In another example of the inanity of the U.S. State Department’s work in Afghanistan, it was revealed several days ago that the U.S. State Department has awarded a $120 million contract for security operations to the United States Training Center (USTC) at new U.S. Consulates in Mazar-i-Sharif and Heart. The USTC is a division of Xe, the new name Blackwater USA chose to hide behind after its indictment for murdering seventeen Iraqi civilians in broad daylight on a busy Baghdad square.
The $120 million contract, split between the two small consulates means that $6.6 million per month will be spent on each consulate— on security alone! Blackwater security workers earn about $18,000/month. Afghan teachers earn about $50/month. For a fair comparison, figure that $50/month is below a living wage in Kabul. It takes three times that to pay rent, buy food and pay all the other bills required to raise a family, as a bare minimum. And that means no meat, no car, and no children going to school, because they have to work to help make up the difference.
Teachers and their families are guaranteed a life of poverty, and are at much greater risk for attack by Talibs than U.S. diplomats. The huge cost of the U.S. diplomatic infrastructure in Afghanistan is a big thorn in the side of the U.S. and the Afghan people.
Some say the pay is high because guards may take a bullet for a civilian. Well, so do policemen in the US, and American soldiers everywhere, but their hourly pay is a tiny fraction of Blackwater’s mercenaries.
This contract is disappointing news for people who hoped that the U.S. administration and Pentagon were serious about supporting Afghan society’s great needs beyond wildly expensive military actions. Billions flow to American war profiteers—both over-paid State employees and civilian contractors— and a woefully inadequate amount goes for Afghan healthcare, utilities, education, transportation, and judicial system.
Contracts like Blackwater’s are a terrible example for Afghans and Afghan government workers. It proves the argument that the only way to get ahead in Afghanistan is to cozy-up to the powerful and hope to be rewarded with a ridiculously over-paid contract. It is a situation that Americans, with their trillions of dollars of debt, should be loudly protesting. It is a horrible negation of responsibility by the U.S. State Department to both the people of Afghanistan and the people of the United States.
21 June 2010, 10:48, by Barbarossa
You must be truely naive if you believe that N. A. T. O. troops are in Afghanistan to help its peoples. They are there to feed America’s and Europe’s military-industrial complex and for no other reason. They could easily spend half of what they spend on their militaries and mercenaries on education and infrastructure and deny the Taliban support. But that would not be "success" to them - there would be no need for their military presence in Afghanistan. Afghanistan has been annexed to America’s global empire. The Americans shall never willingly leave. Like Iraq, Afghanistan is an American client state.
21 June 2010, 21:19, by Zencali
Welcome to the world that I as an American woman from Dayton, Ohio started noticing when I was about 6 years old: that is the world of mean policemen. When a man in a car tried to make me get in it on the way home from first grade.....it was the police who interviewed me about it that were the real more traumatic than what the would be kidnapper did. Then of course there were the "5 dead on the Ohio" at Kent State and all the other issues involving opposition to the Viet Nam War. Next I lived in Los Angeles only to find out the insanity and violence of the LAPD (as often portrayed on TV shows and movies and in books such as the "Onionfield". Did I just have bad luck or why are these policemen given the idea that they should act like violent sick control animals. I have never figured it out. But I know it is wrong. One more issue to confront in our new future political world. My personal experience has taught me that the big thugs and thieves have to have violent people like Blackwater to dominate and steal from the poor of the world
22 June 2010, 13:03, by miru
Xe is just the tip of the iceberg. From the beginning, the aim of Afghan war is not to support ordinary Afghan people. War is a highly profitable business for government contractors and the ruling elites. Private mercenary companies, ammunition industry, engineering industry, energy industry, and aid industry are at the peak of the boom, in return for political donations for the ruling elites who made military occupation policy. They cannot stop loving war.
They incite terror with floods of propaganda made by their subordinate companies for outbreak of war, and once they start a war, they concoct excuses for endless war in order to squeeze money and resources out of all ordinary people regardless of nationality. Face it. Now, they are doing their utmost to continue military occupation of Afghanistan by pushing propaganda about "magical" natural resources (Afghanistan is a money tree! don’t worry about war price!), "slaughterous" insurgent groups (the US is a champions of justice!), rampant corruptions (take up the US Man’s burden!), and oppressed, starving women and children (it’s a big chance for the US to be a hero!). Actually, they are not concerned about war casualties, nor about future of Afghan people, American people, and the world.
