Posts Tagged ‘war in Afghanistan’

Did God speak to the former US President G. W. Bush? Some reflections

August 8, 2015

Nasir Khan, August 8, 2015

“God speaks through me. Without that, I couldn’t do my job.”
— George W. Bush, quoted in Lancaster New Era, July 16, 2004

Such was the claim of the former US President. He said this after the US armed forces had invaded and occupied two large countries, Afghanistan and Iraq. At that time, he was the most powerful leader of the mighty militarist superpower as well as a ‘divinely’ elevated person because God communicated with him. To my knowledge, in modern history we do not find another instance when a mortal man and the immortal God joined forces for U.S. to unleash two destructive wars! However, the implications of his pronouncements had a direct bearing on his political stature and his policies. Even though, he made his policies and issued his executive orders with the help of his close neoconservative advisers and secretaries but in doing so he was doing God’s work. God was speaking through him; therefore, God mandated whatever he did. God had chosen the right man to do His work!

If we accept the claims of divine guidance, for the sake of argument, that he, in fact, made on many times, then we can point to the results he achieved by his genocidal wars. Under his leadership, the US armed forces invaded and occupied Afghanistan and Iraq in the most brutal way. They killed hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis and Afghans who had no quarrel with the people of the United States or posed any threat to the global U.S. hegemony and power. The destruction of Iraq was systematic. The Bush administration undertook the destruction of Iraqi state and its infrastructure as a necessary step to imposing the imperial diktat in the Middle East. It uprooted the social and administrative structure of Iraq and replaced it with sectarian puppet regimes that followed the orders of Washington and the Pentagon.

To make the imperial take-over easy and to neutralise any resistance to the new geopolitical order in this vast and oil-rich country, imperial masters used sectarian discord of the population as a convenient tool. How did it matter to Bush if Sunni and Shia turned against each other and started terrorist violence against their own people – the people of Iraq? Religious fanatics and miscreants were free to weaken Iraq while the occupiers could have an easy task to control the country and its resources. Thus, the US occupation could continue with greater ease while the country was drenched in bloodshed and mayhem that is still going on.

Through his destructive policies in the occupied Iraq, the Bush administration destabilised the whole region and played with the lives of millions of Iraqis by reducing them to destitution, poverty, homelessness and helplessness. The rampant killings in Iraq have claimed the lives of uncountable victims. In the first 7 years of US occupation, about 1.3 million Iraqi died. The main source of this incredible catastrophe that engulfed Iraq in 2003 was the US invasion. The ultimate responsibility of the present cycle of violence and bloodshed remains with Mr Bush.

Mr Bush’s military invasion and occupation of Afghanistan resulted in large-scale deaths of Afghans. The brutal treatment of the prisoners of war and the innocent victims in the process of occupying Afghanistan is a dark chapter in the history of twenty-first century. The occupying power violated the Geneva Conventions regarding the treatment of prisoners of war, international humanitarian conventions and all norms of international law. All this happened because God said to Bush to do so! In fact, this is a preposterous assertion that even Al Capone would not have resorted to! Let us take a common sense view of his claim and its consequences. What that means is that the former president is not responsible for the wars and war crimes but someone else is! In legal terms, he is implying that God is vicariously responsible for his wars and war crimes. In this way, he absolves himself of any responsibility for his actions and his policies as the head of US Government! A very convenient but cheap method to deceive the world, no doubt!

There is no need for us to enter into any lengthy theological discourse on God and his attributes. It is common knowledge that most believers see God as a kind, merciful and loving power. For having such attributes, believers hold Him in high respect and praise Him. It is hard to think that the Heavenly Father, as Christians call God, could have asked or encouraged Mr Bush to start major wars of aggression and commit the most heinous crimes against other weaker nations in this century. In brief, to impute such designs to God or because of fulfilling a mission from God is a reprehensible act on the part of Mr Bush. In the eyes of any sincere believers, he is maligning God in a vicious way if he believes in Him as he seemingly professes to do.

Alternatively, what if he really believed in what he asserted about God? That is something, which we can look at cursorily from a legal point of view. In criminal law, the actions of the alleged offenders are primarily judged for the mens rea – that is, their state of mind and intentions when they committed some indictable offence. In some cases, they are entitled to the defence of diminished responsibility or diminished capacity if their mental condition was impaired in such a way that they did not fully understand what they did. If such a defence is successful, the accused are given mitigated sentences or sent for medical treatment, depending on the gravity of offences involved. In an old case of acute insanity, one person beheaded a sleeping man just to see what he would do when woke up in the morning but didn’t find his head!

