street ahead of the Afghanistan Conference in London, 28 January 2010

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s attention is likely to be divided as London hosts long-awaited international deliberations on the war in Afghanistan today. To be or not to be in the British capital was the question as Brown rushed to Belfast on Monday to “talk through the night” to save the Ulster power-sharing process from collapse.
In a manner of speaking, power sharing also forms the agenda of the London conference, attended by some 60 countries. Cynics have labeled the meeting more as a public relations stunt by Brown at a time when two-thirds of Britons oppose the Afghan war.
However, the conference serves a purpose. An idea that seemed heretic until recently has tiptoed to the center of the conflict-resolution agenda in Afghanistan – devolving on reconciliation with the Taliban. The United Nations put its imprimatur on the idea on Sunday, when its special envoy to Afghanistan, Kai Eide, suggested that at least some of the Taliban senior leaders should be removed from the UN’s list of terrorists drawn up in 2001.
“If you want relevant results, then you have to talk to the relevant person in authority,” Eide said. “I think the time has come to do it.”
The UN black list contains 144 names, including Taliban leader Mullah Omar. Under UN Resolution 1267, all governments are obliged to freeze the bank accounts of people on the list and prevent them from traveling. The George W Bush administration forced the decision on the world community.
After eight years of war and loss of thousands of lives, Washington has changed course. As Robert Gates, the US secretary of defense said last week: “The Taliban … are part of the political fabric of Afghanistan at this point.”
In an extraordinary interview timed for the London Conference, the commander of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, said: “As a soldier, my personal feeling is that there’s been enough fighting.”
“After eight years of war, it’s clear that domestically many [Western] political leaders are having to answer questions, this [war] has gone on a long time and it’s no better than it was in 2004, so why are we maintaining it, will it get better?” he told the Financial Times on Monday.
Echoing Eide, McChrystal underscored that “the possibility for everybody to look at [is] what’s the right combination of participation in the government [in Kabul]”. It is important that all parts of the population have an absolute stake in the government, he said. “I think any Afghan can play a role … It’s the return of al-Qaeda we don’t want.”
Afghan President Hamid Karzai would use the London platform to “announce his intent to implement a reintegration policy [towards the Taliban] and then move forward to implementation, and I’m hopeful and very optimistic that the international community will completely back that,” McChrystal predicted.
From various accounts, the Karzai plan pits the main protagonists in the insurgency – the Afghan and the Pakistani Taliban, former mujahideen leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and the so-called Haqqani network – within five concentric circles. The first circle includes Mullah Omar, Sirajuddin Haqqani and Hekmatyar; the second circle slots some 15-20 insurgent groups; the third comprises 60-70 individuals who include provincial commanders; the fourth brings together some 700 individuals; and the fifth circle brackets around 20,000 to 25,000 “foot soldiers”.
The protagonists in the first and the second circles will be engaged in a political and strategic agenda of “reconciliation” at national level, whereas those in the outer circles could be “integrated” through provincial-level initiatives. The Karzai government spearheads the implementation of the plan.
At a trilateral summit meeting with his Turkish and Pakistani counterparts in Istanbul on Monday, Karzai formally discussed the plan with Pakistan President Asif Zardari and his accompanying Inter-Services Intelligence chief. The Turks are working behind the scenes to bring about a better understanding between Kabul and Islamabad. Karzai revealed in Istanbul that he would ask the London conference to support his move to remove Taliban names from the UN black list.
Karzai and Washington find themselves on the same page. Simply put, Washington counts on Karzai to bell the cat. Karzai counts on Washington to acquiesce with his leadership. The first point on their common agenda envisages that now that the US thinks differently about the Taliban, the international community might as well do so.
Secondly, The US is caught in a bind. In order for reconciliation with the Taliban to proceed, the militants must be removed from the UN black list. To this end the Security Council – Russia and China in particular – must be brought on board. Karzai will seek a mandate in London to approach the Security Council.
Third on their agenda, the Security Council must also formally endorse Karzai’s reconciliation plan once it gets adopted as the international community’s collective wish. The US alone cannot bankroll the “rehabilitation” or “integration” of thousands of Taliban cadres and their families; it costs a lot of money and the international community should share the burden. After all, this is about global security.
Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Britain will be the US’s key partners for holding reconciliation talks with the Taliban. Separately, Washington has said it hopes to negotiate a “status of forces agreement” with Kabul regarding the US military presence in Afghanistan.