The worst thing is that many ordinary Americans, who have been bled by the ruling elites, are not heartily concerned not only about Afghan people but also about American soldiers, and refuse to consider bringing their soldiers back. Instead they direct their ire toward big expenses of war, slipshod works by USAID and other American organizations, and corruptions of war industries and governments. They as much as say that if Afghan war were free from both corruptions and waste of money, it would be the very good war.
This means that if the US dramatically reduced corruptions, war expenses, and US military casualties, they would give their government the OK to wage war for any purpose, — for instance, geopolitical interests, seizure of natural resources, decrease in unemployment, improvement of the economy, dumping of toxic industry waste, testing of new weapons, getting rid of old weapons, military training exercise, and of course, making money. In other words, a war which pays off is good for them, even though it is a far cry from self-defense. They exclude both the legality of a war and an irreparable, heavy toll on the people living in countries where US forces invade, though they loudly proclaim themselves advocates for human rights.
I wish I could see more Americans, who have enough courage to approach the US situation rationally, to confront America’s violation and undermining of international laws, and to sympathize with Afghan victims of US troops, debate true sources of the US imperialism and true aims of Afghan war rather than corruptions and wasted expenses in the war. It is not patriotic duty to turn their eyes away from their serious issues. The more American people do consider these issues, the more menace to world peace they can eliminate. At this moment, they are no better than accomplices of killing Afghan people and US soldiers, imposing empire of oppression, burying democratic value which they are proud of, and killing themselves by inches.
23 June 2010, 20:35, by Laura R. Standley
As a former U. S. Army service member, I am appalled by the U. S. government’s outsouring of military operations to mercenaries. I have no doubt that a vast number of Americans also condemn the contract.
The good news is, since Prince Group International is privately owned (not traded on the stock market), there are no shareholders who are paid dividends on the deaths, destruction and contempt visited on the Afghan people by Blackwater. The bad news is, that since they are not publicly traded, they can’t be financially broken by an abrupt and massive sell-off of their stock.
That said, their aviation division was sold to AAR Corps, traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol AIR.
DynCorps International, who took over the Afghan military training from Balckwater is also traded on the NYSE as DCP.
I would invite all U. S. residents (you don’t have to be a U. S. citizen to do this.) reading this site to protest the Blackwater abomination by lobbying their members of Congress, especially those on the Foreign Affairs and Armed Services Committees. You are welcome to use the arguments I have provided, as well as any of your own.
25 June 2010, 18:15, by miru
Not a single day passes by without seeing that Americans avert their eyes from war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the US troops; while they blame military-industrial complexes, pro-war politicians, mainstream media, or war lobby. How many ordinary Afghan people will Americans kill before ordinary Americans stop dodging their responsibility?
I’ll say as many times as I have to. Xe is just the tip of the iceberg. Not only mercenaries but also US soldiers have been murdering innocent Afghan people. It is true that private mercenary companies have been violating the laws and slipping through the meshes of the laws, but it is true that the US troops have been violating the laws, too. The US invasion of Afghanistan is international lawbreaking. If you have never read any explanations about outrageous violations of international law committed by the US in Afghanistan, read the following two articles.
Marjorie Cohn, "Bombing of Afghanistan Is Illegal and Must Be Stopped," Jurist, November 6, 2001
Arthur Silber, "Murder with Malice Aforethought, or: Screw You — My Dick Is the Biggest!," June 23, 2010
The situation of Afghan people is getting worse, and Afghanistan is not the only country which has been attacked by US troops. If you do not want a lawless world which endangers you, your children and grandchildren, you can not just bury your heads in the sand and hope the problems will go away. You, the ordinary Americans who approved or connived at invasion of Afghanistan have a responsibility to withdraw your troops from Afghanistan.
25 June 2010, 23:34, by Laura R. Standley
If you are in America writing your reply, you would know that Americans are conflicted about the U. S. occupation of Afghanistan. They find the moral abiguitity of fighting an enemy they can’t identify very troubling, to say the least. It reminds America of our involvement in Viet Nam, which created a lot of civil unrest within our borders. There are also elements within Afghanistan itself who exploit America’s presence in ways that prevent a U. S. withdrawl. There is also not a lot of reporting done on Afghanistan that is reported by major news networks. In fact, when the story broke about Gen. McChrystal’s disrespect toward Obama, the mainstream media’s focus was not on any facet of Afghan policy, but rather, speculating on whether the reporter would lose his access for actually reporting, rather than being an embedded fawning mouthpiece. Add to that the right wing’s conspiracy to evoke fear of contact with not only Afghans, but the Muslim world as well, and you can imagine that their eyes are not so much averted, as being covered. Those who, as you connived or approved of the U. S. occupation are not likely reading this forum. They think they already know everything.
