June 11, 2013
Afghanistan, Bradley Manning, Cablegate, Iraq, Jihad, leak, trial, war crime, wikileaks
Bradley Manning: Beleagured Whistleblower
After three years of arduous delays Bradley Manning has finally had his day in court. The documents and videos that he made public to the world revealed thousands of unreported killings and gruesome maimings of civilians throughout Afghanistan and Iraq during the American occupations. Even an attempted attacks on journalists were publicized. Manning’s Cablegate was the single largest disclosure of classified American documents in history. Needless to say, many are interested why Manning would go to such lengths to deface American troops and her allies.
Here is the answer.
Manning’s leaked documents in Cablegate exposed a systematic under reporting of war crimes by Americans in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Many of incidents Manning exposed were unreported killings of civilians, surrendering terrorists being shot to pieces, rapes and murders by unchecked local policemen, sadistic torture, and countless other acts of horror. While often these incidents were noted by American troops, the war crimes were only reported internally; legal actions and reprimands were almost never carried out. This transgression resulted in 15,000 unaccounted for deaths of civilians. These malfeasance were not deliberately masterminded nor broadly coordinated. They just happened; its part of war. There has not been a war in history where such travesties have not occurred and it would be pretentious to assume otherwise
The gut-wrenching letdown is these crimes were allowed to go unreported. To be hidden, to be wished away and forgotten.
The United States, backed by its NATO Allies, went into Afghanistan and Iraq to purge corrupt regimes and install unfettered democracies. Yet they allowed widespread killings, just as the preceding governments did. This conceited hypocrisy devalues the liberties and rights the Allied forces espoused. What Afghan or Iraqi would trust the supporters of rapists and murders? The American-backed governments in these states lost hearts and minds whenever these war crimes went unpunished. The global community may not have known about this secret slaughter, but the civilians on the ground did. They were the ones who lost friends and loved ones. They were the ones who justice was denied. They were the ones who sided with jihadists to claim their righteous vengeance.
The United States has to hold itself to a higher standard. It has to pursue the criminals in its ranks and flush their crimes out publicly. It will be hard and painful, but it is right. If the military can show purge itself of its fiendish criminals it can reclaim the virtue it stands for, winning back the support of the Afghans and the Iraqi nations . As the sadists are rooted out there might be even fewer unintended killings. This transformation was the goal of Bradley Manning’s Cablegate. The cost of such a dream will probably be a life sentence in prison for Bradley Manning. I hope his sacrifice will return righteousness to our armies.
Afghanistan thanks Manning
February 12, 2012
Deep Thought, Spotlight
Afghanistan, assassination, Civil War, Corruption, Desertion, Drug War, Election Fraud, Foreign Policy, Hamid Karzai, IED, India, Mujahideen, NATO, Operation Enduring Freedom, Pakistan, Politics, Poppy, President of Afghanistan, September 11, Suicide Bomber, Taliban
Meet President Hamid Karzai, the first elected president of the Islamic State of Afghanistan. After 2014 his government will be responsible for protecting the country which thousands of Americans, Afghans, and international troops have died to sustain. It is in debate if he is up to the task.
In order to answer this question we must analyze who Hamid Karzai is
Karzai was always going to be a politician. He first made a name for himself in the ranks of the Mujahedeen, freedom fighters resisting the Russian annexation of Afghanistan. He gained notoriety fundraising for the Mujahedeen in Pakistan and fame by leading negotiations uniting conflicting factions and directing mass defections of domestic opposition. In 1992 he served as the Deputy Foreign Minister in the Afghanistan government. The Taliban’s growing influence hedged him out of the country. It was not until the 1999 assassination of his father, by the Taliban, that Karzai began his crusade to end the radical regime. It was not until the events of September 11, 2001 that Karzai got his opportunity.
During Operation Enduring Freedom, the NATO invasion of Afghanistan in response to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, Karzai fought with his tribe to bring a new government to Afghanistan. He met stiff resistance from the Taliban, who were specifically targeted him to deny Afghanistan of one of his finest negotiators. Friendly fire, from American missiles, hit his troops and seriously injured Karzai. He became the chairman of the transitional government and was essential to the negotiations which brought about a unified government in Afghanistan.
2004 was the peak of Karzai’s career. He was elected the President of Afghanistan with 55.4% of the vote. Numerous obstructions marred his presidency and public opinion depreciated. Systematic corruption eroded public faith in the government. Isolated and accidental killings of civilians by Afghan and NATO forces turned distrust into anger. The Taliban was still at large in the southeastern parts of Afghanistan. Illegal poppy fields remained the cash crop for the insurgency and the Afghan government could not cull the fields. Karzai fiercely insisted to not use chemical herbicides against the poppy growers, due to fears of a much more volatile civil war, have stifled progress against the drugs. IED’s, suicide bombers, and ambushes have only spread anger and dissention.
