Welcome to Bennett's Study

From the Author of No Land an Island and Unconscionable

Pondering Alphabetic SOLUTIONS: Peace, Politics, Public Affairs, People Relations




UNCONSCIONABLE: http://www.unconscionableusforeignrelations.com/ http://www.unconscionableusforeignrelations.com/author/ http://www.unconscionableusforeignrelations.com/book/ http://www.unconscionableusforeignrelations.com/excerpt/ http://www.unconscionableusforeignrelations.com/contact/ http://www.unconscionableusforeignrelations.com/buy/ SearchTerm=Carolyn+LaDelle+Bennett http://www2.xlibris.com/books/webimages/wd/113472/buy.htm http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/08UNCONSCIONABLE/prweb12131656.htm http://bookstore.xlibris.com/AdvancedSearch/Default.aspx? http://bookstore.xlibris.com/Products/SKU-000757788/UNCONSCIONABLE.aspx


Monday, December 19, 2011

Toxic entrenchment — U.S. in Iraq story

U.S. State Department staffer Peter Van Buren’s account in We meant well: How I helped lose the battle for the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people is illustrative of an endemic pattern of criminal recklessness in U.S. foreign relations.
Excerpting, editing by Carolyn Bennett

“This story really began in the early 1990s,” says the Foreign Service Officer who had been posted in Iraq with an embedded-with-military U.S. State Department  Provisional Reconstruction Team (ePRT) before writing We Meant Well. From that time forward, Van Buren writes, “Iraq had been continually under siege by the United States. It was a seamless epic as the war of 1990-91 continued through the non-fly zones and the sanctions of the nineties — to be capped off by the 2003 invasion and the ensuing years of occupation.

“During Desert Storm, we [U.S. and allies] destroyed large portions of Iraq’s infrastructure. We had gone out of our way to make a mess, using clever tools such as cruise missiles that spat metallic fibers to short out entire electrical systems we would have to reconstruct.

“In the years that followed Desert Storm, three [four] U.S. Presidents bombed and rocketed Iraq, running up the bill we would later have to pay.

“Sanctions meanwhile kept [Iraqi President] Saddam [Hussein] fat and happy on black-market oil profits while chiseling away Baghdad’s cosmopolitan First World veneer and plunging most of Iraq’s population into poverty.…

“The Script for the 2003 invasion did not include an extended reconstruction effort.” What the Americans imagined, Van Buren says, was a greeting “as liberators like in post-D-day France with cheerful natives rushing out to offer our spunky troops bottles of wine and frisky daughters.”

63 billion, still counting

However, “the reconstruction of Iraq was the largest nation-building program in history, dwarfing in cost, size, and complexity even those undertaken after World War II to rebuild Germany and Japan,” Van Buren writes. “At a cost to the U.S. taxpayer of over $63 billion and counting, the plan was lavishly funded, yet, as government inspectors found, the efforts were characterized from the beginning by pervasive waste and inefficiency, mistaken judgments, flawed policies, and structural weaknesses” [Chapter 1 “Help Wanted, No experience necessary,” pp. 3. 5-6].

Reconstruction a lot like the war itself — almost existential, he says.  
We fought the war because we were in Iraq to fight the war.
We ran projects because we had money for projects [Chapter “Midcourse correction,” p. 149].

Burning billions

“What the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) called a ‘legacy of waste’ in an August 2010 report included —
A $40 million prison that was never opened,
A $104 million failed sewer system in Fallujah,
A $171 million hospital in southern Iraq (that Laura Bush ‘opened’ in 2004 but that still has never seen a patient), and
More totaling $5 billion

“Audits resulted in the restitution of only $70 million worth of embezzled funds, practically a rounding error, given the $63 billion spent overall on reconstruction” [Chapter “Everyone was looking the other way,” p. 214].

Vatican-size Emerald City U.S. Embassy

“The World’s Biggest Embassy” sits on “104 acres with twenty-two buildings, thousands of staff members, and a $116 million vehicle inventory.” Physically, the U.S. Embassy in Iraq was “larger than the Vatican” — a sign, Van Buren says, “of our commitment, at least our commitment to excess.

