Posts Tagged ‘Iraq and Afghanistan’

Engelhardt: Yes, We Could… Get Out!

April 26, 2010

Why We Won’t Leave Afghanistan or Iraq

By Tom Engelhardt, ZNet, April 26,  2010
Source: TomDispatch
Tom Engelhardt’s ZSpace Page

Yes, we could.  No kidding.  We really could withdraw our massive armies, now close to 200,000 troops combined, from Afghanistan and Iraq (and that’s not even counting our similarly large stealth army of private contractors, which helps keep the true size of our double occupations in the shadows).  We could undoubtedly withdraw them all reasonably quickly and reasonably painlessly.

Not that you would know it from listening to the debates in Washington or catching the mainstream news.  There, withdrawal, when discussed at all, seems like an undertaking beyond the waking imagination.  In Iraq alone, all those bases to dismantle and millions of pieces of equipment to send home in a draw-down operation worthy of years of intensive effort, the sort of thing that makes the desperate British evacuation from Dunkirk in World War II look like a Sunday stroll in the park.  And that’s only the technical side of the matter.

Continues >>

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Obama’s Promises and Policies

November 4, 2009

George Barnsby, The Barnsby Blog No. 966, Nov 4, 2009

Once again I have turned to the Website of the only man who can save the world, Barack Obama who forty days ago amazed and delighted the world with his statement that he would abolish all nuclear weapons, but who since has reneged on that promise and today keeps the most warlike company of those who want to conquer Iraq and Afghanistan  and other places for their oil, and precious metals while puppet governments in Asia and elsewhere are quite willing to give their assets to the Western Neo-Coms, but find it necessary to deceive their own people and the rest of the world by fulsome false promises that they are not serving their own material interests but are patriots serving the interests of their countries.

In the meantime Obama has his own problems with his ‘allies’ notably NATO and the European Union and the basic trio of Nuclear Maniacs – Bush, Blair and Brown are now desperately trying to defy the Human Rights authorities who are chasing them for Crimes against Humanity and they will eventually suffer the same fate as did the Nazi genocidists at Nuremburg in 1946.

Continues >>

America’s Imperial Wars: We Need to See the Horrors

April 11, 2009

By Dave Lindorff | Counterpunch, April 10 – 12, 2009

When I was a 17-year-old kid in my senior year of high school, I didn’t think much about Vietnam. It was 1967, the war was raging, but I didn’t personally know anyone who was over there, Tet hadn’t happened yet. If anything, the excitement of jungle warfare attracted my interest more than anything (I had a .22 cal rifle, and liked to go off in the woods and shoot at things, often, I’ll admit, imagining it was an armed enemy.)

But then I had to do a major project in my humanities program and I chose the Vietnam War. As I started researching this paper, which was supposed to be a multi-media presentation, I ran across a series of photos of civilian victims of American napalm bombing. These victims, often, were women and children—even babies.

The project opened my eyes to something that had never occurred to me: my country’s army was killing civilians. And it wasn’t just killing them. It was killing them, and maiming them, in ways that were almost unimaginable in their horror: napalm, phosphorus, anti-personnel bombs that threw out spinning flechettes that ripped through the flesh like tiny buzz saws. I learned that scientists like what I at the time wanted to become were actually working on projects to make these weapons even more lethal, for example trying to make napalm more sticky so it would burn longer on exposed flesh.

By the time I had finished my project, I had actively joined the anti-war movement, and later that year, when I turned 18 and had to register for the draft, I made the decision that no way was I going to allow myself to participate in that war.

A key reason my—and millions of other Americans’–eyes were opened to what the US was up to in Indochina was that the media at that time, at least by 1967, had begun to show Americans the reality of that war. I didn’t have to look too hard to find the photos of napalm victims, or to read about the true nature of the weapons that our forces were using.

Today, while the internet makes it possible to find similar information about the conflicts in the world in which the US is participating, either as primary combatant or as the chief provider of arms, as in Gaza, one actually has to make a concerted effort to look for them. The corporate media which provide the information that most Americans simply receive passively on the evening news or at breakfast over coffee carefully avoid showing us most of the graphic horror inflicted by our military machine.