In 2009 Karzai won the reelection with only with just over fifty percent of the popular vote. Accusations of ballot stuffing, voter intimidation, and a key opponent mysteriously dropping out just before the runoff election have left Karzai’s government under heavy suspicion. It took over a year for him to place all of his advisors because the Afghan Parliament rejected many due to the candidate’s ties with warlords and inability to perform.
Criticisms are multiplying. International activists have denounced his administration as one of the most corrupt in the world. Millions of dollars of international aid have simply disappeared. Widespread desertion is common in the Afghan military and discipline in the ranks is nonexistence. Deserters often turn up in the ranks of the Taliban.
Karzai will be the President of Afghanistan until 2014, at which time international forces will complete their withdrawal from Afghanistan. It is my opinion that Karzai is not up to challenge. He has failed to rejuvenates a country which desperately needs strong leadership. He is probably one of the best men in Afghanistan to mediate fair negotiations. However, that is not the role of the President: presidents must act, and Karzai does not seem to be reforming in a hurry.
Source: BBC, New York Times, Biography.com, Wikipedia
January 21, 2012
2014, Afghanistan, Agriculture, Air Power, Allied, Drug War, Economics, Hamid Karzai, Hearts and Minds Campaign, Opium, President Obama, September 11, silver-or-lead, State of the Union, Taliban, terrorism
A Look at Afghanistan
With the looming 2014 deadline for NATO forces withdrawal from Afghanistan many officials are anxious about the state of affairs in the nation. Two intertwined issues endanger the unstable fledgling state: drug crops and a president Taliban. Hamid Karzai, president of Afghanistan and the Obama administration are working jointly to solve these problems and attempt to bring peace to the war-torn nation.
The economic lynch pin of the Afghanistan economy is the humble poppy. Poppy’s are the plant which produces opium, an addictive drug which had killed millions. Approximately forty percent [article] of the world’s opium production is grown in the mountains of Afghanistan. In 2008 a British spearheaded campaign drove the Taliban and poppy sharecroppers out of prime growing land. Ongoing campaigns to educate farmers, plant wheat and cotton, and enforcing security have reduced the poppy output signficantly. However, these reforms are suffering from diminishing returns. The Taliban and their poppy-sharecroppers have established new havens in semi-arable deserts and are reestablishing a profitable trade. Corrupt officials are additionally undermining the efficiency the reform efforts by protecting drug growers for kick backs. The food zone’s in Afghanistan are currently are largely secured; however, the drug problem is certainly not eradicated.
The Taliban are still a major player in Afghanistan and pose a threat to the unstable sovereign government. Every year since the abrupt destruction of their government after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 the Taliban have been rebuilding more ruggedized networks and orchestrating the assassinations of more Allied troops. Explosive suicide bombers, rouge gunman, and improvised explosive devices are the chief killers of the near 2800 allied casualties [article]. Countermeasures against this terrorism have been slow to mitigate the killings. Peak levels of Allied casualties were suffered over the summer of 2010 and current levels of casualties are still nearly double what they were five years previously [article]. Many locals believe once the international forces leave then the killings and disruption will make a resurgence.
There are many different programs attempting to defeat this persistent enemy. The Afghan military is focusing on building up its own air force to replace the American warplanes after 2014 [article]. These ambitious goals of this program are to have approximately 165 active aircraft online by 2016. Just as importantly, the government is training in total 8,000 personal to keep these aircraft in fighting condition. These planes will be able to supply isolated outposts, decimate Taliban patrols, and assure the Afghan people who their government can enforce the national security. In addition, the Obama Administration is taking innovative steps to freeze this possibility and stabilize the region. The American and Afghani governments have jointly begun to open dialogue with the Taliban [article]. While initial communications are still classified multiple officials have expressed optimistic first impressions. Peace is a viable possibility.
I personally believe this silver-or-lead policy will stabilize Afghanistan. Government supporters will be able to farm wheat and common in peace. The firepower of the Afghan army and the dialogue will corner the Taliban into consenting to peace. The country will doubtlessly be plagued by isolated extremists for at least the rest of the decade; however, peace will become de facto in Afghanistan.
May 19, 2011
Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, death, guerrilla warfare, IED, international, morale, NATO, Osama Bin Laden, PTSD, Taliban, terrorism, United States, war
Morale for the 100,000 troops, fighting the longest war in the history of the United States, is at an all time low. The terror tactics of the guerrilla Taliban have killed dozens of Americans without firing bullets and have injured thousands with life threatening Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other mental disorders. Suicides have risen and morale has plummeted. All American troops are now endangered, both by psychological assaults and a weakening military.
Why is Morale Failing?
The psyche of the soldiers is under assault from a perpetual threat of terrorism; the psychological weight of the war puts soldiers at risk to themselves and their fellow combatants. The mental stamina of American troops has degraded during this war. Psychologists confirm (what common sense tells) that terrorism is linked to mental health disorders. This naturally sinks morale
What Evidence Shows Morale is Falling?