Vice President Biden
U.S. Embassy
“‘Along with the Great Wall of China,’” he quotes the U.S. Ambassador, “‘it’s one of those things you can see with the naked eye from outer space.’

“The new Embassy compound isolated American leadership at first physically and soon mentally as well. It generated its own electricity, purified its own water from the nearby Tigris, and processed its won sewage, hermetically sealed off from Iraq.
Vice President Biden
U.S. Embassy

“In the process of deposing Saddam, we [the United States Government] placed our new seat of power right on top of his [Saddam Hussein’s] old one…. Saddam’s old palaces in the Green Zone were repurposed as offices; Saddam’s old jails became our new jails. …The place you went to visit political prisoners who opposed Saddam [had become] the place you went to look for relatives who opposed the Americans [Chapter “The Embassy laws, where the grass is always greener,”154-155].

Notes and sources
We meant well: How I helped lose the battle for the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people Peter Van Buren. New York: Metropolitan Books Henry Holt and Company, 2011

ePRT: embedded Provisional Reconstruction Team
FOB: Forward Operating Base
SIGIR: Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction
FSO: Foreign Service Officer

Author Peter Van Buren at the time of the book’s publication had served with the 
U.S. Foreign Service for more than 23 years. The book jacket notes say, Peter Van Buren has served overseas as a State Department Foreign Service Officer for more than two decades in places such as Thailand, Japan, and Iraq, among other places.

Bush dynasty through Barack Obama

Occupied Persian Gulf 
Persian Gulf War (1990–91)
The international conflict that was triggered by Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait on August 2, 1990.

Iraq’s leader, Saddam Hussein, ordered the invasion and occupation of Kuwait with the apparent aim of acquiring that nation’s large oil reserves, canceling a large debt Iraq owed Kuwait, and expanding Iraqi power in the region.

On August 3, the United Nations Security Council called for Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait; on August 6, the council imposed a worldwide ban on trade with Iraq. (The Iraqi government responded by formally annexing Kuwait on August 8)

Occupied Kuwait
Iraq’s invasion and the potential threat it then posed to Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil producer and exporter, prompted the United States and its western European NATO allies to rush troops to Saudi Arabia to deter a possible attack. Egypt and several other Arab nations joined the anti-Iraq coalition and contributed forces to the military buildup, known as Operation Desert Shield. Iraq meanwhile built up its occupying army in Kuwait to about 300,000 troops.

The Persian Gulf War began on January 16–17, 1991, with a massive U.S.-led air offensive against Iraq that continued throughout the war. Over the next few weeks, this sustained aerial bombardment, named Operation Desert Storm, destroyed Iraq’s air defenses before attacking its communications networks, government buildings, weapons plants, oil refineries, and bridges and roads. By mid February, the allies had shifted their air attacks to Iraq’s forward ground forces in Kuwait and southern Iraq, destroying their fortifications and tanks.

Operation Desert Saber, a massive allied ground offensive, was launched northward from northeastern Saudi Arabia into Kuwait and southern Iraq on February 24; and within three days, Arab and U.S. forces had retaken Kuwait city in the face of crumbling Iraqi resistance.

Meanwhile, the main U.S. armored thrust drove into Iraq some 120 miles (200 km) west of Kuwait and attacked Iraq’s armored reserves from the rear. By February 27, these forces had destroyed most of Iraq’s elite Republican Guard units after the latter had tried to make a stand south of Al-Baṣrah in southeastern Iraq. By the time that U.S. President George H.W. Bush declared a cease-fire for February 28, Iraqi resistance had completely collapsed.

Occupied Iraq
No official figures for Iraqi military operation

Estimates of the number of Iraqi troops in the Kuwait theatre range from 180,000 to 630,000; estimates of Iraqi military deaths range from 8,000 to 100,000.

By contrast, the allies lost about 300 troops in the conflict.