We may read the cold fact that the US military, after initial denials, admits that its forces killed not four enemy combatants in an assault on a house in Afghanistan, but rather five civilians—including a man, a female teacher, a 10-year-old girl, a 15-year-old boy and a tiny baby.  But we don’t see pictures of their shattered bodies, no doubt shredded by the high-powered automatic rifles typically used by American forces.

We may read about wedding parties that are bombed by American forces—something that has happened with some frequency in both Iraq and Afghanistan– where the death toll is tallied in dozens, but we are, as a rule, not provided with photos that would likely show bodies torn apart by anti-personnel bombs—a favored weapon for such attacks on groups of supposed enemy “fighters.” (A giveaway that such weapons are being used is a typically high death count with only a few wounded.)

Obviously one reason for this is that the US military no longer gives US journalists, including photo journalists, free reign on the battlefield. Those who travel with troops are under the control of those troops and generally aren’t allowed to photograph the scenes of devastation, and sites of such “mishaps” are generally ruled off limits until the evidence has been cleared away.

But another reason is that the media themselves sanitize their pages and their broadcasts. It isn’t just American dead that we don’t get to see. It’s the civilian dead—at least if our guys do it.  We are not spared gruesome images following attacks on civilians by Iraqi insurgent groups, or by Taliban forces in Afghanistan. But we don’t get the same kind of photos when it’s our forces doing the slaughtering. Because often the photos and video images do exist—taken by foreign reporters who take the risk of going where the US military doesn’t want them.

No wonder that even today, most Americans oppose the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan not because of sympathy with the long-suffering peoples of those two lands, but because of the hardships faced by our own forces, and the financial cost of the two wars.

For some real information on the horror that is being perpetrated on one of the poorest countries in the world by the greatest military power the world has ever known, check out the excellent work by Professor Marc Herold at the University of New Hampshire (http://cursor.org/ and http://www.rawa.org/).

Dave Lindorff is a Philadelphia-based journalist and columnist. His latest book is “The Case for Impeachment” (St. Martin’s Press, 2006 and now available in paperback). He can be reached at dlindorff@mindspring.com

Top U.N. Official Accuses U.S. of Inhuman ‘Atrocities’ in Iraq, Afghanistan

March 7, 2009

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

A top U.N. official accused the United States of committing inhuman “atrocities” in Iraq and Afghanistan during a speech Wednesday to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva.

“The aggressions against Iraq and Afghanistan and their occupations constitute atrocities that must be condemned and repudiated by all who believe in the rule of law in international relations,” said U.N. General Assembly President Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann.

Click here to see the speech.

D’Escoto claimed that U.S. actions have directly led to more than a million Iraqi civilian deaths since 2003, a vastly inflated figure that does not correspond with the U.N.’s own estimates.

The U.N.’s health and medical agency, the World Health Organization, says 151,000 Iraqis have died since the 2003 invasion. IraqBodyCount.org puts the death toll between 90,000- 99,245.

D’Escoto’s fiery speech came on the day the Obama administration decided to take up observer status on the Human Rights Council, which the Bush administration had boycotted because it was unable to crack down on despots and human rights abuses.

D’Escoto urged the Council to put the human rights situation in Iraq on its agenda, accusing the U.S. of war crimes and a series of human rights violations. “These must be addressed to bring an end to the scandalous present impunity,” he said.

He also called on the U.S. to free five Cuban nationals being held in U.S. prisons. The group was convicted in a Miami court in 2001 on a range of charges including lying about their identities, trying to obtain U.S. military secrets and spying on Cuban exile groups.

D’Escoto, once the foreign minister for the Communist Sandinista government of Nicaragua, called the five “heroes” being held in “preposterous conditions.”

D’Escoto said he was hopeful that the Obama administration would address his concerns and bring change to American policies concerning the imprisoned Cubans.

“The immediate ex-incarceration of the five Cuban heroes would help strengthen our confidence that the promised change is for real,” he said.

FOX News’ Ben Evansky contributed to this report.

War comes home to Britain

March 6, 2009

By Pilger, John | ZSpace, March 6, 2009

John Pilger’s ZSpace Page

Freedom is being lost in Britain. The land of Magna Carta is now the land of secret gagging orders, secret trials and imprisonment. The government will soon know about every phone call, every email, every text message. Police can willfully shoot to death an innocent man, lie and expect to get away with it. Whole communities now fear the state. The foreign secretary routinely covers up allegations of torture; the justice secretary routinely prevents the release of critical cabinet minutes taken when Iraq was illegally invaded. The litany is cursory; there is much more.

Indeed, there is so much more that the erosion of liberal freedoms is symptomatic of an evolved criminal state.  The haven for Russian oligarchs, together with corruption of the tax and banking systems and of once-admired public services such as the Post Office, is one side of the coin; the other is the invisible carnage of failed colonial wars. Historically, the pattern is familiar. As the colonial crimes in Algeria, Vietnam and Afghanistan blew back to their perpetrators, France, the United States and the Soviet Union, so the cancerous effects of Britain’s cynicism in Iraq and Afghanistan have come home.

The most obvious example is the bombing atrocities in London on 7 July 2005; no one in the British intelligence mandarinate doubts these were a gift of Blair.  “Terrorism” describes only the few acts of individuals and groups, not the constant, industrial violence of great powers. Suppressing this truth is left to the credible media. On 27 February, the Guardian’s Washington correspondent, Ewen MacAskill, in reporting President Obama’s statement that America was finally leaving Iraq, as if it were fact, wrote: “For Iraq, the death toll is unknown, in the tens of thousands, victims of the war, a nationalist uprising, sectarian in-fighting and jihadists attracted by the US presence.”  Thus, the Anglo-American invaders are merely a “presence” and not directly responsible for the “unknown” number of Iraqi deaths. Such contortion of intellect is impressive.

In January last year, a report by the respected Opinion Research Business (ORB) revised an earlier assessment of deaths in Iraq to 1,033,000. This followed an exhaustive, peer-reviewed study in 2006 by the world-renowned John Hopkins School of Public Health in the US, published in The Lancet, which found that 655,000 Iraqis had died as a result of the invasion. US and British officials immediately dismissed the report as “flawed” – a deliberate deception. Foreign Office papers obtained under Freedom of Information disclose a memo written by the government’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Roy Anderson, in which he praised The Lancet report, describing it as “robust and employs methods that are regarded as close to ‘best practice’ given [the conditions] in Iraq.” An adviser to the prime minister commented:  “The survey methodology used here cannot be rubbished, it is a tried and tested way of measuring mortality in conflict zones”. Speaking a few days later, a Foreign Office minister, Lord Triesman, said, “The way in which data are extrapolated from samples to a general outcome is a matter of deep concern.”

The episode exemplifies the scale and deception of this state crime. Les Roberts, co-author of the Lancet study, has since argued that Britain and America might have caused in Iraq “an episode more deadly than the Rwandan genocide”. This is not news. Neither is it a critical reference in the freedoms campaign organised by the Observer columnist Henry Porter. At a conference in London on 28 February, Lord Goldsmith, Blair’s attorney-general, who notoriously changed his mind and advised the government the invasion was legal, when it wasn’t, was a speaker for freedom. So was Timothy Garton Ash, a “liberal interventionist”. On 9 April, 2003, shortly after the slaughter had begun in Iraq, a euphoric Garton Ash wrote in the Guardian: “America has never been the Great Satan. It has sometimes been the Great Gatsby: ‘They were careless people, Tom and Daisy – they smashed up things …”. One of Britain’s jobs “is to keep reminding Tom and Daisy that they now have promises to keep”. Less frivolously, he lauded Blair for his “strong Gladstonian instincts for humanitarian intervention” and repeated the government’s propaganda about Saddam Hussein. In 2006, he wrote: “Now we face the next big test of the west after Iraq: Iran.”  (I have italicized we). This also adheres precisely to the propaganda; David Milliband has declared Iran a “threat” in preparation for possibly the next war.

Like so many of New Labour’s Tonier-than-thou squad, Henry Porter celebrated Blair as an almost mystical politician who “presents himself as a harmoniser for all the opposing interests in British life, a conciliator of class differences and tribal antipathies, synthesiser of opposing beliefs”. Porter dismissed as “demonic nonsense” all analysis of the 9/11 attacks that suggested there were specific causes: the consequences of violent actions taken by the powerful in the Middle East. Such thinking, he wrote, “exactly matches the views of Osma bin Laden … with America’s haters, that’s all there is – hatred”. This, of course, was Blair’s view.

Freedoms are being lost in Britain because of the rapid growth of the “national security state”. This form of militarism was imported from the United States by New Labour. Totalitarian in essence, it relies upon fear mongering to entrench the executive with venal legal mechanisms that progressively diminish democracy and justice. “Security” is all, as is propaganda promoting rapacious colonial wars, even as honest mistakes. Take away this propaganda, and the wars are exposed for what they are, and fear evaporates.  Take away the obeisance of many in Britain’s liberal elite to American power and you demote a profound colonial and crusader mentality that covers for epic criminals like Blair. Prosecute these criminals and change the system that breeds them and you have freedom.

www.johnpilger.com

Radical writer Dr George Barnsby at 90

February 14, 2009

Nasir Khan

The famous anti-racist, anti-war activist, a historian of the working class movement and revolutionary politics Dr George Barnsby turned 90 on January 29, 2009. To celebrate the occasion the Barnsby family organised a memorable birthday party in which more than one hundred guests took part.

The site of the event was Wolverhampton, now a thriving multicultural and ethnically diverse city in the Midlands, where once, in 1968, British Tory leader Enoch Powell had made his well-known apocalyptic ‘rivers of blood’ speech, in which he had warned the danger Britain faced because of the coming into Britain of non-white immigrants from the former British colonies. But the subsequent history of race relations in Wolverhampton has shown that the alarmist forebodings of the prophet of doom and racist reactionary politician were false.

The main reason for rejecting what Enoch Powell stood for that also had certain amount of backing in some sections of the white population was due to the incessant work of local politicians and workers, both from the white and non-white communities for creating a positive attitude towards the race issue and to cultivate a better understanding between the people of different ethnic backgrounds. As a result, we see that Wolverhampton emerged as a multicultural city we can all be proud of. Among those who contributed much to such a positive development the work of George Barnsby has a special significance. He was also able to mobilize support for his work with the assistance of many non-racist people and organizations.

From Norway, I had the honour to participate in the celebrations of my close comrade and friend. It was my first face-to-face meeting with him. The comradely affection and esteem he extended towards me on the occasion was something of an overwhelming experience for me. Our comradeship was very deep. Ever since our incidental contact that started about four years ago, I realised that ideologically and politically both of us were working on the same lines having a common world-outlook. In our own ways, both of us have been busy offering our views and showing our concerns through our websites.

Dr Barnsby consistently exposed the role of President Bush and his British ‘poodle’ Tony Blair in starting the genocidal wars of aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan as well their active support to the Zionist rulers of Israel to crush and destroy the people of Palestine. His expertise in understanding the international affairs as a class conscious writer and his revolutionary zeal in advancing the cause of peace and human rights earn him a special place of distinction among radical writers. I feel greatly honoured to have seen and talked to him and wish him many happy and active years in the future. His website (The Barnsby Blog: <http://gbpeopleslibrary.co.uk/blog/>) provides us with a necessary corrective to what the main stream media offer and I recommend it to our readers.

Imperialist antagonisms, American Military Bases and the Movement Against Them

February 11, 2009

International League of Peoples’ Struggle

by Manolis Arkolakis
Deputy Chairperson, ILPS

In September 2003, at the International Meeting Against Military Bases, organized in the island of Crete in Greece by ILPS, the participants concluded that peoples’ struggle against imperialism and military bases is necessary as part of the general strategy of the international people’s movement. It is evidence today that the global crisis is deepening and together with the intensification of antagonisms between imperialists contribute in the further exploitation and oppression of the toiling masses. State terrorism as well as police and army suppression have become the only way for the various governments to control peoples’ discontent.

Although the big anti-war demonstrations in Europe and North America against the American aggression in Iraq have stopped, we see that people’s resistance in Iraq and Afghanistan continues and is growing exposing the limits of the biggest military machinery ever seen in the world. Despite the imperialists plans and roadmaps, Iraq is as far from pacification as ever while the escalation of war in Afghanistan cannot be kept secret any more. Recently, in NATO Summit in Bucharest, Americans insisted in NATO expansion eastwards, accepting Croatia and Albania as members and promoting Ukraine and Georgia as part of the next wave. The determined French and German reaction against that plan shows the open antagonism inside NATO alliance. It is obvious that the formation of the protectorate of Kosovo, supposedly as a new independent state, will make the Balkans again a field of imperialist rivalries.

More than four thousands American soldiers dead in Iraq is an indication of the US failure to impose their hegemony. Therefore American imperialists adopt new policies, more dangerous, to bring catastrophe to peoples.

Let’s see the main points of this imperialist aggression and how leads humanity to new adventures:

The USA announced the necessity of antimissile shield in Eastern Europe, supposedly to prevent an Iranian attack. Immediately, Poland and Czech Republic accepted and offered the necessary facilities for the new military bases. It is more than obvious that Russia could not accept it without reaction. Putin made it clear that new missiles systems will be developed regarding the new NATO bases as the main threat. The new Russian bourgeoisie feel politically and economically strong enough to face the scenario of a Cold War. As if it had ever ended.

The intensification of imperialist antagonisms in Europe, for example NATO expansion eastwards, new statelets-protectorates prove that the USA want to stabilize their hegemony in the Western Block. Some European states though are not willing to give up their own interests and react against such a development.

Russia use the gas pipelines, its huge resources and adopts a more dynamic strategy, not only on economic level, in order to change correlations and control again its backyard.

Imperialists and Zionists carry on the genocide of the Palestinian people. Palestinian liberation struggle as well as the tensions in other Arab countries create an explosive situation in the Middle East.

In Latin America, Europe, Africa, Asia, imperialists manipulate nationalism, real or unreal differences between ethnic groups, the phantom of terrorism, on behalf of democratic rights, even in defence of environment in order to protect their own interests. Without hesitation they invade countries, redraw borders, create new statelets controlled easily economically and militarily and finally drive millions of desperate people to immigration.

The US imperialists try to keep Russia confined inside its borders and want to control the pipelines in Black Sea. For that reason, they have imposed their political will and military presence in Central Europe and the Balkans. According to this policy, the Balkans are spread with protectorates like Kosovo and Republic of Macedonia, full of military troops. Keep in mind please that the French chief general of Euro-army expressed the EU indention to send also European troops in the region, while Russians signed new contracts with Serbia, Bulgaria and Greece. In other words, imperialist antagonisms in full development.

New military bases spread around the world

According to above geopolitical situation, the strategic target of US imperialism is the global domination (or just hegemony, as some put it after US failure in Iraq). Therefore the US Army has to reconsider the new priorities for military presence in particular countries all over the world. According to media reports, American military premises are over 580,000 on a land of 120,000 km². There are 823 important military bases outside USA, most of them in Germany (287), Japan (130) and South Korea (106).

Military bases have played decisive role in US-NATO expansion, the control and submission of countries and peoples, imposing hegemonic position amongst imperialists. Especially in Europe, during the war which split up Yugoslavia, imperialists used mainly their military bases in Italy and Greece. After the war, the first concern for Americans was the creation of a new base for their own troops. In the borders of Kosovo and Republic of Macedonia 10,000 arcs have been occupied for the creation of the biggest US military base, called Boldsteel. According to various reports, the specific base will control 350 km and 75 bridges. Spread rumours say that Americans call it Little Guadànamo.

Another strategic plan demands the move of various bases from Germany and Italy to Eastern European countries as an apparent indication of NATO expansion. Bulgarian government accepted the presence of 5,000 American soldiers on Bulgarian soil. They’ll move there no later than October 2008. Czech Republic and Poland gave permission for the installation of the new anti-missile system. Romania, as a new NATO member, offered its ports for the further control of Black Sea, while the air-base Papa in Hungary will be centre of the new NATO organization responsible for aviation transportation.

Americans came to stay in the Balkans and the Black Sea region. Boldsteel camp in Kosovo will be also the guardian of the new American pipeline AMBO (from Bulgaria to Adriatic Sea). For the US government, military bases guarantee hegemonic position amongst imperialists, try to prevent people’s struggles for national liberation and democratic rights.

Black Sea is the new field of antagonism for imperialists: for strategic reasons as well as for the control of pipelines and gas production. US and NATO want to set up a new base in Crimea, in order to prevent any deployment of the Russian Navy. Except the Russian reaction, it is the struggle of the Ukrainian people that prevents such an escalation.

US-NATO military bases in Greece, a typical case

It is like a ritual, every new US ambassador appointed in Athens, before anything else, has to visit the Souda Bay US military base in Crete, the biggest Greek island in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. It is a gesture to express how significance is the specific port and military base for the US interests in Middle East and Eastern Europe. At the same time, he provocatively demands the local authorities to show openly their complete subjugation. The final goal is obviously to eliminate people’s determination and stop protesting against the continuation of the US military presence. Local authorities would be the agent-provocateur who argue that local prosperity and development depends on the presence of thousands of soldiers while the anti-war, anti-bases movement is responsible for the increasing poverty.

Isn’t that telling that Stekheart, the new US ambassador in Greece, served before in Iraq? With such an experience, in January 2008 he went to Crete and arrogantly in front of local politicians and entrepreneurs demanded their help for changing people’s anti-imperialist sentiments, smashing the organized resistance of the movement. In his own words, Cretans have to welcome the US troops because they spend money. In other words, the biggest Greek island has to become a huge brothel and this is called economic perspective against crisis and unemployment. Perhaps it is needless to say the bases are responsible for the actual environmental destruction of the region, mainly and most criminally by nuclear pollution. Eastern Crete is the region with the highest percentage of cancers related to nuclear contamination.

You must keep in mind also, that the Greek territories are very important for US and NATO military operations in the Balkans, Palestine and Lebanon as well as in Iraq and Red Sea. There are at least five known US and NATO military bases and camps and their role in the invasion on Iraq are well known, while recently it came out the unanswered question about their use for torture of prisoners from Iraq and Afghanistan and as intermediate stations for transfers to Guadànamo.

Global anti-bases, anti-imperialist movement

The anti-bases, anti-imperialist movement, all these years has given small and big battles against imperialist raids, against the use of various regions as military bases. It is true that after the mass movement in 2003, against the US invasion in Iraq, the situation looks like a retreat, mainly in Europe. Besides the weakness of the real left organized forces that would give to the anti-war movement refreshing perspective and enduring activities, we cannot underestimate the dominant concept within the anti-global movement trying to beautify the European Union and its supposed role as a “peace force”. A fallacy exposed by the European troops themselves involved in the occupation of Afghanistan. However, a new development seems to take place in the former Eastern European countries. New, though weak at the moment, movements appeared against the installation of US-NATO military bases, despite the fact that their governments are competing each other in obedience and subjugation. These movements are facing fierce state repression like in Crimea, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, and Rumania (during the recent NATO summit in Bucharest, the basic democratic rights of speech and protest disappeared).

From Eastern Europe to South Korea, from the Philippines to Latin America, peoples either spontaneously or organised, resist against war and military occupation as imposed by the presence of US-NATO military bases. The struggle against them, against imperialism and war is a life or death struggle for the peoples and that’s why the progressive, left, and revolutionary forces must lead this struggle. They must relate this struggle with the struggle for the defence of labour and democratic rights. They must hold the fierce attacks of the capitalist-imperialist system. The aggravation of the inter-imperialist rivalries, particularly in the Balkans, brings new dangers for the peoples in the region. In order to impose their domination, imperialists use and spread among the peoples the viral ideology of chauvinism and racism. In contrast, we should develop a broad movement against imperialism and war, against further installation of US-NATO military bases fighting for their closure. Imperialists are redrawing borders with peoples’ blood and the peoples have no other option than paving the way of mass struggle.

June 2008

Paper presented in Third International Assembly of ILPS in Hong Kong.

Anti-fascist and anti-war activist Dr George Barnsby at 90

February 1, 2009

Nasir Khan

The famous anti-racist, anti-war activist, a historian of the working class movement and revolutionary politics Dr George Barnsby turned 90 on January 29, 2009. To celebrate the occasion the Barnsby family organised a memorable birthday party in which more than one hundred guests took part.

The site of the event was Wolverhampton, now a thriving multicultural and ethnically diverse city in the Midlands, where once, in 1968, British Tory leader Enoch Powell had made his well-known apocalyptic ‘rivers of blood’ speech, in which he had warned the danger Britain faced because of the coming into Britain of non-white immigrants from the former British colonies. But the subsequent history of race relations in Wolverhampton has shown that the alarmist forebodings of the prophet of doom and racist reactionary politician were false.

The main reason for rejecting what Enoch Powell stood for that also had certain amount of backing in some sections of the white population was due to the incessant work of local politicians and workers, both from the white and non-white communities for creating a positive attitude towards the race issue and to cultivate a better understanding between the people of different ethnic backgrounds. As a result, we see that Wolverhampton emerged as a multicultural city we can all be proud of. Among those who contributed much to such a positive development the work of George Barnsby has a special significance. He was also able to mobilize support for his work with the assistance of many non-racist people and organizations.