But you see, the Viet Nam war had two things that compelled America to care; independent journalists and the draft. Before the media outlets were concentrated into the hands of a few corporations by right-wing deregulation, the war was in everybody’s living room on the TV every night. Since the media became corporate-owned, their obligation has been to generating profits to pay dividends to shareholder, rather than invest in paying more journalists to go overseas. Since the United States has a volunteer army, rather than a conscript army, the war on the American side is being fought on the the backs of the American poor. When people from all walks of life face the possibility of having to leave their lives at home behind and risk their lives, they’ll care about it alright. They will develop a deep and abiding interest in Afghan affairs, I can assure you.
I feel there are many flaws in how the U. S. concieved operations in Afghanistan. I agree that the outcome has created needless death and chaos. But here’s another thing; while the U. S. looks at Afghanistan and sees Viet Nam, Afghanistan looks at America and sees Britain. There is a colonialist mindset among many Afghans that expect more involvement from the U. S. than we want to give. There is no mention of America in the Afghan Constitution, nor any role for us in its government. The Afghan government does NOT need U. S. permission to do anything. In the last election, it would’ve suited the U. S. better for Afghans to have elected someone they thought was best, rather than who they think would please America. What do you think would happen if the Meshrano Jirga and the Wolesi Jirga voted unanimously to forbid the presence of certain U. S. defense contractors within their borders? Afghanistan is a member of the International Criminal Court, which prosecutes war crimes. Why is the Afghan government not bringing up charges against those who commit war crimes in Afghanistan?
29 June 2010, 07:31, by miru
> There are also elements within Afghanistan itself who exploit America’s presence in ways that prevent a U. S. withdrawal.
> The Afghan government does NOT need U. S. permission to do anything.
First, in 1980 CIA began to sneakily support the mujahideen, who later became Taliban, to prevent Soviet from going southward, for US national benefits to keep geopolitical power. Second, the US invaded Afghanistan without Afghan people’s permission. Third, as you remark "The Afghan government does NOT need U. S. permission to do anything", the US government does NOT need Afghanistan’s permission to withdraw from the Afghanistan, even if some elements within Afghanistan oppose it. It is funny that the US asks for Afghan people’s opinion only when it brings its troops back to the US.
> What do you think would happen if the Meshrano Jirga and the Wolesi Jirga voted unanimously to forbid the presence of certain U. S. defense contractors within their borders?
> Why is the Afghan government not bringing up charges against those who commit war crimes in Afghanistan?
Before you criticize the Afghan government which does not take war criminals to court, face the fact that the US voted against the Rome Statute of the ICC in 1998 and that it is not perceived as a problem by many ordinary Americans. If the US had joined the ICC, in other words, if Americans had got the US in on the ICC, the US would have invaded neither Afghanistan nor Iraq. Some experts say that until the US ratifies the ICC treaty, the Court is little more than a politicized kangaroo court. It is your nation and your people that disrespects for the rule of law.
Admittedly, Afghan people, especially the ruling elite, warlords have to clean up their act. But do ordinary Americans only keep waiting? They should support Afghan people more than blaming Backwater and corporate media.
It is difficult for the people whose nation is occupied by foreign troops to charge occupiers with crimes. As you well know, Karzai was installed as President by the US. For 9 years, Afghanistan has been occupied by US army, and many innocent Afghan people have been killed their relatives, have been raided, have been abducted from their home, and have been bombed by US troops. How could they voluntarily make decisions with their welfare the highest priority at the Jirga which Karzai hosts in their occupied nation? If you happen to see many foreigners who killed your family wander around under immunity in your country every day, are so poor that you keep your children malnourished, and are waved questionable foreign aid under your nose, what is your perfect choice? US military occupation has been denied Afghan people an opportunity for free will.
A journalist reported that in Afghanistan a doctor who examines deformed babies never mentioned depleted uranium in front of a camera, but once the cameras stopped rolling, this doctor told him depleted uranium. This let me know that one of reasons why articles given to Afghan deformed babies, which are very unfavourable for the US, are heavily outnumbered by those given to Iraqi deformed babies. There is not freedom of speech in Afghanistan.
I give you an example from my country, Japan. On a plan to relocate the U.S. Marines Corps’ Futenma base within Okinawa, our former Prime Minister said No to the US government’s plan, reflecting public opinion in Japan. But he resigned under sickening pressure from the US government after several months. Our next Prime Minister, a disgusting puppet of the US, of course, said Yes to the US government’s plan in spite of more than 80% of the local people’s saying NO and their repeated non-violent demonstrations. A few days ago, following PM’s statement against our will, which is serious deterioration of democracy, US lawmakers submitted a resolution to the U.S. House of Representatives to "express gratitude to the Japanese people, especially to the people of Okinawa, for hosting the U.S. military." This resolution has utterly revolted us. The US government completely ignores the will of Japanese people. (Very few American activists support us.) This is a very "democratic" nation under US military occupation.