There are many cases when people hear sounds or messages from some unknown sources exhorting them to do something that may amount to a criminal offence. A hallucination is a perception that is not based on objective reality. It is very much a subjective condition of mind and in this condition, people may see or visualise things that having nothing to do with reality. In this age, we come across cases when some people say they have heard God or God has given them some message. If Mr Bush is sincere in his claims about God speaking to him, then that is something for which only the professional psychologists can offer their expert views.

In case  a judicial miracle (which I don’t see taking place!) takes place and the world sees the former US president, G.W. Bush, being prosecuted for his wars and the alleged war crimes in a court of law then the question of hallucinations would certainly be an issue in any legal process. However, facts point to a different direction: That he acted with deliberation and premeditation in pursuing his policies and his destructive wars.

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Please Mr. President! Some Truth About Afghanistan

December 23, 2010

Eric Margolis, The Huffington Post, Dec 20, 2010

After nine years of war in Afghanistan, costing over $100 billion in taxpayer money and 700 American lives, the full truth about this murky conflict remains elusive.

The government and media have colluded to paint the picture of a noble, heroic, flag-waving American enterprise in Afghanistan that is, alas, very far from reality. As the cynic Ambrose Bierce pointedly observed of patriots — “the dupe of statesmen; the tool of conquerors.”

Three interesting reports about Afghanistan emerged in Washington last week.

First, a political whitewash issued by the Obama White House claiming the war was going well and some US troops might be withdrawn next year. This ‘don’t worry be happy’ summary was trumpeted by the pro-war New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and other members of the government-friendly US media.

US generals spoke of “progress” in Afghanistan, whatever that means, as US forces conducted a brutal campaign around Kandahar to crush resistance to the occupation and punish communities that supported Taliban.

Second, the Red Cross issued a grim report showing that Afghans were suffering widespread malnutrition and serious health problems after nearly a decade of Western occupation. So much for US-led nation-building.

Third, there were leaks about a new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), the combined findings of all 16 US intelligence agencies. This key intelligence report is explosive and may not be fully revealed.

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War Dominated US Foreign Policy Is Destroying the Economy and National Security

December 9, 2010

Join Peace Vet-Led Protest at White House on December 16th

by Kevin Zeese, Dissident Voice,  December 9th, 2010

The White House is in the midst of a strategic review of Afghanistan. This review is coming at a time when the reality is hard to ignore: Afghanistan cannot be won, the cost is escalating at a time when the U.S. economy is in collapse and the war is undermining U.S. national security and the rule of law.  It is time to end the war-based foreign policy of the United States.

Opposition to war is growing. Sixty-one House members wrote president Obama last month calling for an end to the Afghan war. The letter was co-signed by 57 Democrats and 4 Republicans.  They wrote: “This has become the longest war in US history. The rate of casualties is at an all-time high. And we have already spent $365 billion on this unwinnable war.”  This reflects the views of Americans.  A recent poll conducted by Quinnipiac University found that 50 percent of those surveyed said the United States should not be involved in Afghanistan, compared to 41 percent who opposed the war in September.

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Why Are We in Afghanistan – Still?

December 7, 2010

by Tom Gallagher, CommonDreams.org, Dec 7, 2010

You have to wonder what it might take to get the man in the White House to acknowledge just how absurd the current U.S. military effort in Afghanistan has become. Would the president of Afghanistan himself telling us to start getting our troops out do it? Nah. How about the leader of the last country to send its army there telling us “Victory is impossible in Afghanistan”? Nope. Finding out that some of the guards who protect NATO bases were Taliban — but the top Taliban guy we’d been negotiating with actually wasn’t? Neither. A Hollywood agent might push this story as farce. But it’s real life and that qualifies it as tragedy.

Given that candidate Obama was so widely seen as a man of “new thinking,” one to deliver the country from tired old debates and morasses, one hoped President Obama would listen hard to what Mikhail Gorbachev had to say about the damage that a fruitless nine-years-plus war in Afghanistan can do to a country. But if so, no evidence yet.

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Afghanistan bomb attacks kill twenty-one US soldiers in 48 hours

August 31, 2010

Twenty-one American troops have been killed in Afghanistan since Friday in one of the bloodiest periods of the summer.

By Ben Farmer, in Kabul, Telegraph co.uk, August 31, 2010

Afghanistan bomb attacks kill twenty-one US soldiers in 48 hours

A U.S. army medic runs to the scene of a road side bomb explosion in Kandahar province Photo: REUTERS

A series of bomb attacks have badly hit US troops in eastern and southern Afghanistan in the past 48 hours.

The death toll among in the Nato-led coalition has reached 484 this year and is predicted to far surpass 2009’s total of 521.

