Bradley Manning: Why did he Expose American War Crimes?

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Bradley Manning:Beleagured Whistleblower

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

Afghanistan thanks Manning

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Profile: Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan

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Hamid Karzai

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 TimesBiography.com, Wikipedia

State of the Union: Afghanistan Edition

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Afghanistan bazaar

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.

Athens and America: A Study of the Paralleled Rise and Fall of Empires

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Zeus or Poseidon?

History Repeats Itself

The global empire of the United States bears staggering similarities to that of the ancient Athenian empire; both rose through an influx in foreign wealth, fought long and costly wars, and lost their supremacy due to singular, devastating defeats.

Athens’s rise and fall was intertwined with the grand conflict of the Peloponnesian War.  Before the war, Athens dominated Greece.  Tribute, paid through monetary and naval capital by Delian League, was arbitrarily used by Athens for its own betterment.  Under Pericles, Athenians built great public works, such as the Parthenon, with foreign money.

Later, the tectonic Peloponnesian War erupted between Athens and Sparta.  Neither could defeat the other, so the conflict evolved into a regional, strategic struggle.  Foreign campaigns, like in Sicily, eroded the strength of the Athenians.  Athens was too heavily invested in these foreign conflicts.

Athens risked too much and the Peloponnesian League, Sparta and her network of Allies, punished them for it.  The tipping point for the Athenian Empire was at Syracuse.  Athenian generals procrastinated at the beginning of the conflict; this delay resulted in the unsuccessful siege of the city rather than a victorious strike.  Spartan reinforcements had enough time to reinforce Syracuse and beat back the Athenians.  Countless ships of Athens were lost in the harbor of Syracuse.  Athenian morale was splintered with their strength broken.  The downward spiral of Athens lasted eight painful years before they surrendered to Sparta.

America is on the downhill slide of the Athenian curve as she circles her own defeat.  Historians would place the high point of the American empire at the close of World War Two.  At this point, many nations adored the victorious liberators.  Wealth flowed into America in exchange for manufactured products.  Destruction of international economic competitions, with the bombings of Europe and the wars of East Asia, enabled this modern reincarnation of Athenian tribute.  Buoyed by foreign wealth, politicians constructed highways, funded Social Security, and created Medicare.  Meanwhile, the Cold War flickered into forest fire.

Forces mobilized against the United States; America’s Cold War would mirror Athens’s Peloponnesian War. Many nations sided with the USSR, and later China, in a manifold communist threat against the United States.  Communist converts were afraid of being poached by America’s predatory foreign policy; the CIA coup of democracy in Iran, GI’s fought the rightful rule of Vietnam, and paratroopers invaded Grenada.  This only empowered America’s enemies.

American capitalism and USSR’s communism fought long and hard, sapping global capital. China besieged the United States in Korea, freedom fighters in Afghanistan killed millions of Russians, and the Middle East burned as Israel, Egypt, and Syria warred.  Ideological conflicts continue to this day in various modern forms.  By 2011 America had overextended herself.  Tens of thousands of troops were stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq, NATO jets controlled the airspace of Libya, and drone strikes assassinated opposition figures in Yemen.

Here the American model caught up to the Athenian timeline.  The next chronological event was a major defeat of the American Empire at the hand of the Chinese.  Despite having the best universities, arguably the most innovative populace, and the most capital the American economy was overtaken by the oppressive, environmentally destructive, and antagonistic Chinese economy. The Americans would be surpassed by 2020; China was declared the Sparta of the modern age.  As early as 2011 the Chinese were flexing their strength, the flow of resources, such as rare metals, was halted to the United States.  It would not be long until other essential elements of the globalized economy simply went missing.  America’s empire unraveled, just as its star-crossed ancestor Athens did before it.

Democrats and Republicans Playing Chicken With the American Economy: How Polarized Bipartisanship In Congress Will Decimate Critical Concerns (Like Issuing Social Security Checks and Staving Off A Double Dip Recession)

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FDR on Social Security

Social Security: The Primary Financial Safety Net For Retirees

American seniors will be the first casualties of the debt limit; followed sequentially by Wall Street, the domestic economy, and finally the international economy.  President Obama and Senator Henry Reid’s ultimatum to the stubborn Republicans is that unless the public debt ceiling is raised the country will be forced to halt transfer of social security checks.  Both sides have agreed to reduce the increasing debt, however the specific amount is debated, fluctuating in the trillions.  The time for procrastination is running out.  If the August 2, 2011 deadline is not met the American dollar will become worthless as credit rating agencies, like Moody’s, will no longer support the Federal Reserve.  Not to fear monger, but this a potentially catastrophic financial disaster that stems from several men being unable to agree on a set of numbers.