The terms of the peace were, inter alia [among other things], that Iraq [should] recognize Kuwait’s sovereignty and divest itself of all weapons of mass destruction (i.e., nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons) and all missiles with ranges exceeding 90 miles (150 km). Pending complete compliance, economic sanctions would continue.

Post-U.S.-led Gulf War on Iraq

[KURDS: Estimated to be the fourth largest ethnic group in the Middle East after Arabs, Turks, and Persians, important Kurdish minorities are in Iraq, Iran, Turkey, and Syria, and Iraq’s Kurds are concentrated in the relatively inaccessible mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan, which is roughly contiguous with Kurdish regions in those other countries. Kurds constitute a separate and distinctive cultural group. They are mostly Sunni Muslims who speak one of two dialects of the Kurdish language, an Indo-European language closely related to Modern Persian.]

No-fly action
Kurds in the north of the country and Shīites in the south rose in a rebellion that was suppressed by Saddam with great brutality.

The United States and Britain then prohibited Iraqi aircraft from operating in designated ‘no-fly’ zones over the areas in conflict. Other allies gradually left the coalition but U.S. and British aircraft continued to patrol Iraqi skies and UN inspectors sought to guarantee that all illicit weapons were destroyed.

Operation Desert Fox  and no-fly zones

Iraq’s failure to cooperate with inspectors led in 1998 to a brief resumption of hostilities (Operation Desert Fox). Iraq thereafter refused to readmit inspectors into the country, and regular exchanges of fire between Iraqi forces and U.S. and British aircraft over the no-fly zones continued into the 21st century.

Rising U.S./UK aggression

In 2002, the United States sponsored a new UN resolution calling for the return of weapons inspectors, who then reentered Iraq in November.
Member states of the UN Security Council differed in their opinion of the degree to which Iraq had cooperated with inspections.

2003 U.S./UK re-invasion of Iraq, “The Iraq War”

The United States and the United Kingdom had previously begun to mass troops on Iraq’s border. On March 17, 2003, the U.S. and UK dispensed with further negotiations.

[Pattern similar to that used this year by the U.S. and UK before invading Libya]
U.S. President George W. Bush — seeking no further UN endorsement — issued an ultimatum demanding that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein step down from power and leave Iraq within 48 hours or face war.

President George W. Bush even suggested that if the Iraqi leader did leave Iraq, U.S. forces might still be necessary to stabilize the region and to hunt for weapons of mass destruction.

When Saddam Hussein refused to leave, the Untied States and allied forces launched an attack on Iraq on March 20 and thus began what became known as the Iraq War.


            41st     George H.W. Bush 1989–93
            42nd    William Jefferson (Bill) Clinton [William Jefferson Clinton, original name:  William Jefferson Blythe III] 1993–2001
            43rd     George W. Bush 2001–09
            44th     Barack Obama 2009–


Bennett's books are available in New York State independent bookstores: Lift Bridge Bookshop: www.liftbridgebooks.com [Brockport, NY]; Sundance Books: http://www.sundancebooks.com/main.html [Geneseo, NY]; Mood Makers Books: www.moodmakersbooks.com [City of Rochester, NY]; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center: www.enlightenthedog.org/ [Buffalo, NY]; Burlingham Books – ‘Your Local Chapter’: http://burlinghambooks.com/ [Perry, NY 14530]; The Bookworm: http://www.eabookworm.com/ [East Aurora, NY] • See also: World Pulse: Global Issues through the eyes of Women: http://www.worldpulse.com/ http://www.worldpulse.com/pulsewire http://www.facebook.com/#!/bennetts2ndstudy

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Good people melting ‘democracy’ glacier — Arundhati Roy

Siachen Glacier 
source for part of 
Indus River System
Sidebar remembrance
“I really do inhabit a system in which words are 
capable of shaking the entire structure of government 
where words 
can prove mightier 
than ten military divisions” 
[VÁCLAV HAVEL, 1936-2011]

Good People's Melting-Glacier Democracy — Arundhati Roy
Editing by Carolyn Bennett

“…What happens once democracy has been used up,” Arundhati Roy asks — when it has been hollowed out and emptied of meaning? What happens when each of its institutions has metastasized into something dangerous — ‘Democracy’ [fused with] the free market into a single predatory organism with a thin, constricted imagination that revolves almost entirely around the idea of maximizing profit?