Deaths have risen consistently each year since 2001. Afghan police and civilians have suffered far higher casualties.

The coalition blames the rise in troop deaths partly on the influx of reinforcements, which is allowing commanders to target previously untouched insurgent safe havens where rebels are mounting stiff resistance.

Gen David Petraeus, senior US and Nato commander in the country, warned last week fighting would “get harder before it gets easier”.

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Dan Ellsberg on WikiLeaks & the Essential Democratic Question: Who Will Tell the People?

July 29, 2010

John Nichols, The Nation, July 29, 2010

The Obama White House was quick to condemn the publication Sunday evening of more than 91,000 secret documents detailing the monumentally misguided and frequently failed attempt by the United States to occupy Afghanistan.

National Security Adviser James Jones took the lead in attacking WikiLeaks for making the details of the war available to the American people—who are, ultimately, supposed to define the direction of US foreign policy—by declaring: “The United States strongly condemns the disclosure of classified information by individuals and organizations which could put the lives of Americans and our partners at risk, and threaten our national security.”

Despite the fact that the “Afghanistan War Logs,” which are being published by the New York Times, the Guardian and Der Speigel, detail the mess in Afghanistan, and point to the bigger mess that will be made if the occupation is expanded as the Obama administration proposes, Jones offered a classic don’t-confuse-us-with-the-facts response. “These irresponsible leaks will not impact our ongoing commitment to deepen our partnerships with Afghanistan and Pakistan; to defeat our common enemies; and to support the aspirations of the Afghan and Pakistani people.”

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Obama: Tell Americans the Truth About Afghanistan

July 14, 2010

Eric Margolis, The Huffington Post, July 12, 2010

Goodbye, fire-breathing Gen. Stanley McChrystal, and your Special Forces “mafia,” who were supposed to crush Afghan resistance to western occupation.

McChrystal was fired after rude remarks he and his staff made about the White House were printed in the American magazine, Rolling Stone. President Barack Obama should have fired McChrystal when the loose-lipped general went public with demands that 40,000 more troops be sent to Afghanistan.

McChrystal was the second U.S. commander in a row in Afghanistan to be fired, an ominous sign that the war was going very badly. He will now likely enter the Republican ranks as a martyr and become a Fox TV critic of Barack Obama.

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Losing in Afghanistan

July 7, 2010

Marjorie Cohn, Consortiumnews.com, July 7, 2010

Editor’s Note: Official Washington (including the mainstream news media) is thrilled that Gen. David Petraeus is now commanding U.S. forces in Afghanistan. There’s also a consensus that Republican National Chairman Michael Steele put his foot in his mouth by criticizing “the war of Obama’s choosing.”

But the conventional wisdom may be wrong again, as Marjorie Cohn argues in this guest essay:

Last week, the House of Representatives voted 215-210 for $33 billion to fund Barack Obama’s troop increase in Afghanistan. But there was considerable opposition to giving the President a blank check.

One hundred sixty-two House members supported an amendment that would have tied the funding to a withdrawal timetable. One hundred members voted for another amendment that would have rejected the $33 billion for the 30,000 new troops already on their way to Afghanistan; that amendment would have required that the money be spent to redeploy our troops out of Afghanistan.

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Petraeus signals escalation of US military violence in Afghanistan

June 30, 2010

By Joe Kishore, wsws.org, June 30, 2010

In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, General David Petraeus, Obama’s new commander in Afghanistan, said he would reconsider the rules of engagement as part of an intensification of the US assault on the Afghan people. He also made clear that American troops would remain in the country well beyond the July 2011 date set by the administration to begin a withdrawal.

Petraeus received fawning praise from Democratic and Republican senators alike. He was rapidly confirmed by the Armed Services Committee Tuesday afternoon and is expected to be confirmed by the full Senate on Wednesday.

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Afghanistan: Worse Than a Nightmare

June 27, 2010

By Bob Herbert, New York Times, June 25, 2010

President Obama can be applauded for his decisiveness in dispatching the chronically insubordinate Stanley McChrystal, but we are still left with a disaster of a war in Afghanistan that cannot be won and that the country as a whole will not support.

Bob Herbert

No one in official Washington is leveling with the public about what is really going on. We hear a lot about counterinsurgency, the latest hot cocktail-hour topic among the BlackBerry-thumbing crowd. But there is no evidence at all that counterinsurgency will work in Afghanistan. It’s not working now. And even if we managed to put all the proper pieces together, the fiercest counterinsurgency advocates in the military will tell you that something on the order of 10 to 15 years of hard effort would be required for this strategy to bear significant fruit.

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