Army psychologists have identified over 66,935 cases of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a severe anxiety disorder which plagues soldiers with asocial tendencies and painful flashbacks, during the War in Afghanistan. The number of cases grows with each year. Further evidence suggests a generally low morale; there were 339 non combat related deaths of American personal 60, or roughly twenty percent, were suicides. More soldiers have been injured by mental disorders than by insurgent encounters.
The battlefield is even more dangerous to the integrity of the soldiers minds. A vicious onslaught of terrifying assaults from Taliban back militants have killed more American troops in the spring of 2011 than at any point in the entire war, except the initial invasion. In this last February there were twenty lost, in March there were 31 casualties, and during April 47 American troops who were killed in action. Soldiers are under higher threats of death and injury; this knowledge burdens them.
In addition these American sacrifices, to restore democracy to a troubled nation and defeat the Al Qaeda, seem to be in vain. Afghanistan remains one of the most corrupt countries in the world with an economy dependent on opium. The Taliban are only growing in strength and Al Qaeda is threatening to take control over revolting countries in the Middle East. Morale has fallen off a cliff.
Why Does Morale Matter?
Morale dictates the soldiers willingness to fight. A strong sense of nationalism and faith in the war gives soldiers a reason to fight and definitively gives them a better chance of wining any battle. Soldiers with low morale are less likely to fight effectively, endangering themselves and the entire army. In the worst situations, which it has not deteriorated to in Afghanistan, armies simply desert en masse. Low morale aided American defeat in Vietnam, however high morale during World War Two succeeded in a one-sided two-front victory. Morale wins wars.
How will Morale Be Restored?
It wont. Unless there are decisive social victories in Afghanistan
The infamous Osama Bin Laden Assassination in Pakistan was a single bright flare of hope for the troops. Recently they have been clearing out the worst combat zones of Afghanistan; grueling and dangerous work as they search enemy territory for combatants and weapons caches. The Taliban is stepping up the pressure at the same time, launching daring guerrilla raids and diabolical IED explosions. The Defense Department has announced that it expects higher casualties because of these methods. This will continue to erode morale.
American forces have planned to leave the struggling democracy in 2014. At such times morale will rise, because soldiers are no longer fighting in a perpetual war in an unstable region of the world. Morale will return after it is needed.
March 7, 2011
Afghanistan, CIA, Espionage Act, FBI, Guantanamo Bay, Iraq, PATRIOT Act, World War One
The Bill of Rights had never been compromised so deliberate and harshly before in American history; the PATRIOT Act continues to persist despite the erosion of grounds for such a controversial set of laws. This act was used during the Afghanistan and Iraq wars to cordon off terrorism in America. However, it inadvertently threatens the civil liberties of every immigrant and every individual who can be construed as unpatriotic.
What was the Justification for the PATRIOT Act?
This act was a reaction to the tragedy of September 11, 2001 which stole several thousand American lives. Terrorism needed to be combated domestically; the PATRIOT Act was born. It specifically did:
-allowed government to monitor all areas of communication without proper justification
-hold illegal aliens indefinently
-launched probes domestically and internationally into Islam activities
Since the tragedy of September 11, 2001 there have been no major organized terrorist attacks on American soil. The PATRIOT Act was effective at the expense of the right to protest effectively and the right of underprivileged foreigners to live the American dream.
How has the PATRIOT Act been abused?
Muslims have been persecuted passively across America. Some have had their mosques illegally bugged be rouge FBI agents. Many foreigners, especially Mexicans, have been target and abused under the pretense of patriotism. Entrapment is still a policy used by the FBI and CIA to remove uncooperative individuals that could upset their plans. There was also the illegal holding of foreigners without justification or trial. They were held in Guantanamo Bay.
What was the Precedent to the PATRIOT Act?
The United States was a war with Germany, World War One had begun. Many questioned this rash move; some had relatives fighting with the central powers, some were pacifists, and there were hundreds of reasons why individuals denounced the war. To combat these outcries Wilson passed the Espionage and Sedition Acts; essentially, these acts made it illegal to be unpatriotic. Those who stood for radical opinions were either locked up by police officers are terrorized by renegade vigilantes. Free speech was sacrificed because Wilson determined it was more important to have a united home front in than to protect American rights.
Had these policies not been enacted America doubtlessly would have fractured along these ideological and nationalistic lines as immigrants patriotically supported their separate homelands. In the defense of this large scale suppression it kept America united and mitigated losses on the western front. There were more patriotic, albeit patriotically brainwashed, soldiers on the front line and few if any needed to be recalled to deal with strife on the home front.
How should America Act when concerning the PATRIOT Act?
Americans should support their country and war and peacefully protest for liberties in times of peace. The highest priority must first be given to life; those who are risking their lives to defend the United States should be given the highest priority. Liberties are second most important concern; without such unalienable rights as the right to bear arms or the right to speak your mind no American will be able even defend their own lives. The third highest priority is happiness; without joy life is hollow. Holding these three standards creates a blueprint for every individual to live their lives by their own terms, and happily to for that matter.