Another example. One year ago, in Honduras, the U.S.-backed military generals led the coup against President Zelaya who had tried to set poor Hondurans’ welfare above American insatiable corporations’ interests. The US government has pretended that it decried the coup, but in reality, it has kept to support military coup leaders, though this military regime has had no legitimacy in the world. Additionally the US government has turned a blind eye to coup leaders’ assassinating Honduran activists who have resisted the coup. This coup has inspired fear in the people who are critical of the US military’s presence on Japan. Do you think that US government which squeezes US ordinary people hesitate to crack down on non-Americans? Do you think that non-Americans have to endure more oppressions by US imperialist government than Americans do?
Your remark "The Afghan government does NOT need U. S. permission to do anything" is thoughtless. I think that it is easier to force the US government to alter its policy for American people who have US citizenship and whose nation is not occupied by any foreign troops than for Afghan people whose nation is occupied by US troops. Is all that ordinary Americans have to do to wait for Afghans’ forcing the US government to change its policy?
> There is also not a lot of reporting done on Afghanistan that is reported by major news networks.
> But you see, the Viet Nam war had two things that compelled America to care; independent journalists and the draft.
To our nation’s shame, mainstream media of Japan faithfully echo what that of the US say, disgusting justification of Afghan war, and seldom report on Afghan people’s casualties. And because Japan does not deploy its soldiers in Afghanistan, no Japanese soldiers die in Afghanistan. Yet, the US exercise of armed force in Afghanistan is much more unpopular in Japanese society than in American society. Even if one gets access to little information about Afghanistan, he/she can imagine Afghan people on hellish battlefields. There are other reasons why ordinary Americans refuse to imagine sufferings of Afghan people and to withdraw their soldiers from Afghanistan.
30 June 2010, 02:51, by Laura R. Standley
No one in the U. S. denies the CIA supported the Mujahideen against the Soviets, since U. S. foreign policy was dictated by the Domino Theory at that time. Hindsight is 20/20 and it’s easy to see now that more should’ve been done to repatriate Afghan refugees and assist in their education and economic devlopment. There were also other factors in the rise of the Taliban over which the U. S. had no control. We can’t change the past, but can hopefully learn from it and make better choices.
As for the U. S.’s status with the ICC, it did sign the Rome statute in 1998, but the treaty was not submitted to the United States Senate for ratification, I believe, over constitutional and sovereignty issues. That should not affect Afghanistan’s status with the ICC as it pertains to crimes committed on a nation’s soils, as well as crimes perpetrated by the signatories.
As for the U. S. invading Afghanistan without the Afghan people’s permission, I don’t recall anyone asking the U. S. if it was okay to host terrorist training camps to train people to attack us within our borders. When the Taliban were hosting al-Qaeda training camps, what did they think the U. S.’s response would be to an attack against us? The attack did more than kill thousands of people in the U. S. 9/11 gave the Bush administration the political cover it needed to perpetrate an unspeakable amount of evil in service to the charter of the conservative group, Project for New American Century. The Bush administration exploited 9/11 to execute an obscene power grab for the right-wing and the Executive Branch of government.
I stand by my statements regarding my desire for the Afghan government and people to act from a position of empowerment. In our current era of assymetric warfare, America’s national security interests are best served by other nations having stable, ethical governments and decent infrastructure. I support the efforts taken by Afghans themselves to acheive those things. Failed states, power vacuums and instability are the breeeding grounds for radicalization and terrorism.
While I don’t agree with every facet of U. S. operations in Afghanistan, there are few industrialized nations that have the moral high ground to be so critical. Can you honestly say that all the acts committed by your country throughout its history have represented your beliefs and morals? I doubt many can anywhere.
1 July 2010, 17:00, by miru
> We can’t change the past, but can hopefully learn from it and make better choices.
I agree with you. But the US does not abandon thuggish conducts.
Zoltan Grossman, "Imperial Footprint: America’s Foreign Military Bases", GLOBAL DIALOGUE Volume 11, 2009
George Monbiot, "Too much of a good thing: Underlying the US drive to war is a thirst to open up new opportunities for surplus capital", 18 February 2003, The Guardian
> When the Taliban were hosting al-Qaeda training camps, what did they think the U. S.’s response would be to an attack against us?
