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Friday, August 19, 2011

Costs of Pathology

Foreign Policy of Violence — 
War and its consequences this week
Compiled and edited with comment by Carolyn Bennett

Our way is to destabilize then demonize then invade then kill heads of state then occupy and continue to destroy relations among citizens and neighbors, groups and regions. This is the pattern of U.S. foreign policy of violence.

This week the U.S. Secretary of wife-of-William-Jefferson-Clinton State illustrated this pattern in the latest of her ridiculous statements that no same official among civilized peoples in the 21 century would have had the temerity or stupidity to make.

The Pacifica's Democracy Now program aired the secretary’s statement this time not against Libya but against Syria. And we must remember that the U.S. destabilizing of the Middle East has caused Lebanon, Syria, Iran  and other nations to have to take in the constant flood of refugees (migrants U.S. bigots are so fawn of bashing) running from Washington's raw aggression.

“‘We understand the strong desire of the Syrian people that no foreign country should intervene in their struggle,’” clueless Clinton condescendingly says, “‘and we respect their wishes.’” Really, does she expect anyone to believe this? She goes one. 

“‘At the same time, we will do our part to support their aspirations for a Syria that is democratic, just and inclusive. And we will stand up for their universal rights and dignity by pressuring the regime and Assad personally to get out of the way of this transition.’”

Does this sound like a diplomat or someone suffering serious pathology?

The reality is this. No matter what foreign nations may think of a head of state or high official, it is not the place of a foreign nation to determine or decide or even suggest the mode or makeup of other nations’ governance.

It is the height of stupidity to tell any head of state to “get out of the way.”

What if the head of an African, European or Asian country told the U.S. secretary of state, the defense secretary, or U.S. president it is time for this official to “get out of the way?” What hubris! Neither has the U.S. this right in relation to other nations. It is also abundantly clear to most of the thinking world that U.S. officials who spend their time running for office rather than thoughtfully governing care nothing for the “universal rights and dignity” of the people of the United States let alone rights and dignity of other peoples and nations whom they clearly hold in contempt. 

Under U.S. threat

An article in Pravda this week put it this way in response to the U.S. Secretary. “The fierce international attacks on Syria after the raid on Hama are indicative of the defeat of the Syrian opposition schemes and their supporters.…

“The success of the Syrian Army to maintain security and control of the revolt-stricken regions — especially Hama and Deir ez-Zor — was unexpected. They [the West] expected that this far-off-the- border-but-sensitive region would remain unstable [and would thus] be used as leverage against the Syrian government.”

Western governments were “caught by surprise,” the article said, and “now [they] find themselves in a dilemma: on the one hand, they cannot take any measures that would lead to the uncalculated regime change; and on the other hand, they cannot remain indifferent to a still powerful Syrian regime; hence the political pressure on Syria.”

The West needs upheaval in Syria. Its objective is to “keep flames of protest alive” and exploit the unrest “as a tool in political haggling with Syria.”

From its love of Syria to its championing human rights and democracy for Iraqis

Under U.S. bombing and occupation

Iraq-born American blogger and political analyst Raed Jarrar spoke to Democracy Now today about his recent return to Iraq and what he found the U.S. had done to his country. Jarrar was born and had graduated secondary school in Baghdad and had not returned there since 2003. His recent trip was “very hard trip for me,” he said.

He found the city destroyed. “I couldn’t recognize many of the neighborhoods because of the level of destruction. I could not recognize many of the places because of the concrete walls that have been built around Baghdad.”

