The Maimed: On Eleven Years of War in Afghanistan


World peace must develop from inner peace

Peace is not just the mere absence of violenc

Peace I think is the manifestaion of human compassion

·

DEFYING THE VAST ENTERPRISE OF DEATH

·

by Chris Hedges

·

Note: Chris Hedges gave this talk Sunday night in New York City at a protest denouncing the 11th anniversary of the war in Afghanistan. The event, at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, was led by Veterans for Peace.
(more…)

More US military suicides than combat deaths in 2012


The U.S. military continues to experience a disturbingly high suicide rate, arguably the deadliest hazard that troops now face. For the second year in a row, the U.S. military has lost more troops to suicide than it has to combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. “So who’s killing our soldiers? I’m pretty sure by these statistics the U.S. government is killing troops not “terrorists”….” The reasons are complicated and the accounting uncertain — for instance, should returning soldiers who take their own lives after being mustered out be included? But the suicide rate is a further indication of the stress that military personnel live under after nearly a decade of war.
Overall, the services reported 434 suicides by personnel on active duty, significantly more than the 381 suicides by active-duty personnel reported in 2009. The 2010 total is below the 462 deaths in combat, excluding accidents and illness. In 2009, active-duty suicides exceeded deaths in battle.
Last week’s figures, though, understate the problem of military suicides because the services do not report the statistics uniformly. Several do so only reluctantly.
·

FOR SECOND STRAIGHT YEAR, MILITARY SUICIDES OUTNUMBER COMBAT DEATHS

·

by David Brown

·

Among US forces on active duty, the suicide rate this year is the highest since the invasion of Afghanistan a decade ago, according to the Associated Press. In the first 155 days of this year, 154 active-duty troops took their own lives, an increase of 18 percent over the same period last year. At the rate of one suicide a day, fifty percent more US soldiers have taken their own lives this year than have been died in combat in Afghanistan.

Every branch of the American military that sees combat is reporting a higher level of suicides than at the same point in 2009. The military suicide rate for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars previously peaked that year, but leveled off in 2010 and 2011, so the Pentagon had projected “only” 136.2 suicides by this point in 2012.

In both absolute and relative terms, the US Army has the highest rate of suicide of any branch. While the Army makes up only 38 percent of the total military personnel, more than half the total of suicides, 80, have occurred there. Army suicides peaked at 160 in 2009 but at the current rate will reach 188 this year.

2008 was the first year since the Vietnam War era that saw the suicide rate in the Army exceeded that of the civilian population. As the US-led occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq drag on, it is no surprise that the soldiers in the most direct contact with the brutal reality of imperialist war suffer the most mental distress.

The surge in military suicides is no doubt connected to the character of the Afghanistan war in particular and its almost universal unpopularity. As the Karzai puppet regime loses all legitimacy and the naked colonial nature of the war becomes more and more evident, US soldiers have been confronted more directly and demoralizingly with the overall hostility of the Afghan population.

Public outrage over civilian deaths in night raids and drone strikes have found expression in public protests and also in increasing numbers of “green-on-blue” attacks, in which US and NATO troops are killed by Afghan forces. Currently, approximately one in seven NATO soldiers who die in Afghanistan, die in such attacks.

Soldiers face violence, not just from those opposing the occupation, but from other military personnel. According to the Department of Defense’s own estimates, nearly 20,000 service members were sexually assaulted last year.

A class action lawsuit brought by veterans against Defense Secretaries Donald Rumsfeld and Robert Gates for allowing the widespread assaults was thrown out last December by a district court. The defense attorneys argued, and the judge agreed, that “The alleged harms are incident to plaintiffs’ military service.” In other words, sexual assault is a predictable outcome of enlistment, on par with facing combat.

In general there is contempt among military leadership for the mental and social state of the enlisted. In a blog post last month, Maj. Gen. Dana Pittard, commander of the 1st Armored Division, wrote, “I am personally fed up with soldiers who are choosing to take their own lives so that others can clean up their mess. Be an adult, act like an adult, and deal with your real-life problems like the rest of us.” Although he later retracted the statement, he did not apologize for it.