Taliban "imposed strict isolation on Osama bin Laden after 1998 to prevent him from carrying out any plots against the United States."
Gareth Porter, "Taliban Regime Pressed bin Laden on anti-U.S. Terror", Feb 11, 2010, IPS news
> In our current era of assymetric warfare, America’s national security interests are best served by other nations having stable, ethical governments and decent infrastructure.
I think that the world’s peace and America’s national security is best served by US abandoning imperialism. How long must people all over the world wait until ordinary Americans face the fact that the US stages coups to cook up an excuse of invasion of other countries and the US troops destroy infurastructure and universities and kill professionals who carry out reconstruction of the countries as a leader in order to destabilize the countries and to squeeze the people?
According to the following article:
James Petras, "The US War against Iraq: The Destruction of a Civilization", August 21, 2009, Information Clearing House"
> The Bush administration exploited 9/11 to execute an obscene power grab for the right-wing and the Executive Branch of government.
Not only the Bush administration but ordinary Americans approved the invasion of Afghanistan. And ordinary Americans elected both Bush who had begun Afghan war and Obama who had declared US adding fuel to Afghan war in the election campaign.
> I support the efforts taken by Afghans themselves to acheive those things.
How do you support them without the withdrawal of US troops? Killing and helping do not go together. Killing women’s husbands and children does not mean helping women. US troops’ poisoning Afghan lands with toxic chemicals and depleted uranium makes Afghan farmers more difficult to subsist. US troops’ forcing hungry Afghan people to fight Taliban for daily bread serves not making peace but intensifying civil-war. Japan’s experience and other nations’s history tell me that under military occupation, democracy does not take root on any nations’ soil because occupation forces violate both human rights and right of self-determination, and breed self-serving, graft-ridden colonial administrators by the name of a politician.
> Failed states, power vacuums and instability are the breeding grounds for radicalization and terrorism.
If the UK, the Soviet, and the US had not invaded Afghanistan, it would not have been deteriorating as seriously as this. We can not reverse history but it is unfair to see only now Afghanistan for the sake of US justifying Afghan war and putting unreasonable heavy responsibility for their shattered homeland on Afghan people. By the way, Noam Chomsky warns the risk of fascism in the US. It seems that the US imperialism and war addiction not only of the ruling elites but of ordinary Americans have destroyed American society and has radicalized them.
Matthew Rothschild, "Chomsky Warns of Risk of Fascism in America", April 12, 2010, Progressive
> While I don’t agree with every facet of U. S. operations in Afghanistan, there are few industrialized nations that have the moral high ground to be so critical.
I do not understand what you want to say. Do you think that many countries’ complicity in war crimes can justify them? Do you want the world of jungle law?
> Can you honestly say that all the acts committed by your country throughout its history have represented your beliefs and morals?
If one’s nation’s history does not represented her/his beliefs and morals, must he/she be silent? If one’s nation’s history has a bloody age, must she/he give up stopping and condemning bloody commitments by other countries?
Whenever a Japanese raises an issue of wars committed by the US, an American raises the issue of Japan’s war crimes during WWII. It is nonsense for me. I defend neither the Japanese government at the time nor the Japanese ordinary people who did not try to prevent the Japanese government from the aggressive wars and the colonization of other countries. Whenever I blame ordinary Americans for averting their eyes from the war crimes by the US, in my heart I as a human blame the then Japanese government, the then Japanese ordinary people, and me whose nation has the history with war crimes and whose nation is an ally of the US at present. So, the words I throw at ordinary Americans are always only what I as a Japanese whose history has the age of massacring humans as ordinary as I can face. At the same time, I always blame the present Japanese people who turn a blind eye to what the Japanese government support the US which invades and stages coups in other countries.
The slaughterous history teaches me that at war a lot of innocent people are dehumanized and murdered, and that after war, surviving victims have some sort of mental or physical aftereffects for the rest of their lives. So, I disapprove of indiscriminate bombings committed by EVERY country for WHATEVER reason. War is inseparable from indiscriminate attacks. I think that I who was conveyed the horrors of war by war victims and whose nation is an ally of the US have responsibility for stopping the US invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq.
Some time ago, a Chinese blamed the Japanese people who have fallen silent on the Tiananmen Massacre because of our sense of guilt of the past history and said, "You must confront the past history, but don’t look away from present China’s the structural problems. Mention China’s abusing human rights and destruction of environment. China’s Democratization serves deepening of Japan’s democracy." Whenever I see human rights violation of China, I recall her remark, while I feel guilty about Japan’s history.