What is the Democrats Positions?

The Democrats have united around Obama and the Democrats Congress Leaders.  Their unified polices have forwarded relatively generous offers to the Republicans.  Talks have been breaking down at this point, as they are repeatedly snubbed.  Their offers have been denied, there fair deals do not meet the requisites of the Republicans.  They are collectively determined to stay strong and stay the course; their economics work and will sustain the country and they know that their generous deals that they have submitted are feasible.  They just have to get the Republicans to agree.

What is the Republicans Position?

Despite the necessity for tax hikes Republicans uniformly oppose any new taxes.  This is where coordination break down, various factions of the GOP are each concocting their increasing implausible schemes to propose on the Senate floor.  They cannot create a coalition policy that might be taken seriously.

The crisis has become a ammo for the campaigns of the Republican candidates.  Romney pleads for cutting and capping of federal spending. Bachmann has accused Obama of holding the government hostage to continue the government’s spending spree.  Just like the senators, there specifics disagree while their cause does not.

This will result in their demands being painfully denied.

What is the Probable Resolution?

The Republicans  will cave at the last second, giving away a deal that is much less favorable towards them than what they originally rejected.  Their “non new revenue” rhetoric has shown negatively in the public’s eye.  Polls heavily favor the Democrats, because they have appear reasonable and open to debate while the republicans have been demanding ridiculous cuts that will do more harm than good.  Without public backing or good economics their situation is unsustainable and they will have to cave.

In the, unthinkable, event that Republican leaders carry out this game of chicken till it finality,  the result will be their own self-destruction.  There will be a the initiation of the second dip in a double dip recession on August 2, 2011.  The investors on Wall Street will panic as their traditional stable government mishandled the largest debt in the world and endangers national security.  Social Security checks will stop coming, granny will start starving.  Millions of Section 8 tenants will be tossed out in the streets until the government checks come.  Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, with their millions of mortgages, shut down.   Protests will be held, riots will form.  We will all remember the event with a few days of anarchy until the Republican leadership can recover what little sense they have left.  Unless, of course, their million dollar mansions are burned down with them in it.

What is Public Debt and How Has it Accumulated?

Whenever a spending deficit in the government occurs, such as when finances for federal programs exceeds tax revenue, Congress covers the excess with bonds; these bonds are the source of public debt.  It is not in the best interests of governments to issue bonds unless pressed because every bond, even with inflation, pays off more money than it takes to buy one.  The government loses money on every bond.

Why Would the Government Have Any Public Debt?

Historically, only when clear and present threats to national security emerge are bonds issued.  These finance the war effort and allow the nation to persist.  This is fine and encouraged.  Issues arise first when public debt is unnecessarily accumulated and the danger of the national debt ceiling.  The debt ceiling is the amount set by Congress that can be withdrawn; defaulting or going over the national debt is unthinkable.  The consequences would freeze international investing, because nobody will be able to rely on the Federal Reserve.

Why is the Debt Hitting the Debt Ceiling?

Unnecessarily accumulation by fiscally inept leaders.  Our last president, George Bush exuberantly quarterbacked  two of the most long and expensive wars of our time while engaging in risky self promoting publicity stunts, such as the Bush Tax Cuts.  These terrible money hoarding policies dealt stole trillions of dollars from the majority of the American tax payers, funneling it to the richest Americans.  Collectively, these policies led us down the wrong path, creation short-term economic gains at great expense for those who suffer in the 2008 recession.  Financially, this is major defeat, comparable to Battle of Waterloo or the baseball curse that halts the Cubs from ever winning a World Series.  Politically, it bought him his second term.

Morale Gone: American Troops in Afghanistan Endangered More by Mental Disorders than Insurgents

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Afghanistan
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.

The PATRIOT Act (and the liberties it has stolen): America’s Anti-Terrorist Shield or Tool of Totalitarianism?

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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.

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