Thursday, September 30, 2010

Shades Of Cambodia -Lessons From The Past-

In it's unending battle against the Taliban and Al Qaeda U.S. government has increased its drone attacks inside Pakistan. Reminiscent of the U.S. governments insurgents into Cambodia in search of the Vietcong relations between Pakistan and the U.S. becomes more frayed by the day.

During one such strike coalition helicopters killed three members of the Pakistani border force. This was the fourth attack in Pakistan in the week. In retaliation Pakistan closed a vital supply route for used by NATO forces to get to the troupes in Afghanistan. 

The U.S.government not known for choosing the best of associates, General Augusto Pinochet, Saddam Hussein (off and on), Anastasio Somoza etc. there could be one more not so great bed fellow with the Pakistani army being accused of executing civilians. A video released on Wednesday, shot on a cell phone shows the shooting.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

John Le Carré's Essay On Bush, Blair and the Iraq War

From the great people at Democracy Now: John LeCarré reading an exerpt from his much quoted 2003 essay on the then looming Iraq war:

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My Favourite Blogging Site

For those that come by and have figured out that I do a radio show and blog at the station and at NMPCanada and here, but hardly ever at our sister site the Daily Satirist (no time). You might not have guessed it but this is my favourite site to blog on. That's because my appreciation for the new media came from following the American blogging sites that always kept me informed way ahead of the MSM curve. They were also reliably accurate whereas the MSM had proved itself to be full of crap, corporate propaganda and war-mongering. So for those who drop by from time to time here's a reward, George Carlin and the truth about Republicans:

Compare and Contrast

Covering the very unsexy Afghanistan war today on my radio program I began by reporting what Brigadier-General Jonathan Vance said on Monday night on his return to Kandahar where he was in command.  “Although we’ve been in Afghanistan for a long time, and in the south since 2006, we really did not have the forces necessary to defeat the enemy using counterinsurgency tactics at the time.” But that's all changed now with Obama's surge in troops for Afghanistan and now the allies do have what’s needed for “enduring progress.”

  Did you get that? You see all this time we've had Canadian soldiers fighting and dying in a situation that they could not win so, unbeknownst to Canadians, they have essentially just been in a holding pattern all these years. But now, with the extra troops the Americans are providing to the southern battlefields, now victory is on the way!

It sure sounds like bunk after eight long years of Canadians doing their part on behalf of their American and NATO allies, but who am I to dispute the General's assertions? So let's hear what Robert Blackwill, who was Condolezza Rice's deputy as National Security Adviser in 2003 to 2004 has to say. The Telegraph reports that he will use a speech at the International Institute of Strategic Studies think tank in London on Monday to call on President Obama to make drastic changes in the war's objectives. He believes the surge will likely fail and that, "The Taliban are winning, we are losing, They have high morale and want to continue the insurgency. Plan A is going to fail. We need a Plan B."

Indeed the do, as there are reportedly now 1,000 soldiers deployed for every one of the estimated 100 al Qaeda operatives now believed to be based in Afghanistan, and it's costing the US $100 billion dollars a year. Even General Petreus is reported as having said on ABC News that success over the insurgency could be another 9 or 10 years away. This presents us with the obvious question of, do any of the allies have the stomach to wage war in Afghanistan for that much longer and what exactly would a plan B look like?

As for Canada's part in all this, by 2011 at least $18 billion dollars of taxpayers money will have been sunk into the war ($1500 per person) and is the reason Canada has essentially abandoned  its' 50-year commitment to UN peacekeeping.  Some estimates of the total costs to Canadians by 2011, when the private costs to families and community of lost and injured soldiers are factored in, as being as high as $28 billion.

So, exactly why was General Vance trying to paint such a rosy picture? Who in hell believes him, and why doesn't the Canadian media challenge his assertions?

The Iraq Debacle

Looking for adjectives to describe what the American war machine has wrought in Iraq is only difficult in the sense that there are so many of them. Even the word debacle seems to understate it -- for the Iraqis it is a complete disaster and the current state of affairs is far worse than was ever visited upon them by their former dictator.

There was a report yesterday that 1 out of every 6 Iraqis is an orphan. You read that right. Not 1 out of every 6 Iraqi kids but 1 out of ever 6 Iraqis, period. The exact figure only became a reality recently, when the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs made public its own statistics, but there have been reports reflecting this crisis for years now -- they've just been ignored. So when you read that the Americans have only killed 100,000 or so Iraqis, remember the number of Iraqi orphans and do the math. The real numbers of deaths that the Americans are responsible for are far higher, as this report from Truthout asserts, for the war and continuing occupation of Iraq.