“… Can governments whose very survival depends on immediate, extractive, short-term gain provide what we need today, for the sake of the survival of this planet: long-term vision?

Will democracy — “the sacred answer to our short-term hopes and prayers, the protector of our individual freedoms and nurturer of our avaricious dreams — turn out to be the endgame for the human race?”

“…Perhaps the story of the Siachen Glacier, the highest battlefield in the world, is the most appropriate metaphor for the insanity of our times.

“Thousands of Indian and Pakistani soldiers have been deployed there, enduring chill winds and temperatures that dip to minus 40 degrees Celsius. Of the hundreds who have died there, many have died just from the elements.

Wars, Geopolitical Conflict zones
Indus River Basin
India, Kashmir, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China
“The glacier has become a garbage dump, littered with the detritus of war — thousands of empty artillery shells, empty fuel drums, ice axes, old boots, tents, and every other kind of waste that thousands of warring human beings generate. The garbage remains intact, perfectly preserved at those icy temperatures, a pristine monument to human folly.

“While the Indian and Pakistani governments spend billions of dollars on weapons and the logistics of high-altitude warfare, the battlefield has begun to melt.

“… It has shrunk to about half its size. The melting has less to do with the military standoff than with people far away, on the other side of the world, living the good life.

They are good people who believe in peace, free speech, and in human rights.

They live in thriving democracies whose governments sit on the UN Security Council and whose economies depend heavily on the export of war and the sale of weapons to countries like India and Pakistan (and Rwanda, Sudan, Somalia, the Republic of Congo, Iraq, Afghanistan … the list is long).

“The glacial melt will cause severe floods on the subcontinent, and eventually severe drought that will affect the lives of millions of people. That will give us even more reasons to fight. We will need more weapons.  Who knows? That sort of consumer confidence may be just what the world needs to get over the current recession. 

“Then everyone in the thriving democracies will have an even better life — and the glaciers will melt even faster.”

Sources and notes

“What have we done to democracy? (Arundhati Roy, September 28, 2009, at Third World Traveler, http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Arundhati_Roy/WhatHaveWeDoneDemocracy.html

India-born Arundhati Roy is an author and lecturer. Among her books are Listening to Grasshoppers: Fields Notes on Democracy and An Ordinary Person's Guide to Empire

Siachen Glacier: One of the world’s longest mountain glaciers lying in the Karakoram Range system of Kashmir near the India–Pakistan border, extending for 44 miles (70 kilometers) from north-northwest to south-southeast. It has a number of fast-flowing surface streams and at least 12 medial moraines. It is the source for the 50-mile-long Nubra River, a tributary of the Shyok, which is part of the Indus River system.

The United Nations Security Council is composed of five permanent members: China, France, Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States

The current ten non-permanent members (with year of term's end) are:

Austria (2010), Japan (2010), Turkey (2010), Bosnia and Herzegovina (2011), Lebanon (2011) Uganda (2010), Brazil (2011) Mexico (2010), Gabon (2011) Nigeria (2011) 

Britannica images (Siachen Glacier)
Photo: The upper Indus River, between Skārdu and the confluence with the Gilgit River, northern Pakistan, Jaroslav Poncar/Bruce Coleman, Ltd.
Map: The Indus River basin and its drainage network, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.
News Notes:


Czech Republic
Havel (b. October 5, 1936, in Prague) was a writer and dramatist; one of the first Spokesmen for Charter 77, a leading Figure of the Velvet Revolution of 1989, the previous President of Czechoslovakia, the first president of the Czech Republic.

Václav Havel grew up in a well-known entrepreneurial and intellectual family closely linked to the cultural and political events in Czechoslovakia from the 1920’s to the 1940’s.