Moreover, the deteriorating economic situation facing the majority of Americans must find its reflection in the minds of soldiers. The official US poverty rate is 16 percent, and nearly half of the population is low-income. Just under half of American households are receiving some form of government aid, while at the same time, states are slashing funding for the programs that millions of Americans need to make ends meet. Given these numbers it would be shocking if many soldiers did not have family or close friends in dire straits.

When US soldiers finish their tours of duty, their prospects for employment are even worse than those of the population at large. While overall unemployment averaged 9 percent in 2011, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 12.1 percent of veterans who served since September 2001 were unemployed last year. Similarly, the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans estimates that 1.5 million veterans are at risk of homelessness. On average, 18 veterans commit suicide each day.

The mantra of the Obama administration and Democrat and Republican politicians about “supporting the troops,” is nothing but rank hypocrisy. The population at large, and veterans and soldiers in particular, should view Obama’s efforts to rehabilitate the Vietnam War in his Memorial Day speech as a dangerous warning. By praising the bloody conflict that killed millions of Vietnamese and tens of thousands of Americans, Obama is indicating his willingness to wage war regardless of the cost to workers across the globe, including his own nation’s enlisted.

Source, Title image with captions
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 statement / s contained in this post.

YOUR COMMENT IS IMPORTANT

DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF YOUR COMMENT

Wonders of Pakistan supports freedom of expression and this commitment extends to our readers as well. Constraints however, apply in case of a violation of WoP Comments Policy. We also moderate hate speech, libel and gratuitous insults.
We at Wonders of Pakistan use copyrighted material the use of which may not have always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We make such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” only. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

9/11 was not a work of Muslim groups, says former Malaysian Prime Minister


Consider the attack on 9/11. The planning must have taken a considerable length of time. The candidates had to learn to fly in tiny aircraft. Unless they were already airline pilots familiar with big passenger aircraft, their pupil pilot licenses would not be of much help to fly the four aircrafts to their targets which were not on the route of the planes. Planning to hijack four aircrafts simultaneously would require great precision in timing and logistics. One aircraft maybe. But four simultaneously! I don’t think Arab terrorists from Saudi Arabia can carry out this highly sophisticated operation with such success. Then there was the collapse of the two towers hit by the aircrafts. They came down nicely upon themselves without toppling against the other buildings close by. It looks more like planned demolition of buildings than collapse consequent upon being hit by aircraft.
·

9/11 WAS NOT A WORK OF MUSLIM GROUPS, SAYS FORMER MALAYSIAN PRIME MINISTER, MAHATHIR MOHAMAD

·

by Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad

·

1. I had written in this blog that the attack against the New York World Trade Centre and the Pentagon on 9/11 2001 was not hit by any Muslim terrorist.

It could have been by other groups. (more…)

“Humanitarian War on Syria” ::: Towards a Broader Middle East – Central Asian War [3 of 3]


Israel and Turkey have a military cooperation agreement which pertains in a very direct way to Syria as well to the strategic Lebanese-Syrian Eastern Mediterranean coastline (including the gas reserves off the coast of Lebanon and pipeline routes). Syria is ally of Iran and Russia has a naval base in North Western Syria (see map). A triangular military alliance between the US, Israel and Turkey, during the Clinton Administration already had unfolded. This “triple alliance”, which is dominated by the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, integrates and coordinates military command decisions between the three countries pertaining to the broader Middle East. It is based on the close military ties respectively of Israel and Turkey with the US, coupled with a strong bilateral military relationship between Tel Aviv and Ankara. ….
·

THE ISRAEL-TURKEY MILITARY COOPERATION AGREEMENT

·

by Michel Chossudovsky

·

Israel and Turkey have a military cooperation agreement which pertains in a very direct way to Syria as well to the strategic Lebanese-Syrian Eastern Mediterranean coastline (including the gas reserves off the coast of Lebanon and pipeline routes).

Already during the Clinton Administration, a triangular military alliance between the US, Israel and Turkey had unfolded. This “triple alliance”, which is dominated by the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, integrates and coordinates military command decisions between the three countries pertaining to the broader Middle East. It is based on the close military ties respectively of Israel and Turkey with the US, coupled with a strong bilateral military relationship between Tel Aviv and Ankara. ….