Leaving behind 50,000 combat ready troops, and paid contractors (modern day mercenaries) who are regularly engaging in combat is war and occupation no matter how the story is currently being spun.

While on the subject of people whose misery is being scrupulously ignored in the media go read this report on the 4.5 million Iraqi refugees that this war has created. The humanitarian consequences of this seven-year war on Iraqi civilians are too often unreported. Since 2003, 2.5 million Iraqis have fled the country, mainly to Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon, while another two million have been dislocated inside Iraq, many of whom are now living in makeshift camps on the outskirts of Baghdad and other cities.

This is a humanitarian crisis on a grand scale and the United States needs to take action but it seems uunlikely that they will because as far as the US media is concerned it's not really happening.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Intolerance Nightly

The planned burning of the Qurans to mark the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 terror attack has sparked outrage around the world -- here in Canada, Peter MacKay has stood up and rightly denounced it noting that this may put Canadian troops in Afghanistan in further danger. Terry Jones of the laughably named Dove World Outreach Center has said he doesn't care who's against it and that includes General David Petreus the Commander of the Nato Afghanistan forces who has said it could endanger the troops. Right-wing blogger and CNN (fox-lite) contributor Erick Erickson has said that General Petreus has "folded like a cheap suit" to violent Islamists in being against this hateful act of extremism. And the cowardly leadership of the GOP has remained silent on the issue not wanting to alienate any of their racist voters one guesses. Here's Keith Olbermann on the fiasco:

This is one of those stories that I've been ignoring on my radio show until today. They're a relatively small group and I always like to explain the craziest of this stuff away by pointing out that these are extremists and out of the mainstream of current American politics... but they're really not that far out there compared to what is regularly broadcast nightly on fox and other MSM news outlets. Have a listen to some of the stuff as chronicled on Rachel Maddow's show:

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Labour Day Weekend!

Hope your weekend was great and you had the holiday Monday off to spend with your family and that if you did you should know you have unions to thank for holidays and weekends. I'm weary of people with short memories who don't know how the middle-class in North America came to be so well off, we have the unions to thank. Listen to what Obama has to say:

And because I love everyone who shows up here, something beautiful to listen to:

And just to hammer it home, really, what have unions ever done for us?:

Friday, September 3, 2010

Some Good News For Labour Day Weekend

First the good. After a four year absence from public ceremony Fidel Castro is up and about just after his 84 birthday. A credit to Zoomers everywhere Mr. Castro looked sharp in his classic green shirt and hat. (a belated happy birthday from the staff at New Media and Politics)  During a speech at Havana's University he called for the disappearance of nuclear weapons, commented on the ill effects military action against Iran could cause and how climate change threatens human existence.

In Wanju province of South Korea, Cha Sa-soon or "Grandma Cha Sa-soon" as she is affectionally called finally received her drivers licence after failing 959 times. As a reward for her perseverance the Hyundai car company presented Ms. Cha Sa-soon with a car.

Business is starting to pick up for crab trappers along the Gulf Coast. One trapper Robert Metz said, "Beautiful crabs out there. A lot of number one males and big, heavy, fat females. We lost 60 days. That's as long as I've ever been closed down for any reason."

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Operation Enduring Presence

I haven't had as much time for this blog as the Canadian one of late -- so it goes.

Getting right to the business of catching up on the media narratives, as most know Obama declared the end of "Operation Iraqi Freedom," Tuesday night and the beginning of "Operation New Dawn." It is exactly the kind of Orwellian hooey that it reads like. There are as noted everywhere even the MSM 50,000 combat ready troops being left behind, but not being reported as often are the bases that still remain occupied by American forces in the desert and the 7,000 independent contractors ( re: modern-day mercenaries) they are hiring to leave behind at five different bases . Here's a report from Democracy Now on those bases:

Seven years later there's still lots to say about this war of choice that devastated Iraq. The war killed untold numbers of civilians and made refugees out of millions and it's all being ignored except in small corners of the media and blogosphere. Some like Chris Mathews are trying to pretend they were against the war back in 2003 and that they weren't cheerleaders and enablers -- it's a bit nauseating. There are so many in the media that displayed a remarkable lack of courage that one hardly knows where to start but that link includes an interview with Jim Lehrer of PBS who as much as admits to the cowardice of the press which of course includes himself.

Glenzilla does a great job of taking apart the claims that "everyone" thought Iraq had WMD's here. Rachel expresses her anger over Obama's absolving of GWB jr. and his recklessness here. You can read the complete list of who the architects of the Iraq war were at ThinkP and please note that they are now out in the media trying to claim for themselves credit for the "success" of the Iraq war. Possibly the greatest blunder in US military history and the right-wing neo-cons who argued for this war want a victory parade with themselves in the lead float.