He said all of his family, cousins, uncles, neighbors, co-workers and colleagues “have left the city so I was a stranger in a city where I used to know hundreds of people. It was hard for me to see the real results of eight years of occupation and the real results of the displacement of five million Iraqis. Two and a half million of them left the country and the other two and a half million were displaced internally.
  • “The situation was extremely bad.
  • “Everything was bad.
  • “Services were really bad.
  • “There was no electricity while the temperature was more than 125 when I was there.
  • “Water supplies were not consistent.
  • “All government services were not working.
  • “Healthcare and education were dysfunctional.
  • “The political process is completely dysfunctional and many important ministries have not yet been filled.…”

Feeding flames of violence, upheaval, destabilization

Jarrar said, the new talks to extend the U.S. military occupation in Iraq “are leading the country to more violence.” Those who oppose an extension of the occupation “are attacking U.S. troops and interests in Iraq.”

Those who support the extension of the U.S. occupation “are causing more violence to justify a longer occupation. This has been the narrative all along, he said, “linking security to prolonging the U.S. occupation — so the more [the supporters of occupation] can prove that Iraq is unstable, the more they can guarantee that the U.S. stays longer.”

Press TV broke the news later today that, despite the U.S. officials’ loose lips to the contrary; officials in Iraq want the West out. An aide to the Iraqi Prime Minister today “denied reports that Baghdad has allowed the U.S. to extend its military presence in the country beyond 2011.” The media advisor to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki reportedly told AFP that Iraqi officials “‘have not yet agreed on the issue of keeping training forces; negotiations are ongoing and have not been finalized.’”

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, another flawed official, had apparently told the press that Iraq had “agreed to extend U.S. military presence in the country beyond the 2011 deadline.”

U.S. expediency

In the article “An Island of Food in Africa’s Horn of Hunger,” independent western journalist Thomas C. Mountain writes, “The Horn of Africa may be the Horn of Hunger for millions, but in the midst of all the drought, starvation and suffering there lives and grows an island of food security — little Eritrea and its five million people.

“Unfortunately, none of this may be enough to prevent the UN in-Security Council from passing even tougher sanctions against Eritrea in an attempt to damage the Eritrean economy and, inevitably, hurt the Eritrean people.

“This is all done, once again, in the name of fighting the War on Terror, or more accurately, the War on the Somali people.”

In early 2011, Mountain writes, “the UN Famine Early Warning System predicted millions would be starving in the southern half of Ethiopia [yet] the Meles Zenawi regime in power in Addis Ababa [Ethiopia] was exporting food — more than 10,000 tons of rice in 2010 to Saudi Arabia alone.

“Land in Ethiopia, good land,” he says, “can be bought by foreigners from the government for a song, even less if leased for 99 years, putting another $100 million or more into the pockets of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and his cronies. All the while basics like wheat, barley, sorghum and chickpeas become so expensive that they spike malnutrition rates for children.

“… The drought maps for the Horn of Africa show an area running from Sudan to Ethiopia to Somalia and Kenya; yet in its midst, unnoticed by those reading their teleprompters on the news channels, there exists an island the size of Britain where there is affordable bread for all.”

Mountain comments that [Secretary] Hillary Clinton “may call Eritrea a dictatorship and Ethiopia a democracy, but if one measures human rights by access to clean drinking water, food, shelter and medical care rather than stuffed ballot boxes and fixed elections, than the descriptions would have to be reversed.”

Iran this week illustrated the callous mendacity of the West, spouting nonsense while people suffer needlessly.

Western expediency
More than three million Somalis are at risk of starvation.

A World Bank report warns that over the past three months 29,000 children under the age of five have died of malnutrition and starvation in Somalia.

Iran addressed the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and presented the Islamic Republic’s seven-point proposal to end the crisis in the Horn of Africa nation.

The proposal calls for full support for FAO’s priorities in the Horn of Africa, including demands from aid-providers to save the property and livestock victims and to provide them with necessary seeds and agricultural inputs. It urges the Group of Eight (G8), especially France, which holds the rotating presidency of the G8, to implement the pledges G8 nations made in a January 2011 meeting at the FAO headquarters.

It calls on all countries to provide immediate financial and non-financial aid through appropriate channels for Somali people; calls on relevant world bodies to deliver aid supplies to the crisis-hit region.