The triple alliance is also coupled with a 2005 NATO-Israeli military cooperation agreement which includes “many areas of common interest, such as the fight against terrorism and joint military exercises. These military cooperation ties with NATO are viewed by the Israeli military as a means to “enhance Israel’s deterrence capability regarding potential enemies threatening it, mainly Iran and Syria.” (See Michel Chossudovsky,”Triple Alliance”: The US, Turkey, Israel and the War on Lebanon, August 6, 2006)

Meanwhile, the recent reshuffle within Turkey’s top brass has reinforced the pro-Islamist faction within the armed forces. In late July, The Commander in Chief of the Army and head of Turkey’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Isik Kosaner, resigned together with the commanders of the Navy and Air Force.

General Kosaner represented a broadly secular stance within the Armed Forces. General Necdet Ozel has been appointed as his replacement as commander of the Army the new army chief.

These developments are of crucial importance. They tend to support US interests. They also point to a potential shift within the military in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood including the armed insurrection in Northern Syria.

“New appointments have strengthened Erdogan and the ruling party in Turkey… [T]he military power is able to carry out more ambitious projects in the region. It is predicted that in case of using the Libyan scenario in Syria it is possible that Turkey will apply for military intervention.” New appointments have strengthened Erdogan and the ruling party in Turkey : Public Radio of Armenia, August 06, 2011, emphasis added)

Right; Muslim Brotherhood Rebels at Jisr al Shughour Photos AFP June 16, 2011 
[Note: this photo is in many regards misleading. Most of the rebel gunmen are highly trained with modern weapons.]


THE EXTENDED NATO MILITARY ALLIANCE

Egypt, the Gulf states and Saudi Arabia (within the extended military alliance) are partners of NATO, whose forces could be deployed in a campaign directed against Syria.

Israel is a de facto member of NATO following an agreement signed in 2005.

The process of military planning within NATO’s extended alliance involves coordination between the Pentagon, NATO, Israel’s Defense Force (IDF), as well as the active military involvement of the frontline Arab states, including Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, Egypt: all in all ten Arab countries plus Israel are members of The Mediterranean Dialogue and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative.

WE ARE AT A DANGEROUS CROSSROADS. THE GEOPOLITICAL IMPLICATIONS ARE FAR REACHING.

Syria has borders with Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq. It spreads across the valley of the Euphrates, it is at the crossroads of major waterways and pipeline routes.

 Establishment of a base in Tartus and rapid advancement of military technology cooperation with Damascus makes Syria Russia’s instrumental bridgehead and bulwark in the Middle East.

Damascus is an important ally of Iran and irreconcilable enemy of Israel. It goes without saying that appearance of the Russian military base in the region will certainly introduce corrections into the existing correlation of forces.

Russia is taking the Syrian regime under its protection. It will almost certainly sour Moscow’s relations with Israel. It may even encourage the Iranian regime nearby and make it even less tractable in the nuclear program talks. ( Ivan Safronov, Russia to defend its principal Middle East ally: Moscow takes Syria under its protection, Global Research July 28, 2006)

WORLD WAR III SCENARIO

For the last five years, the Middle East-Central Asian region has been on an active war footing.

Syria has significant air defense capabilities as well as ground forces.

Syria has been building up its air defense system with the delivery of Russian Pantsir S1 air-defense missiles. In 2010, Russia delivered a Yakhont missile system to Syria. The Yakhont operating out of Russia’s Tartus naval base “are designed for engagement of enemy’s ships at the range up to 300 km”. (Bastion missile systems to protect Russian naval base in Syria, Ria Novosti,  September 21, 2010).

The structure of military alliances respectively on the US-NATO and Syria-Iran-SCO sides, not to mention the military involvement of Israel, the complex relationship between Syria and Lebanon, the pressures exerted by Turkey on Syria’s northern border, point indelibly to a dangerous process of escalation.

Any form of US-NATO sponsored military intervention directed against Syria would destabilize the entire region, potentially leading to escalation over a vast geographical area, extending from the Eastern Mediterranean to the Afghanistan-Pakistan border with Tajikistan and China.

In the short run, with the war in Libya, the US-NATO military alliance is overextended in terms of its capabilities. While we do not foresee the implementation of a US-NATO military operation in the short-term, the process of political destabilization through the covert support of a rebel insurgency will in all likelihood continue.

This article was updated on August 11, 2011. 