I give you Howard Zinn’s quote:
Howard Zinn, "Untold Truths About the American Revolution", July 2009 Issue, Progressive
8 July 2010, 16:17, by Laura R. Standley
Sometimes, in the name of promoting open dialogue, one must use restraint and tact. I feel I’ve done as well as anyone could in that endeavor.
I find it ironic that I am being lectured on imperialism by someone from a country ruled by an emperor.
I also find it ironic that I am being lectured on military occupation by somone from a country whose goal it was to occupy and rule the entire Pacific Rim, as well as East Asia prior to, and during WW2.
The third irony is that you come from a country that embroiled the U. S. in WW2 by launching an air attack on U. S. territories.
When I came on this forum, I didn’t expect any kumbaya moments, as an American. I end up taking the brunt of a lot of Afghan and Pakistani frustration by offering myself as someone who will listen. Such is life. But when someone on such shaky national historical moral high ground such as yourself makes accusations... Puzzling. If I chose to, I could match you Japanese atrocity for American atrocity when it comes to a historical debate. But if we descend to "an eye for and eye, a tooth for a tooth," when will it end; when the whole world is blind and toothless?
As for your premises, America is locked in a struggle of two diameterically opposed forces of right-wing radicalism/Republican/conservativism vs. progressivism/libralism. What you present is an indictment against the Republican side of the debate in America. I will bet you that the majority of Americans who post on this forum do not support that side of the debate. Americans are a not monlithic group who all think the same way.
Since you seem to be well-versed in finding evidence against right-wing policies, there are no doubt many activist projects with which you can align yourself to create constructive and progressive outcomes for your diligence. It would be a shame to waste your effort.
12 July 2010, 13:56, by miru
The reason why I debate with you is that I want to put an end to the casualties and sufferings of Afghan people as soon as possible. Mind you. The casualties from indiscriminate US bombings against Japanese civilians do not mitigate the war crimes committed by Japan during WWII. Similarly, the war crimes committed by Japan during WWII do not justify the US indiscriminate bombings against Japanese civilians. Similarly, many countries’ having a part in a war crime does not mitigate this crime. (NATO’s having a part in the illegal military occupation of Afghanistan does not mitigate the crime of NATO’s member nations. The European or US colonialism does not justify the Japanese colonialism.) Similarly, war crimes and other atrocities committed by Japan and the then Japanese imperialism neither mitigate war crimes by the US nor justify the US imperialism and other atrocities, if we regard people all over the world as human.
> If I chose to, I could match you Japanese atrocity for American atrocity when it comes to a historical debate.
You can go your way. But on this site your reference to Japanese atrocity or American atrocity must contribute toward analyzing the root cause of Afghan war, clarifying who is responsible for the war, protecting the human rights of Afghans, ending the war, and consolidating peace of Afghanistan, otherwise your references are fruitless.
(Since the end of WWII, Japanese emperors have had no political authority constitutionally. This is my FIRST time to see that Japanese emperor as a symbol of the unity of the people is mixed up with imperialism. If you want to know the circumstances of Japan’s bombing Pearl Harbor, search the Internet for "iran+pearl+harbor+japan+sanction", (which will show you a pattern for war) and read some history books in order to analyze from a number of perspectives. But I believe that the then Japanese government had to make every diplomatic effort to avoid war, as Howard Zinn said, "in between war and passivity, there are a thousand possibilities.")
I know that it is very difficult for ordinary Americans to face war crimes by their own country, because it was very difficult for me as an ordinary Japanese to do it. So, in my last message posted, I mentioned what I thought when I blamed ordinary Americans who looked away from the war crimes by the US, though because of my sketchy explanation it is possible that you misunderstood my intention. If you break free of the spell of mindless patriotism and consider people all over the world as your fellow human, your view of American history and war crimes will change dramatically.
Matthew Rothschild, "Why I Don’t Celebrate July 4", July 3, 2010, The Progressive
> I end up taking the brunt of a lot of Afghan and Pakistani frustration by offering myself as someone who will listen.
It is quite natural that their "frustration" is growing as long as their nations are occupied by foreign troops and in the US there is neither major protest against US military occupation nor major movement to accuse American war-criminals of responsibility for committing war crimes. If you participate in these actions, they will thank you (though you may be isolated like Cindy Sheehan in the now US).
> What you present is an indictment against the Republican side of the debate in America.
The reason why you reached such a conclusion is above my comprehension. Democrat Obama has been following Bush’s imperialistic policy. Bush waged war against Afghanistan; Obama sent additional forces to Afghanistan. Bush started drone bombings; Obama has increased drone bombings, which are blamed as international lawbreaking by the UN Special Rapporteur.