The Iranian proposal demanded a more efficient use of the capacities of regional and international organizations, including the organization of Islamic cooperation; and it calls on the FAO to set up a special committee along with other international organizations to facilitate relief efforts in Somalia and issue transparent reports on the situation.

Under U.S. invasion

Staying in Northern Africa with the West’s brutal aggression, an article translated from the Portuguese in Pravda, warned against NATO in this, another, invaded country.

“It is urgent,” the article said, “that we oppose the perversity of NATO and the ineffectiveness of the UN and Secretary General Ban Ki-moon….

“We need all citizens of the world who love peace — without distinction of creed, ethnicity or political affiliation — to strongly condemn the sadists and despots destroying lives and families and countries. Without this, nothing will hold their troops of warriors from tomorrow threatening to spread to Syria directly….

“Social networks … must be used to bring together the anti-war protest.… Governments of ALBA, UNASUR [South American nations], the Rio Group, the Arab League, China, India and Russia need to unite their voices against the murderous attack on Libya and take political and economic action that will sabotage business with the powers involved until they cease their aggression, feel the need to negotiate a cease-fire, and let the Libyans decide their own future.…

“The ‘angry indignant ones’ of the world must unite together with progressive and leftist governments to stop all kinds of war or military aggression that, at this moment, are carried out by armies of mercenaries who murder those they are claiming to defend.…”

Under U.S. threat, occupation, aggression

Violence marking Afghan Independence Day
Violence protesting occupation

“Today is our independence day from Britain. They recognized our independence 92 years ago [and] today’s attack was marking that day. Now the British have invaded our country again and they will recognize our independence day again.”

At least 12 people died today in a wealthy neighborhood of Kabul. Among the dead were Afghan police officers, security guards and one Polish soldier. Two car bombs hit a house and the British Council office.

The British Council is an official organization partly funded by the British government to promote cultural relations [propaganda] in offices around the world. Britain deploys about 9,500 forces in Afghanistan and, after the United States, is the second-largest troop force attached to the foreign military aggression in Afghanistan. Following the Treaty of Rawalpindi, Afghanistan became independent from Britain on August 19, 1919.

Foreign troop casualties in Afghanistan have risen steadily since the war began in 2001. More than 2,683 U.S.-led soldiers, according to most reported official figures, have died in Afghanistan. Despite the presence of about 150,000 U.S.-led foreign forces, “the security situation remains fragile in Afghanistan.”

Later today, a U.S.-led foreign soldier died in Kabul “following an insurgent attack on the British Council.” NATO forces are experiencing “one of their deadliest periods.” This latest death brings the number of NATO forces killed in Afghanistan so far this year “to at least 402.”

Nearly 4,500 people have been killed in bomb attacks across Pakistan since 2007. Since late 2009, there has been a surge in militant bomb attacks in Pakistan. Though the U.S. invaded Afghanistan in 2001, on the pretext of curbing militancy and bringing peace and stability to the region, after nine years, the region remains unstable and militancy has expanded towards Pakistan.

Today, a powerful bomb blast ripped through a mosque in the Khyber tribal district of northwest Pakistan. Fifty-three people died and more than 130 suffered wounds. Initial reports said the roof of the mosque collapsed and many people were buried under the rubble. The injured are said to be in critical condition so the death toll will likely rise.

This attack occurred in a village that sits on a highway linking Pakistan to Afghanistan, a main conduit for the oil trucks and NATO convoys that are frequently the targets of militant attacks.

Dozens of Palestinians have suffered wounds in Israeli airstrikes of the past two days.

Today, Israeli warplanes struck several targets in the Palestinian territory, continuing an assault begun on Thursday, shortly after eight Israelis died near the Red Sea resort town of Eilat. In this latest Israeli airstrike on the besieged Gaza Strip, two Palestinians died, bringing death toll for the past two days to 13.  

