Simon Jenkins fires a powerful salvo of scorn and spleen to mark the 10th anniversary of the imperial quagmire in Afghanistan. Among the glories and triumphs of this magnificent adventure, Jenkins notes the fact that international agencies are now calling for emergency aid to combat the imminent threat of mass starvation in the liberated land. This is what 10 years, thousands of deaths and trillions of dollars worth of "nation-building" have produced: a broken, brutalized, bankrupt society on the verge of murderous famine.
Sick drones flying over our headsSick drones dropping ten tons of leadNobody controls the ghostly machineHacked and cracked, they still make the sceneThe bombs go off, the babies are deadSick drones flying over our headsWar Drones Keep Flying Despite Computer Virus (NYT)
The president of the United States murdered two American citizens this morning. He had some nameless functionary -- who was sitting comfortably and safely at a computer console somewhere on a well-guarded, probably secret military base -- push a button. A missile was then fired from a robot drone buzzing maleovently in the sky over Yemen. The missile then murdered two American citizens who -- let it be carefully noted -- had not even been charged with a crime, much less tried and convicted in a court of law of any offense.
Our guest blogger today is Lev Tolstoy. The passages below are from Tolstoy’s Letters, Vol. II, 1880-1910, translated by R.F. Christian. First is an excerpt from a letter sent in December 1899 to Prince Grigory Mikhailovich Volkonsky, who had sent Tolstoy some pamphlets criticizing the Boer War:
The New York Times puzzles and puzzles until its puzzler is sore, but it still can't figure out the deep, deep mystery addressed by this recent story: "Libya Counts More Martyrs Than Bodies."The Paper of Record -- primus inter pares of the national press, shaper and sifter of the zeitgeist itself -- struggles for 27 whole paragraphs in its Sept. 16 story, trying to account somehow for the vast discrepancy between the "martyr count" claimed by Libya's NATO-nudged rebels and the actual number of bodies found so far in the wake of the conflict.Rebel leaders claim that the dastardly minions of Moamar Gadafy killed well nigh 50,000 innocent people in the dictator's paroxysm of berserkery to preserve his brutal rule. But, the Times notes, "in the country's morgues, the war dead registered from both sides in each area are mostly in the hundreds, not the thousands. And those who ware still missing total as few as 1,000, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross."The Times doesn't bother to add up the various regional body counts it throws around in the story, but a very rough estimate from this rigorous and detailed reporting would put the overall death total somewhere around 5,000 or so. Yet over and over, NATO's new nabobs in Libya declare that tens of thousands of people were killed by government forces in the conflict. (We know, of course, that not a single innocent person was killed by NATO bombs and missiles in the relentless barrage of humanitarian ordnance...
(UPDATED BELOW)For days, weeks on end, we have been bombarded with earnest disquisitions on the “meaning” of 9/11, its implications for America and the world ten years down the line. Oceans of newsprint and blizzards of pixels have been expended on this question. But in all the solemn piety and savvy punditry surrounding the commemoration of the attacks, almost nothing has been said about the place where the true “legacy of 9/11” can be seen in its stark quintessence: Somalia.That long-broken land is, in so many ways, a hell of our own creation. Year by year, stage by stage, American policy has helped drive Somalia ever deeper into the pit. Millions of people have been plunged into anguish; countless thousands have lost their lives. It seems unimaginable that the situation could get even worse – and yet that is precisely where we are today: on the precipice of yet another horrific drop into the abyss. By now it should go without saying that the Nobel Peace Laureate in the White House has continued, entrenched and expanded his predecessor's failed and corrupt policies in Somalia, as he has in so many parts of the degraded American imperium. And it is in Somalia that our serious, savvy bipartisan elite -- and their innumerable enablers on both sides of the political fence -- are building up what may turn out to be the mother of all blowbacks: generations of implacable hatred sprung from unfathomable suffering, inflicted on innocent people by vicious warlords in the pay of...
Five years ago, I wrote several articles about a horrific massacre of Iraqi civilians in Ishaqi. Credible evidence and eyewitness testimony indicated that American soldiers, in the course of a raid, had executed unarmed civilians -- including several small children -- then called in an airstrike to destroy the house, and the evidence of these murders.At the time, these articles were criticized by some for putting the "worst case" construction on the evidence. After all, in the "fog of war" -- that clapped-out rhetorical trope which has hidden a multitude of sins down through the years -- who could know what really happened? Yeah, some mistakes might or might not have been made -- crossfire, collateral damage, etc. -- but surely no one could believe that American soldiers would deliberately do such a thing. My take -- and that of this blog's co-founder, Rich Kastelein, who put together a devastating flash film on the incident -- was just the usual overblown, knee-jerk, anti-war hissy fit, etc.But thanks to a recent WikiLeaks revelation, we now know that at least two other groups of knee-jerk, anti-war freaks were also pursuing the "worst-case" interpretation of the massacre: UN investigators, who delivered a detailed report on the evidence to the American occupation forces -- and the invaders themselves. It turns out that American authorities regarded the UN evidence very seriously; so seriously that they took immediate, decisive action .... to cover it all up.Publicly, of...
"Up over my head, nothing but clouds of blood" -- Bob Dylan, "Cold Irons Bound"
Note: First things first. Arthur Silber is in low water. He needs your help. In a media world flooded with lies and ignorance, he is a rare and precious voice of truth. Please, go to his site and help him, if you can.It seems the Freedom Fighters in Libya are upholding one of the most venerable historical traditions of their American mentors: killing black men. The Independent reports:
I was going to write about the NATO bombing of Sirte, where in order "protect civilians" from the now non-existent regime of Moamar Gadafy, the humanitarian lords of the West are now killing civilians at the behest of the new, non-elected regime of the murky and murderous "Transitional National Council."But as I sat down to the keyboard, I saw that Craig Murray was already on the case. Murray, you'll recall, was the courageous UK ambassador to Uzbekistan who dared expose the horrific tortures being practiced by the "friendly" regime there, which was acting as one of the many foreign proxies for the Anglo-American "war on terror." For his pains, he was dismissed, demonized, marginalized. (And accused at one point of being "psychologically disturbed;" why else would anyone oppose the benevolent policies of our humanitarian honchos?) Here is his quick take on the attack on Sirte: