The inconvenient truth the Pentagon would prefer we didn’t see

Ross Caputi
The Guardian
Wed, 18 Apr 2012 15:28 CDT
The US commander in Afghanistan, General John Allen

© Massoud Hossaini/AFP/Getty Images
The US commander in Afghanistan, General John Allen, has promised an inquiry into the photos published by the LA Times.

It is not photographs of US soldiers mocking Afghan insurgents’ bodies that incites violence, but the plain fact of US occupation

The LA Times released new photos Wednesday of US soldiers posing in a celebratory manner with the corpses of dead Afghan suicide bombers. The photos were provided by a soldier from the 82nd Airborne division who felt that they revealed a “breakdown in leadership and discipline”, with the hope that the photos would force the Army to correct this situation.

However, US military officials requested the LA Times not publish any of the photos. The Pentagon statement argued that the photos “do not represent the character and professionalism of the great majority of our troops in Afghanistan” and that the photos “have the potential to indict” all of our troops in Afghanistan “in the minds of local Afghans, inciting violence and perhaps causing needless casualties”.

Treating these photos as an isolated incident by a few bad apples is the Pentagon’s second favorite response to news of our troops committing shameful acts overseas. This was how they treated the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, the rape and murder of A’beer Qassim al-Janabi (a 15-year-old Iraqi girl), the Haditha Massacre, the “kill team” in Afghanistan, the Marines who urinated on dead Afghans, the recent murder of 16 Afghan civilians, and many similar incidents. If we count all the times US officials have claimed that the abhorrent and embarrassing acts of US troops overseas were isolated incidents, the numbers would reveal that this sort of behavior is actually quite regular.

The Pentagon’s preferred response to these sorts of incidents is to claim that acknowledging them puts our troops overseas in danger, because news of these incidents could enrage the populations that we victimized and provoke them to attack our troops. Thus, these incidents are better kept a secret.

There are several things that trouble me about this line of logic. First, it implies that the blame for the harm that comes to our troops falls on Afghan insurgents, not on the politicians and generals who sent soldiers to Afghanistan. This rhetorical sleight of hand shifts the blame from the architects of the occupation to the people we are occupying.

More importantly, this type of reasoning reveals just how little we care about bringing democracy to Afghanistan, because Afghan opinion is regarded as an obstacle to be forestalled or overcome. The “white man’s burden” is still very much alive in American war culture. Very few Americans question the assumption that we know what is best for Afghans; we don’t feel that they have a right to object to what we are doing in their country. So when some Afghans resist and fight back, we consider it to be criminal.

Our goal, then, is to keep Afghans passive, rather than treating them as rational actors and encouraging them to have a voice. If Afghans want something other than what the Pentagon wants, it is deemed irrelevant; and our actions that might enrage them (since, again, they are not rational actors) are best kept a secret.

The Pentagon rhetoric is meant to deflect attention from all the moral questions that American citizens should be engaging in and focus their attention on the plight of our troops. Honest public discourse would address a persistent pattern of brutal and inhuman behavior by our troops and why that sort of behavior is to be expected in this war with all of its ideological distortions and immoral foundations. And it would address the right of Afghans to resist the imposition of our policies in their country, and the callousness of our leaders for putting our troops in harm’s way by asking them to violate the rights of Afghans.

These photos do not reveal an individual instance of “breakdown in leadership and discipline”, but rather the reality of an immoral occupation. Revealing such photos to the public will not endanger our troops any more than a continuation of this war will. It is the simple fact of the occupation of Afghanistan that is the real inciter of violence. And as long as US chooses to continue the occupation, more Afghan and American lives will be l


In Afghan War, Officer Becomes a Whistle-Blower

Published: February 5, 2012

WASHINGTON — On his second yearlong deployment to Afghanistan, Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis traveled 9,000 miles, patrolled with American troops in eight provinces and returned in October of last year with a fervent conviction that the war was going disastrously and that senior military leaders had not leveled with the American public.

Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis last month after sharing his view on the Afghan war with some members of Congress. “You can’t spin the fact that more men are getting blown up every year,” he said.

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Colonel Davis on patrol in Khost Province last August.

Since enlisting in the Army in 1985, he said, he had repeatedly seen top commanders falsely dress up a dismal situation. But this time, he would not let it rest. So he consulted with his pastor at McLean Bible Church in Virginia, where he sings in the choir. He watched his favorite movie, “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” one more time, drawing inspiration from Jimmy Stewart’s role as the extraordinary ordinary man who takes on a corrupt establishment.

And then, late last month, Colonel Davis, 48, began an unusual one-man campaign of military truth-telling. He wrote two reports, one unclassified and the other classified, summarizing his observations on the candor gap with respect to Afghanistan. He briefed four members of Congress and a dozen staff members, spoke with a reporter for The New York Times, sent his reports to the Defense Department’s inspector general — and only then informed his chain of command that he had done so.

