Posts Tagged ‘US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan’

Soldiers Who Just Say No

August 18, 2009

Jon Letman | Inter Press Service, Aug 18, 2009

KAUAI, Hawaii, 17 Aug (IPS) – Six months into Barack Obama’s presidency, the U.S. public’s display of antiwar sentiment has faded to barely a whisper.

Despite Obama’s vow to withdraw all combat forces from Iraq before September 2011, he plans to leave up to 50,000 troops in “training and advisory” roles. Meanwhile, nearly 130,000 troops remain in that country and more than 50,000 U.S. soldiers occupy Afghanistan, with up to an additional 18,000 approved for deployment this year.

So where is the resistance?

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Bush returns to West Point to defend doctrine of aggressive war

December 11, 2008
By Bill Van Auken  | World Socialist Web Site,  11 December 2008

President George W. Bush made a farewell appearance Tuesday at the US Military Academy at West Point, New York, delivering an unrepentant defense of the doctrine of preventive war that he unveiled there six-and-a-half years ago.

When Bush spoke to West Point’s graduating class of 2002, the World Socialist Web Site warned that his remarks signaled “a historic shift in US foreign policy that is pregnant with catastrophic implications for the people of the United States and the entire world.” The doctrine of “preemptive”—or, more accurately, aggressive—war that he outlined, the WSWS said, represented the “culmination of a protracted turn by the US ruling elite toward reliance on military force as the solution to all challenges it confronts on the world arena.” (See “Bush speaks at West Point: from containment to ‘rollback’“)

In the intervening years, these warnings have been fully confirmed. Since Bush spoke to the Army’s newly minted officers in 2002, at least 70 West Point graduates have been killed in the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan along with more than 4,750 other members of the US military.

For the countries where they were sent to fight, the doctrine produced catastrophes of historic proportions. In Iraq, the death toll has risen to well over a million. An estimated 2 million more have been wounded and at least 4 million have been forced to flee the country or turned into internal refugees. In short, nearly six years of war and occupation have left more than 20 percent of the nation’s pre-war population dead, maimed, expelled or homeless.

In Afghanistan, air strikes and ground operations, along with displacement, hunger and disease resulting from the war, have claimed the lives of tens of thousands of civilians while the disintegration of society under the impact of foreign occupation has left the country’s population facing a humanitarian catastrophe.

At home, Bush’s war policies have turned him into the most reviled president in US history with a popularity rating that has plumbed depths not even reached by Richard Nixon at the height of the Watergate crisis.

Yet, according to Bush’s speech Tuesday, the entire strategy has proved an immense success and constitutes his proud legacy.

He boasted of having “reshaped our approach to national security,” declaring that his administration had given “our national security professionals vital new tools like the Patriot Act and the ability to monitor terrorist communications.” These “tools” include torture, extraordinary rendition and secret prisons, the loathsome practices that turned the US into an international pariah. They also encompassed wholesale and illegal domestic spying and other methods associated with a police state.

Praising the results of his wars of aggression, Bush claimed to have “liberated 25 million Afghans,” but was forced to admit that more than seven years after the US invasion that “the battle is difficult.” This is an understatement, given reports that insurgents control up to 70 percent of the country.

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