Medical sources said Thursday’s attacks left two Palestinian children, aged three and 13, dead.

AMERICA United States
Nine people suffered heat effect, seven of whom were committed to hospital.

Thursday in the southern city of Atlanta, Georgia, during a job fair that attracted thousands, several people standing in a line estimated at 4,000 people lost consciousness from heat stroke.

In Pennsylvania, hundreds of foreign students taking part in a [Clinton] U.S. State Department cultural exchange summer program reportedly walked out of their job at a Hershey’s chocolate plant complaining that the jobs were exploitative and in many cases grossly failed to cover the costs they spent on visas in their home countries.

Casualty sites reporting August 19, 2011
(Accurate totals unknown)
The worldwide update on civilians killed in the Iraq war and occupation
Documented civilian deaths from violence
102,174 – 111,682 
Full analysis of the WikiLeaks’ Iraq War Logs may add 15,000 civilian deaths.  http://www.iraqbodycount.org/
ICasualties figures:
Coalition military fatalities AFGHANISTAN:
1, 745 United States
2, 684 Coalition

Coalition military fatalities IRAQ:
4,474 United States
4,792 Coalition


The Eisenhower Research Project’s June 2011 report “The Costs of War since 2001: Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan” notes in its executive summary, “Ten Years, 225,000 killed and more than $3.2 to 4 Trillion spent and obligated” up to the time of their reporting period. Even with this group’s rigor, the facts are out of date before the document goes to press. Any findings relative to the full costs of war remain but estimates.

“In nearly ten years,” the researchers say in their introduction, “the United States launched two major wars and engaged in the largest reorganization of its government since the Great Depression.”

Of course, we know the U.S. is engaged in far more than two major missions of aggression.  

“A new weapon, the remotely piloted ‘drone’ aircraft was sent to kill militants in Yemen and Pakistan,” the report says.

“More than 2.2 million Americans have gone to war and over a million have returned as veterans. Some who have returned have been honored, a small number have been tried for war crimes, and too many have committed suicide. Americans debated the costs of civil liberties lost at home and cringed at revelations of torture in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo.

“Nearly every government that goes to war underestimates its duration, neglects to tally all costs, and overestimates the political objectives that can be accomplished by the use of brute force.

“What we do know, without debate, is that the wars begun ten years ago have been tremendously painful for millions of people in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan, and the United States. The economical costs have been great as well.  Each succeeding month and year of war adds to the toll.” 

What the Eisenhower Research Project has found is factually accurate as far as it goes. However, there is a prior condition endemic in the construct and cast of U.S. foreign policy and practice that ensures repetition of “Nine-Eleven (or some other pretext for) wars” well into the future.

More fundamental is this: What the United States of America and its officials, cheerleaders, corporate partners are committing through U.S. foreign policy and its implementation is wrong. It is dead wrong. It is a deranged force unleashed repeatedly, without check upon peoples of the world.

It is a policy of the deranged — cracked, crazed — but a deliberate derangement in power.

It is pathology incarnate, not pathology in the honest sense of mental illness or breakdown; but an insidious, entitled, deliberate and deliberately threatening pathology. As of a mad dog choosing its madness and epitomizing this madness as the unquestioned standard of “right.”

It is not right.

This U.S. foreign policy of violence is against moral and ethical law and principle, contrary to any impartial standard of justice. It is lawless and criminally regressive, medieval. It is cause and personification of breakdown.

The U.S. foreign policy of violence is criminally counter to any truly progressive ethos. The ethic endemic in one after another U.S. regime, this precedent in violence, this madness, is wrong and it must be un-entrenched — exposed and uprooted.

Nonviolently and without allegiance to tribe or sect or party, with extraordinary courage (for the present day), we must un-entrench the United States’ violent ethic. We must do this if we the peoples of the world are to live as equals among equals, without aggression, with respect for one another — and together push forward a substantive movement concerned with liberating, uplifting, legitimating our egalitarianism (not supremacist, condescending, religionist “charity”), community and creativity of the human spirit. 