In sum, the London conference is getting set to witness a display of “smart power”. If it works, a substantial drawdown of US combat troops becomes possible in time for President Barack Obama’s re-election bid. But the big question is whether or not it will work.
Leaving aside the Taliban, who may well have minds of their own, the countries that could act as spoilers are mainly the regional powers – Pakistan, Iran, India, Russia and China. These potential spoilers may not be able to be subdued into a single “grand bargain”, so individual agreements may become necessary.
India, which gives primacy to its so-called “strategic partnership” with the US, is the least troublesome. It favors the American military presence in the region and wants NATO to fight on. But Delhi will work robustly to ensure that Kabul remains India-friendly.
Pakistan is in a category by itself insofar as it not only seeks a strategic partnership with the US but one that is at a par with the US-Indian nexus. Besides, its special interests need to be safeguarded in Afghanistan. Pakistan has excluded India from regional formats working on Afghanistan.
Islamabad is in a privileged position as it holds the option to bring the “irreconcilable” Quetta shura (the top Taliban council) to the negotiating table, or, alternatively, claim helplessness. How it chooses to play depends largely on the US’s ability to maintain a balanced relationship with India and Pakistan. Pakistan rejects any US-Indian strategic tie-up in the Indian Ocean. In short, Washington faces a tough call to get Pakistan to cooperate optimally while stringing India along.
Iran falls in a different category insofar as while Tehran has expectations regarding a normal relationship with the US, it also looks for recognition as a regional power. Tehran seeks a broad-based government in Kabul that ensures the welfare of the Shi’ite communities and it expects assurances regarding Iran’s own security. But Tehran does not confront the US in Afghanistan, although it is boycotting the London conference on account of frosty relations with Britain.
Most certainly, misgivings remain regarding any medium-term US military presence. China and Russia visualize Afghanistan’s stabilization in terms of the country getting rid of foreign occupation, regaining its sovereignty and becoming a genuinely neutral country.
The fact remains that the US, British and Saudi intelligence agencies have in the past used the Islamist forces in Afghanistan for geopolitical ends. Significantly, Moscow held a special meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization regarding Afghanistan on Monday in the run up to the London conference.
However, there is a lot going on behind the scenes. The US is promoting India-Pakistan rapprochement, Delhi is willing to move in tandem with Washington’s wishes and some anticipate a thaw in India-Pakistan ties. The US has also reduced the shrillness of its rhetoric against Iran.
Russian-American relations are at a sensitive juncture with the two countries inching toward a new arms control agreement. True, Beijing has reason to feel upset over recent US moves on arms sales to Taiwan, Google’s decision to pull out of China and Obama’s decision to meet the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader. But China also has high stakes in regional stability in Central Asia and South Asia.
Meanwhile, apart from hosting the Afghan and Pakistani presidents in Istanbul on Monday, Turks gathered together Iran, Russia and China, Tajikistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. A sprinkling of NATO and European Union officials was thrown into that mix, along with an aide to the US special representative for AfPak, Richard Holbrooke.
Originally, Turkey toyed with the idea of hosting an Organization of Islamic Conference meeting on Afghanistan. But something seems to have gone wrong in that enterprise. Turkey probably ended up doing slightly better by facilitating a last-minute opportunity to “find a single voice’’ at the London conference. President Abdullah Gul is traveling to Delhi on February 7.
Clearly, the focus of the London conference has shifted from the original focus on the Afghanization of the war. NATO’s troop surge has become a sideshow. French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Monday ruled out any deployment of additional combat troops. That eases pressure on Germany too. The Karzai plan for reconciliation with the Taliban has instead become the centerpiece.
However, just like in Bonn eight years ago, the London conference is an exclusive gathering of “victors”, while the vanquished Taliban remain excluded. The only difference is that the victors who gather today in London have been badly mauled in the past eight years and are terribly fatigued and almost bled white. They are determined to search out the vanquished and to talk real peace.
Karzai may outline a five-year reconciliation plan. Evidently, the London conference will only set the ball rolling in an engrossing game that promises to stretch to the final lap of Obama’s second term, should he get that far. Yardsticks of success and failure do not apply to a cliffhanger.
Source:text: text: GeoploticalNWO Image: flickr.com
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the ‘Wonders of Pakistan’. The contents of this article too are the sole responsibility of the author(s). WoP will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this post.

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