Philip Alston, "Report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions", 28 May 2010 , Human Rights Council , General Assembly
Bush privatized war; Obama has done a favor for the war industry and has made ducks of contracts with it. Bush detained and tortured the innocent people in the Guantanamo Bay prison and other secret prisons; Obama not closed them but has extended Bagram prison, and has constructed a legal framework for impunity of abduction and torture.
"US unveils extended Bagram prison", November 16, 2009, Al Jazeera and agencies
Hilary Andersson, "Red Cross confirms ’second jail’ at Bagram, Afghanistan", 11 May 2010, BBC News
Willam Fisher, "Rights Groups Condemn Ruling on Bagram Detainees", May 26, 2010, IPS
If there had been "a struggle of two diameterically opposed forces," Cindy Sheehan would not have been standing alone. She says:
Cindy Sheehan, "Where Have all the Peaceniks Gone?", June 27, 2010, Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox
Arthur Silber see the Democrats and progressives as a problem:
Arthur Silber, "The Plea of Helplessness, the Refusal of Responsibility, and Today’s Progressives", November 14, 2009, Once Upon a Time...
Arthur Silber comprehensibly ravels the source of my strange feeling on articles (including post by you) about Afghanistan:
Arthur Silber, "The Demand for Obedience, and Reverence for Authority: The Lifelong Flight from Responsibility and Judgment (I)", July 09, 2010
In spite of your desire for the empowerment of Afghan people, you do not refer what the greatest obstacle to it is and what gave the US the right to "grab" Afghans’ power and status. You and American writers post articles and comments on this site, most of which are referred neither the question on US military occupation of Afghanistan, nor Afghans’ continuous sufferings caused by US troops, nor the most serious war crimes by the US troops, nor fundamental reasons of this war. Collective silence is an unspoken agreement of a monolithic group. American collective silence is one of the greatest obstacle to improving Afghans’ situation, because while Americans keep looking away from the most important problems, they feel satisfaction with raising false or half-hearted voices against war or with debating outlying subjects. As a result, the most important problems have been covered up and been left unsolved.
12 July 2010, 21:52, by Laura R. Standley
Me too, same as every other American who posts on this site. But there are some things about your posts that are utterly maddening...
First, you claim that all Americans catagorically approve of the current U. S. policy, when the sources you cite in opposition to U. S. occupation are American. That paradox alone should disprove your claim. How can you not see that?
Second, when you claim that all Americans approve the current U. S. policy when this American herself has posted comments condemning the "misguided aspects of the policy that create needless death, destruction and chaos," I think you’d rather believe the worst about Americans, than what any of us actually says. How can you talk to someone who refuses to hear you?
Third, you risk losing support for your cause-our cause, by your anti-American scapegoating. My point with the references to the Japanese campaigns of WWII is that, just as there is no act of contrition you can do to bring those Americans back from the dead who were killed by your forbearers, there is no verbal beating innocent Americans can take from you that will resurrect a single Afghan. That is no way to win hearts and minds. Why should anyone support the cause of someone who is always dissatified with them no matter what? There is no coming back from that dynamic. This is what I am most afraid will happen with your comments.
As for your charge of American imperialism, the sources you selected to support your arguments define a different battle than your blanket indictment of all Americans would suggest. The Blackwater controversy relates partly to the corporate influence over policy and legislation, which is pretty much the definition of fascism. That is an entire thesis in and of itself; corporate imperialism coupled with the conservative (Republican) version of "White Man’s Burden."
I don’t see that the U. S. "grabbed" power. If the U. S. truly had ever attained grasp of control you and others elsewhere in the world imagined, would the U. S. still be fighting there? No. The "power" is still out there are like a team of horses that no one has managed to hitch to the cart that is Afghanistan and take it anywhere; not the U.S., nor the Taliban, nor the Afghan government.
14 July 2010, 03:21, by miru
Of course, I intentionally chose the articles written by Americans, because I think that Americans empathize with articles written by Americans more easily than with messages by a Japanese, and because I want Afghans to know that under harsh circumstances some Americans continuously wrestle against US military occupation and American imperialism, and because I hope that more Americans and more Afghans will continue to visit their blogs and sites, especially:
Information Clearing House: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/
Arthur Silber: http://powerofnarrative.blogspot.com/
The Progressive: http://www.progressive.org/
Cindy Sheehan: http://cindysheehanssoapbox.blogspot.com/
(the top two sites clearly and doggedly demonstrate American imperialism and other serious problems which must be faced by Americans, which are related to US military occupation.)