From Norway, I had the honour to participate in the celebrations of my close comrade and friend. It was my first face-to-face meeting with him. The comradely affection and esteem he extended towards me on the occasion was something of an overwhelming experience for me. Our comradeship was very deep. Ever since our incidental contact that started about four years ago, I realised that ideologically and politically both of us were working on the same lines having a common world-outlook. In our own ways, both of us have been busy offering our views and showing our concerns through our websites.

Dr Barnsby consistently exposed the role of President Bush and his British ‘poodle’ Tony Blair in starting the genocidal wars of aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan as well their active support to the Zionist rulers of Israel to crush and destroy the people of Palestine. His expertise in understanding the international affairs as a class conscious writer and his revolutionary zeal in advancing the cause of peace and human rights earn him a special place of distinction among radical writers. I feel greatly honoured to have seen and talked to him and wish him many happy and active years in the future. His website (The Barnsby Blog: <http://gbpeopleslibrary.co.uk/blog/>) provides us with a necessary corrective to what the main stream media offer and I recommend it to our readers.

Is Perpetual War Our Future?

August 17, 2008

Learning the Wrong Lessons from the Bush Era

By Andrew Bacevich | ZNet, August 16, 2008

To appreciate the full extent of the military crisis into which the United States has been plunged requires understanding what the Iraq War and, to a lesser extent, the Afghan War have to teach. These two conflicts, along with the attacks of September 11, 2001, will form the centerpiece of George W. Bush’s legacy. Their lessons ought to constitute the basis of a new, more realistic military policy.

In some respects, the effort to divine those lessons is well under way, spurred by critics of President Bush’s policies on the left and the right as well as by reform-minded members of the officer corps. Broadly speaking, this effort has thus far yielded three distinct conclusions. Whether taken singly or together, they invert the post-Cold War military illusions that provided the foundation for the president’s Global War on Terror. In exchange for these received illusions, they propound new ones, which are equally misguided. Thus far, that is, the lessons drawn from America’s post-9/11 military experience are the wrong ones.

According to the first lesson, the armed services — and above all the Army — need to recognize that the challenges posed by Iraq and Afghanistan define not only the military’s present but also its future, the “next war,” as enthusiasts like to say. Rooting out insurgents, nation-building, training and advising “host nation” forces, population security and control, winning hearts and minds — these promise to be ongoing priorities, preoccupying U.S. troops for decades to come, all across the Islamic world.

Rather than brief interventions ending in decisive victory, sustained presence will be the norm. Large-scale conventional conflict like 1991’s Operation Desert Storm becomes the least likely contingency. The future will be one of small wars, expected to be frequent, protracted, perhaps perpetual.

Although advanced technology will retain an important place in such conflicts, it will not be decisive. Wherever possible, the warrior will rely on “nonkinetic” methods, functioning as diplomat, mediator, and relief worker. No doubt American soldiers will engage in combat, but, drawing on the latest findings of social science, they will also demonstrate cultural sensitivity, not to speak of mastering local languages and customs. As Secretary of Defense Robert Gates put it in October 2007, “Reviving public services, rebuilding infrastructure and promoting good governance” had now become soldiers’ business. “All these so-called nontraditional capabilities have moved into the mainstream of military thinking, planning, and strategy — where they must stay.”

This prospect implies a rigorous integration of military action with political purpose. Hard power and soft power will merge. The soldier on the ground will serve as both cop and social worker. This prospect also implies shedding the sort of utopian expectations that produced so much confident talk of “transformation,” “shock-and-awe,” and “networkcentric warfare” — all of which had tended to segregate war and politics into separate compartments.

Local conditions will dictate technique, dooming the Pentagon’s effort to devise a single preconceived, technologically determined template applicable across the entire spectrum of conflict. When it comes to low-intensity wars, the armed services will embrace a style owing less to the traditions of the Civil War, World War II, or even Gulf War I than to the nearly forgotten American experiences in the Philippines after 1898 and in Central America during the 1920s. Instead of looking for inspiration at the campaigns of U. S. Grant, George Patton, or H. Norman Schwarzkopf, officers will study postwar British and French involvement in places like Palestine and Malaya, Indochina and Algeria.

Continued . . .


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