“How many more men must die in support of a mission that is not succeeding?“ Colonel Davis asks in an article summarizing his views titled “Truth, Lies and Afghanistan: How Military Leaders Have Let Us Down.” It was published online Sunday in The Armed Forces Journal, the nation’s oldest independent periodical on military affairs. “No one expects our leaders to always have a successful plan,” he says in the article. “But we do expect — and the men who do the living, fighting and dying deserve — to have our leaders tell us the truth about what’s going on.”

Colonel Davis says his experience has caused him to doubt reports of progress in the war from numerous military leaders, including David H. Petraeus, who commanded the troops in Afghanistan before becoming the director of the Central Intelligence Agency in June.

Last March, for example, Mr. Petraeus, then an Army general, testified before the Senate that the Taliban’s momentum had been “arrested in much of the country” and that progress was “significant,” though fragile, and “on the right azimuth” to allow Afghan forces to take the lead in combat by the end of 2014.

Colonel Davis fiercely disputes such assertions and says few of the troops believe them. At the same time, he is acutely aware of the chasm in stature that separates him from those he is criticizing, and he has no illusions about the impact his public stance may have on his career.

“I’m going to get nuked,” he said in an interview last month.

But his bosses’ initial response has been restrained. They told him that while they disagreed with him, he would not face “adverse action,” he said.

Col. James E. Hutton, chief of media relations for the Army, declined to comment specifically about Colonel Davis, but he rejected the idea that military leaders had been anything but truthful about Afghanistan.

“We are a values-based organization, and the integrity of what we publish and what we say is something we take very seriously,” he said.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Petraeus, Jennifer Youngblood of the C.I.A., said he “has demonstrated that he speaks truth to power in each of his leadership positions over the past several years. His record should stand on its own, as should LTC Davis’ analysis.”

If the official reaction to Colonel Davis’s campaign has been subdued, it may be partly because he has recruited a few supporters among the war skeptics on Capitol Hill.

“For Colonel Davis to go out on a limb and help us to understand what’s happening on the ground, I have the greatest admiration for him,” said Representative Walter B. Jones, Republican of North Carolina, who has met with Colonel Davis twice and read his reports.

Senator Jeff Merkley, Democrat of Oregon, one of four senators who met with Colonel Davis despite what he called “a lot of resistance from the Pentagon,” said the colonel was a valuable witness because his extensive travels and midlevel rank gave him access to a wide range of soldiers.

Continued here:

Noticeable Lack Of Ship Traffic In The Mediterranean and China Seas Today

Great work Mary, this is definitely something to keep an eye on!

Uploaded by on Dec 26, 2011

Noticeable Lack Of Ship Traffic In The Mediterranean and China Seas Today

Major Western Lies about Libya and the Illegal murder of Gadhafi

The vilification and criminalization of Gadhafi by mass media led to an illegal war killing thousands of innocent men, women and children.  All so a Central bank can be installed forcing a free country into a life of capitalistic imperialism. Libya is just one more war crime on America’s war belt, it’s another coup for  mass media as one more country is bombed back to the stone age in the name of disaster capitalism. Take a look at the before and after picture in the link below and tell me this isn’t about profiteering as hundreds of contractors line up with bids for the reconstruction project.

If the war was about freeing the people they could’ve taken Gadhafi out without destroying the most modern country in Africa, the whole thing stinks! The Libyan people have been set back decades in progress…

Libya 2007 – 2011

“What I learned about Libya” below is a repost for those who missed the first run.

Tarpley From Tripoli: “Take fishing boat and you’ll be drone-bombed” (Video)

It’s reached a point where the psychosis of aggression in Washington DC has taken over U.S. leadership, we have got to rise up en masse against these wars before WWIII is launched. We’re already attacking six country’s with predator drones, now the US is fomenting conflict in Syria and Turkey?  It’s as though we’re daring Russia and China to try and stop us,  speaking strictly from an objective standpoint some one needs to step in because this is insanity.

I don’t want my tax dollars spent on these wars and am ashamed to be an American if this is what our country stands for – genocide in Iraq especially in Fallujah, 10 years of bombing Afghanistan further back into the stone age, bombing civilians in Libya and many of these bombings are using depleted uranium. Condemning  countelss generations to spontaneous abortions, horrible mutations and birth defects for the children born to women who are unfortunate enough to get pregnant.

Right now, women living in Iraq are absolutely terrified when they learn they are pregnant, because the chances of having a child born with gross deformities are very high.  So lets do the same thing to women in Libya now? It’s generational genocide, pure and simple which makes the leaders of this country  genocidal maniacs because only a psychopath would do something like this to other people. That is, unless our leaders our under the control of entities from somewhere else – which is an entirely different discussion we’ll save for another time. Hmmm…tomorrows homework!

Tarpley From Tripoli: “Take fishing boat and you’ll be drone-bombed”