The intellectual tradition of his family compelled Václav Havel to pursue the humanitarian values of Czech culture, which were harshly suppressed in the 1950’s. Following his return from two years of military service, he worked as a stage technician — first at Divadlo ABC, and then, in 1960, at Divadlo Na zabradli. From 1962 until 1966, he studied Drama by correspondence at the Faculty of Theatre of the Academy of Musical Arts, and completed his studies with a commentary on the play ‘Eduard,’ which became the basis of his own ‘The Increased Difficulty of Concentration.’

Because of political links, the communists did not allow Havel to study formally after having completed required schooling in 1951. In the first part of the 1950's, a young Václav Havel entered into a four-year apprenticeship as a chemical laboratory assistant and simultaneously took evening classes to complete his secondary education (which he did in 1954). For political reasons he was not accepted into any post-secondary school with a humanities program; therefore, he opted to study at the Faculty of Economics of Czech Technical University. He left this program after two years. http://vaclavhavel.cz/index.php?sec=1&id=1&setln=2

Quote attributed to VÁCLAV HAVEL, http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/v/vaclav_havel.html#ixzz1gvFSymbm



Bennett's books are available in New York State independent bookstores: Lift Bridge Bookshop: www.liftbridgebooks.com [Brockport, NY]; Sundance Books: http://www.sundancebooks.com/main.html [Geneseo, NY]; Mood Makers Books: www.moodmakersbooks.com [City of Rochester, NY]; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center: www.enlightenthedog.org/ [Buffalo, NY]; Burlingham Books – ‘Your Local Chapter’: http://burlinghambooks.com/ [Perry, NY 14530]; The Bookworm: http://www.eabookworm.com/ [East Aurora, NY] • See also: World Pulse: Global Issues through the eyes of Women: http://www.worldpulse.com/ http://www.worldpulse.com/pulsewire http://www.facebook.com/#!/bennetts2ndstudy

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Washington's WARS far from over

Brits Sunday Dec 18
West's attack on Iran
Continuing carnage in Middle East
This week's protests, commentary on lies
Re-reporting, editing by Carolyn Bennett

U.S. in Iraq

 “Fifty-seven (57) percent of all Iraqis lived in slums,” Van Buren cites a 2009 UN report. “In the worst areas, such as Maysan and Diyala, more than 80 percent lived in slums.” 

Before the 2003 U.S. invasion, “the average number of slum dwellers in Iraq was 20 percent.”

The foreign service officer wrote, “After years of seeking a military solution, followed by years of building ineffective privies through our embedded (with military) Provisional Reconstruction Teams (abbreviated ePRTs), we [the U.S.] simply declared victory and started to pack up.

Van Buren said one of the sheiks commented that the U.S. “‘dug a deep hole in 2003 and now are walking away leaving it empty.’ America sneezed and Iraq caught the cold.”

Van Buren seems to excuse the inexcusable not only with his book title “We meant well”; but he concludes, “Hubris stalked us; we suffered from arrogance and we embraced ignorance.… [W]e lacked the courage to be responsible. It was almost as if a new word were needed, disresponsible, a step beyond irresponsible, meaning you should have been the one to take responsibility but shucked it off.”

This week as the Nobel laureate president claimed, “mission accomplished,” many reports and commentators assessed the continuing carnage.

Iraqis protest U.S. wall
Women suffer most

The President of the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq, Yanar Mohammed, said Friday on the Democracy Now program, “Iraqi cities are now much more destroyed than they were” before the U.S. invasion and years of foreign occupation. “All the major buildings are still destroyed. If you drive in the streets of the capital, your car cannot survive more than one month, because all the streets are still broken. There was no reconstruction for the buildings, for the cities.”

Because of the policies that were imposed in Iraq, Yanar Mohammed said, “we have turned into a society of 99 percent poor and 1 percent rich.… Destruction is everywhere. Poverty is for all the people except the 1 percent who live inside the Green Zone.”