Sources and notes
“West needs Syria in turmoil,” August 15, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/194113.html

“Violence Spikes in Iraq as U.S. Considers Ways to Extend Occupation Past December Deadline,” August 19, 2011, Democracy Now

Raed Jarrar is an American born in Iraq, a blogger and political analyst based in Washington, D.C.

“Iraq denies extending US military stay,” August 19, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/194747.html
From destroyed Iraq to the Horn of Africa, the West creates suffering.

“An Island of Food in Africa’s Horn of Hunger”(Thomas C. Mountain, prepared for publication by Lisa Karpova, Pravda.Ru), http://english.pravda.ru/world/africa/09-08-2011/118693-Africas_Horn_of_Hunger-0/

Thomas C. Mountain is the only independent western journalist in the Horn of Africa, living and reporting from Eritrea since 2006

“Iran proposes solution to Somalia crisis,” August 19, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/194706.html

“It is Urgent to defend Libya from NATO terrorist states” (Carlos Maldonado, translated from the Portuguese version by Lisa Karpova), August 14, 2011, http://english.pravda.ru/world/africa/14-08-2011/118739-Urgent_to_defend_Libya-0/

“June 7, 2011 was the bloodiest day in Libya, as a result of the bombing by the North Atlantic terrorist organization (NATO). This coalition, for those still skeptical, was unmasked from its initial argument attacking a defenseless country. They shouted many times that they were defending his people from the repression of their leader, Muammar Qaddafi. This notion was constructed by the media who lie at the service of imperialism, who in truth only want to seize their oil and water in collaboration with the traitors of the National Transitional Council that is installed in Benghazi east of Tripoli.

“Thirty dead civilians are the new victims. Is it for the civilians that they are launching these bombings? They are supposed to be humanitarian — these pirates? As with the innocent victims killed by drones in Iraq and Afghanistan and Pakistan • Accidents not covered up • Miscalculation? In spite of this truth, as large as the sun, the world remains unaffected, allowing these psychopaths to do what they want with people who are under this vicious attack.”

“Britain reacts to Taliban attacks in Kabul,” August 19, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/194658.html

“U.S.-led soldier killed in Afghan war,” August 19, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/194692.html

“Bomb blast kills 53 in NW Pakistan,” August 19, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/194670.html
“Mosque attacked in Pakistani tribal region during prayers, at least 40 killed,” August 19, 2011, http://english.pravda.ru/news/world/19-08-2011/118802-Pakistan-0/

“2 Gazans killed in Israeli airstrike,” August 19, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/194750.html

“Foreign Students in Exchange Program Walk out of American Jobs amid Claims of Labor Exploitation,” Democracy Now, August 19, 2011,   http://www.democracynow.org/2011/8/19/headlines
“The Costs of War since 2001: Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan
Costs of War,” Eisenhower Study Group, Eisenhower Research Project, June 2011, Executive Summary, http://costsofwar.org/sites/default/files/Costs%20of%20War%20Executive%20Summary.pdf

“To date, there has been no comprehensive accounting of the costs of the United States’ wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan. The goal of the Costs of War project has been to outline a broad understanding of the domestic and international costs and consequences of those wars. The Eisenhower Research Project based at Brown University assembled a team that includes economists, anthropologists, political scientists, legal experts, and a physician to do this analysis.

KPFA Special “The Costs of War,” Thursday August 11, 2011, written by Peter Phillips World News Aug 8, 2011, Mickey Huff and Peter Phillips, co-hosts of Project Censored Show on Pacifica at KPFA host a live three and half hour special on the Costs of War for the summer fund drive. The show can be heard live on 94.1 FM in the San Francisco Bay Area and Fresno and on www.KPFA.org. The Program focuses on the recent Brown University study on the socio-economic impact of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and related subjects from scholars worldwide. http://costsofwar.org/


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