Previous 1, 2, 3

Source

YOUR COMMENT IS IMPORTANT

DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF YOUR COMMENT

Wonders of Pakistan supports freedom of expression and this commitment extends to our readers as well. Constraints however, apply in case of a violation of WoP Comments Policy. We also moderate hate speech, libel and gratuitous insults. 
We at Wonders of Pakistan use copyrighted material the use of which may not have always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We make such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” only. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

“Humanitarian War on Syria” ::: Towards a Broader Middle East – Central Asian War [2 of 3]


Following August 3 Statement by the Chairman of the UN Security Council directed against Syria, Moscow’s envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin [above] warned of the dangers of military escalation. Rogozin said: “NATO is planning a military campaign against Syria to help overthrow the regime of President Bashar al-Assad with a long-reaching goal of preparing a beachhead for an attack on Iran… “[This statement] means that the planning [of the military campaign] is well underway. It could be a logical conclusion of those military and propaganda operations, which have been carried out by certain Western countries against North Africa,” In an interview with the Izvestia newspaper, the Russian diplomat pointed out at the fact that the alliance is aiming to interfere only with the regimes “whose views do not coincide with those of the West.”
·

DANGEROUS CROSSROADS: WAR ON SYRIA. BEACHHEAD FOR AN ATTACK ON IRAN

·

by Michel Chossudovsky

·

Following the August 3 Statement by the Chairman of the UN Security Council directed against Syria, Moscow’s envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin warned of the dangers of military escalation:

“NATO is planning a military campaign against Syria to help overthrow the regime of President Bashar al-Assad with a long-reaching goal of preparing a beachhead for an attack on Iran,…

“[This statement] means that the planning [of the military campaign] is well underway. It could be a logical conclusion of those military and propaganda operations, which have been carried out by certain Western countries against North Africa,” Rogozin said in an interview with the Izvestia newspaper… The Russian diplomat pointed out at the fact that the alliance is aiming to interfere only with the regimes “whose views do not coincide with those of the West.”

Rogozin agreed with the opinion expressed by some experts that Syria and later Yemen could be NATO’s last steps on the way to launch an attack on Iran.

“The noose around Iran is tightening. Military planning against Iran is underway. And we are certainly concerned about an escalation of a large-scale war in this huge region,” Rogozin said.

Having learned the Libyan lesson, Russia “will continue to oppose a forcible resolution of the situation in Syria,” he said, adding that the consequences of a large-scale conflict in North Africa would be devastating for the whole world. “Beachhead for an Attack on Iran”: NATO is planning a Military Campaign against Syria, Novosti, August 5, 2011)

 A scenario of an attack on Syria is currently on the drawing board, involving French, British and Israeli military experts. According to former the Commander of the French Air Force (chef d’Etat-Major de l’Armée de l’air) General Jean Rannou, “a  NATO strike to disable the Syrian army is technically feasible”:

“Nato member countries would begin by using satellite technology to spot Syrian air defences. A few days later, warplanes, in larger numbers than Libya, would take off from the UK base in Cyprus and spend some 48 hours destroying Syrian surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) and jets. Alliance aircraft would then start an open-ended bombardment of Syrian tanks and ground troops.

The scenario is based on analysts in the French military, from the specialist British publication Jane’s Defence Weekly and from Israel’s Channel 10 TV station.

The Syrian air force is said to pose little threat. It has around 60 Russian-made MiG-29s. But the rest – some 160 MiG-21s, 80 MiG-23s, 60 MiG-23BNs, 50 Su-22s and 20 Su-24MKs – is out of date.

….”I don’t see any purely military problems. Syria has no defence against Western systems … [But] it would be more risky than Libya. It would be a heavy military operation,” Jean Rannou, the former chief of the French air force, told EUobserver. He added that action is highly unlikely because Russia would veto a UN mandate, Nato assets are stretched in Afghanistan and Libya and Nato countries are in financial crisis. (Andrew Rettman, Blueprint For NATO Attack On Syria Revealed, Global Research, August 11, 2011)

THE BROADER MILITARY ROAD MAP   

While Libya, Syria and Iran are part of the military roadmap, this strategic deployment if it were to carried out would also threaten China and Russia. Both countries have investment, trade as well as military cooperation agreements with Syria and Iran. Iran has observer status in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

Escalation is part of the military agenda. Since 2005, the US and its allies, including America’s NATO partners and Israel, have been involved in the extensive deployment and stockpiling of advanced weapons systems. The air defense systems of the US, NATO member countries and Israel are fully integrated.