More than one million women have been widowed, some reports give higher figures. “These widows try to survive on a salary of $150” but, because of internal displacement, most widows “cannot get this salary.” Yet the 1 percent of Iraqis living in the Green Zone — where there was a loss $40 billion from the annual budget — “drowns in a sea of money.” After nine years, she said, “we have the most corrupt government in the world and nobody is accountable for it.

“We are divided into a society of Shias, who are ruling, and Sunnis, who want to get divided from the country of Iraq. We are now on the verge of the division of country according to religions and ethnicities; it has already happened.

The biggest losers are the women. “Poverty and discrimination against women has become the norm.” Under the new constitution “are articles referring to the Islamic Sharīah according to which “women are worth half a man legally and one-quarter of a man socially in a marriage.”

Her organization, the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq, she says, meets women daily “who are vulnerable to being bought and sold in the flesh market.”

Iraqis, she said, “are living in a huge military camp in which a million Iraqi men are recruited into the army.” In addition, there are “almost 50,000 militia members.”

Irrevocable Malevolence

UNHCR image
In an article republished at Press TV, Chris Floyd (author of Empire Burlesque) observes much more forcefully that the U.S. president, in claiming an end to the war on Iraq, uttered not a single word “about the thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of Iraqis killed by this ‘fulfilled mission,’ this ‘extraordinary achievement,’ this ‘success.’

“These human beings — these sons and daughters, fathers, mothers, kinfolk, lovers, friends — cannot be acknowledged; they cannot be perceived. It must be as if they had never existed. It must be as if they are not dead now.

U.S. in Iraq
“This divorce from reality is beyond description. It is the all-pervasiveness of the disassociation that obscures its utter, its obvious insanity. There is something intensely primitive and infantile in the reductive, navel-gazing, self-blinding monomania of the U.S. psyche today.…

“The Iraq War has not ended. Not for the dead, not for their survivors, not for the displaced, the maimed, the lost, the suffering, not for all of us who live in the degraded, destabilized, impoverished world it has spawned, and not for the future generations who will live with the ever-widening, ever-deepening consequences of this irrevocable malevolence.”

Carnage over there, simultaneously over here

Local U.S. municipalities bankrupt
Federal shutdown 3
School closings

Institute for Policy Studies vice chair Saul Landau spoke in interview this week about U.S. breakdown and Americans’ denial.

“There is a level of denial in the ruling group of Americans, the political class and Congress and in the administration,” Landau said. “They are denying climate change. They are denying the extent to which the economy has tanked and really is close to going under in certain places, or indeed, has gone under; and they continue to equate the Republic, which is in terrible shape. We see empire: look at the defense budget that passed, $700 billion not counting the money that goes for various wars, for nuclear weapons, for the CIA, all of that adds up to almost a trillion dollars.”
 Military tactics

Money goes for a new fighter plane nobody wants and absolutely nobody thinks is necessary — all the while U.S. schools are closing, people have no access to health care,  the cushion people used to be able to fall back on has diminished, for the really poor it no longer exists and they are falling onto hard concrete.

“The system is collapsing,” he said, “and government officials and those running for office are not facing it. … They want to cut, but not the military — a military power greater than any in the world — because the military stands for the empire.”

Landau says, “There is a disconnect, [and] we have now found a new enemy, Iran. All of a sudden Iran is going to be the bane of the new cold war, which is totally ridiculous.”

British activists call for end to hostility, provocation against Iran

Today protesters dressed in white gather at the Bank of Ideas next to Finsbury Square, make banners, share ideas in preparation for tomorrow’s protests.

On Sunday, Britain’s peace activists will hold a peace march in protest of ‘the British Government’s aggressive, illegal, and dangerous policy toward Iran.’ The anti-war protesters will also protest against ‘the unjust war in Afghanistan, which is at its bloodiest after ten years.’

“The protesters declared that the British government’s involvement in wars around the world is ‘only in the interest of the 1 percent — a government cabinet of millionaires and their friends in the oil and arms companies.’”

Announcing protest plans was Britain’s most prominent campaigner against unjust wars, the Stop the War Coalition.