A few American veterans came to Japan and urged Japanese people to support the opposition movement for US military occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq. They were facing war crimes committed by the US and were repentant of joining US forces. It must be very painful for them to talk in public their act of brutality and their own nation’s war crime. I hope that more Americans will listen to them.
I know too well that Afghan people’s quality of life cannot be improved immediately but there is a very very big difference between living poorly under occupation by foreign troops and living poorly in their own TRUE independent nation. When one refuses to face the reality of military occupation of Afghanistan, whether he/she provides livelihood or education support to poor Afghans or not, he/she participates in the US’ endless occupation policy of Afghanistan, as much as not recognize the right of self-determination for Afghanistan, and blows Afghans’ self-respect. They will keep fighting for defending of their self-respect. Without withdrawal of the foreign forces, the war does not end. Under military occupation, no one builds true peace.
The US has taken the initiative in military occupation of Afghanistan. The US is the Americans’ nation. Who else can take the initiative in ending war by the US? It is American people who taught Japanese people that when a government strays from the right path, its public must reform the government in a democracy.
I said in my first post: I wish I could see more Americans, who have enough courage to approach the US situation rationally, to confront America’s violation and undermining of international laws, and to sympathize with Afghan victims of US troops, debate true sources of the US imperialism and true aims of Afghan war rather than corruptions and wasted expenses in the war. It is not patriotic duty to turn their eyes away from their serious issues. The more American people do consider these issues, the more menace to world peace they can eliminate.
I have never hated Americans, but don’t disappoint our hope.
(Thank you for your patiently reading my posts.)
14 July 2010, 16:59, by Laura R. Standley
After reading your post, a theme of yours came up again which I think deserves a response; why Americans aren’t being prosecuted for war crimes. The answer has two halves:
However much the Afghan people might want to see any injustices U. S. forces have committed against them prosecuted, the Afghan government would not dare do that until it no longer needed the U. S. military to prop them up. I mean, Afghanistan is a signatory of the Rome Statute, so they have the authority to bring up Americans on charges for crimes committed on Afghan soil. I can’t think of why they don’t, unless it’s because they can’t maintain any semblence of order without the U. S. military’s assistance.
However much those of us in America would like to see those prosecuted for acting in ways that represent the opposite of what we believe, there is not enough political cover right now in the U. S. to do that. Let me explain... Under the last Bush adminisration, the Bush Doctrine was developed according to the goals of the conservative organization, Project for a New American Century, who believe that the U. S. has the right and obligation to dominate everyone. Among Americans; Liberals, Progressives and Libertarians disavow this belief as immoral, intrusive, needlessly expensive and none of our business. However, since the media is dominated by conservatives, since the Bush administration had the Federal Communications Commission overturn previous rules against media consolidation by corporations, more media outlets came under the control of a few corporations and conservatives took control of the messaging. Even before the infamous conservative-packed Supreme Court ruled in Citizens United vs. FEC that corporations have the right to spend unlimited amounts of money for media access to influence legislation and election campaigns, conservatives have been manipulating the message to the American public. That said, you can imagine the influence they were able to wield to garner G. W. Bush 53% of the popular vote in the 2004 election, as well as promote the current Tea Party movement. With those factors and the recession, the Democrats don’t have enough political capital to indict anyone for war crimes or prosecute Bush and Cheney as well as all the other officials to violated their oach of office to "protect and defend the Constitution." Since the Republicans in the U. S. Senate have been placing holds on all Obama’s nominations for office out of pure spite and hatefulness, it has even been said that if Obama nominated Jesus himself for a Supreme Court Justice position, the Republicans would vote against it. The bleak economic situation is also costing Democrats political capital with a midterm election coming up, which characteristically signals a loss of Congressional seats for the president’s party.
Now maybe you understand why the Americans who post on this sight are looking in askance to the Afghan people themselves. Otherwise, it would take an critical catalyzing event to give the Obama administration the political cover it needs to indict war criminals without making it seem like a cynical political ploy against the Republicans; which is what they claim when they play the victim when other Bush administration officials were subpoenaed for various investigations. I hate to say this, but perhaps the only person who might be able to set in motion a chain of events that would make the American public demand prosecutions might be Osama bin Ladin. As a patriotic American who had sworn to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, I’m a firm believer in due process. I think, if bin Ladin were in ICC custody, he should be publicly tried and allowed to talk at great length his family’s connection to the Bushes, as well as why he thought the U. S. basically allowed him to escape during Operation Anaconda. I’ll bet some very interesting stories could come out, if told in a milieu of international press coverage and in the geographical presence of NATO. As you can see, this is one ace in the hand of the Taliban.