 THE ROLE OF ISRAEL AND TURKEY

Both Ankara and Tel Aviv are involved in supporting an armed insurgency. These endeavors are coordinated between the two governments and their intelligence agencies.

Israel’s Mossad, according to reports, has provided covert support to radical Salafi terrorist groups, which became active in Southern Syria at the outset of protest movement in Daraa in mid-March. Reports suggest that financing for the Salafi insurgency is coming from Saudi Arabia. (See Syrian army closes in on Damascus suburbs, The Irish Times, May 10, 2011).

The Turkish government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyib Erdogan is supporting Syrian opposition groups in exile while also backing the armed rebels of the Muslim Brotherhood in Northern Syria.

Both the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood (MB) (whose leadership is in exile in the UK) and the banned Hizb ut-Tahrir (the Party of Liberation) are behind the insurrection. Both organizations are supported by Britain’s MI6. The avowed objective of both MB and Hizb-ut Tahir is ultimately to destabilize Syria’s secular State. (See Michel Chossudovsky, SYRIA: Who is Behind The Protest Movement? Fabricating a Pretext for a US-NATO “Humanitarian Intervention”, Global Research, May 3, 2011).

In June, Turkish troops crossed the border into northern Syria, officially to come to the rescue of Syrian refugees. The government of Bashar Al Assad accused Turkey of directly supporting the incursion of rebel forces into northern Syria:

“A rebel force of up to 500 fighters attacked a Syrian Army position on June 4 in northern Syria. They said the target, a garrison of Military Intelligence, was captured in a 36-hour assault in which 72 soldiers were killed in Jisr Al Shoughour, near the border with Turkey.

“We found that the criminals [rebel fighters] were using weapons from Turkey, and this is very worrisome,” an official said.

This marked the first time that the Assad regime has accused Turkey of helping the revolt. … Officials said the rebels drove the Syrian Army from Jisr Al Shoughour and then took over the town. They said government buildings were looted and torched before another Assad force arrived. …

A Syrian officer who conducted the tour said the rebels in Jisr Al Shoughour consisted of Al Qaida-aligned fighters. He said the rebels employed a range of Turkish weapons and ammunition but did not accuse the Ankara government of supplying the equipment.” (Syria’s Assad accuses Turkey of arming rebels, TR Defence, Jun 25 2011)

Denied by the Western media, foreign support to Islamist insurgents, which have “infiltrated the protest movement”, is, nonetheless, confirmed by Western intelligence sources. According to former MI6 officer Alistair Crooke (and high level EU adviser): “two important forces behind events [in Syria] are Sunni radicals and Syrian exile groups in France and the US. He said the radicals follow the teaching of Abu Musab Zarqawi, a late Jordanian Islamist, who aimed to create a Sunni emirate in Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria called Bilad a-Sham. They are experienced urban guerillas who fought in Iraq and have outside finance. They infilitrate protests to attack Assad forces, as in Jisr al-Shagour in June, where they inflicted heavy casualties.” (Andrew Rettman, Blueprint For NATO Attack On Syria Revealed, Global Research, August 11, 2011, emphasis added).

The former MI6 official also confirms that Israel and the US are supporting and financing the terrorists: “Crooke said the exile groups aim to topple the anti-Israeli [Syrian] regime. They are funded and trained by the US and have links to Israel. They pay Sunni tribal chiefs to put people on the streets, work with NGOs to feed uncorroborated stories of atrocities to Western media and co-operate with radicals in the hope that escalating violence will justify Nato intervention. (Ibid, emphasis added).

Political factions within Lebanon are also involved. Lebanese intelligence has confirmed the covert shipment of assault rifles and automatic weapons to Salafi fighters. The shipment was carried out by Saudi-backed Lebanese politicians.

Previous 1, 2, 3, Next

Source

YOUR COMMENT IS IMPORTANT

DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF YOUR COMMENT

Wonders of Pakistan supports freedom of expression and this commitment extends to our readers as well. Constraints however, apply in case of a violation of WoP Comments Policy. We also moderate hate speech, libel and gratuitous insults. 
We at Wonders of Pakistan use copyrighted material the use of which may not have always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We make such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” only. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.