Oil Rig - Iran
From Tehran, the Director of the Iranian Armed Forces Center for Strategic Studies, Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani, has restated Tehran’s view of a dangerous Western hypocrisy: that “the West and the U.S. are the founders and sponsors of terrorism in the world and use terror tactics against their opponents.”

The U.S. is using the imposition of sanctions on Iranian military commanders as a means of exerting “psychological pressure and for propaganda purposes.”

Iran, Iraq
Afghanistan, Pakistan
Saudi Arabia
The officer was referring to recent sanctions imposed on Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of Iran’s Armed Forces Major General Hassan Firouzabadi and Deputy Commander of the Ground Forces of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Brigadier General Abdullah Araqi.

Press TV today is reporting Shamkhani saying, “‘Given that both commander Firouzabadi and Araqi on the list of [individuals targeted by] U.S. sanctions, such a measure (imposing a ban) is questionable.’” Criticizing Western double standards regarding terrorism, he said, “‘Some Western countries, which promote terrorism and sponsor assassination, accuse other countries and their officials of terrorism.’

“As signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of the IAEA,” the news article reports, “Tehran has stood by its right to develop and acquire nuclear technology meant for peaceful purposes.”

Continuing to terrorize Afghanistan and Pakistan
Afghan woman's body


A pregnant Afghan woman died and four other women suffered wounds today when U.S. forces raided a house in Afghanistan’s southeastern Paktia Province.

Two sons of the director of the counter-narcotics department of Paktia Province, Hasibullah Ahmadzai, were reportedly detained during the raid.

The United States invaded Afghanistan in 2001 under the pretext of eradicating Taliban militants. Since the invasion countless civilians have died or been injured. The security situation remains fragile in Afghanistan despite (or because of) the presence of nearly 150,000 U.S.-led foreign forces.

bombed minibus Afghanistan
The slaughter of civilians has caused deep anger among Afghans and prompted violent demonstrations throughout the country.

Yesterday in Kabul, a police station came under attack. A bomber blew himself up at a police station in Kotai Sangi area. In a second incident, a group of armed militants broke into police headquarters and detonated an explosive.

On Thursday, at least two Afghan soldiers died and two others were wounded when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb in Afghanistan’s northwestern province of Badghis.

Also on Thursday at least four civilians died and eight others were injured when a roadside bomb exploded in Afghanistan’s western province of Farah. A minibus came upon the explosive device on a road in the Malai area of Pur Chaman district in the province.

On Wednesday a roadside bomb had killed an anti-Taliban district governor and two of his bodyguards in the southern Helmand Province.

Roadside bombs and improvised explosive devices are reportedly the most lethal weapons Taliban militants have used against foreign troops, Afghan forces, and civilians.

Demanding end to assassination drones, breach of sovereignty

On Thursday at the Pakistan Embassy in Washington, Pakistani officials reportedly made a presentation about the November 26 NATO cross border attacks that left Pakistani officers dead. 

Senior Pakistani officials showed relevant material that they said could prove what happened in NATO’s deadly assault on a pair of Pakistan’s army border outposts at the Afghan border was no mistake.

“The evidence presented to international journalists also showed that the shooting by helicopter gunships continued for an hour after NATO forces told Pakistani officials at the posts that it would stop.”

Acting Pakistani envoy Iffat Imran Gardezi said, “‘We want to offer our view of the incident as we see it.’”

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said Islamabad will continue blocking of NATO convoys.

Meeting on Friday with the U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter, Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani said that the United States had to guarantee that it would commit no more breaches of the country’s borders in the future.

The United States, Gilani said, “must respect Pakistan’s red lines as well as the Central Asian nation’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Pakistan has closed the border crossings the Western military alliance uses to send fuel and other supplies to the U.S.-led forces in landlocked Afghanistan. Around 40 percent of the non-lethal supplies travel across the Pakistani soil.

On Thursday in the eastern city of Lahore, hundreds of Pakistanis took to the streets to voice their anger over the NATO cross-border airstrikes that killed two dozen Pakistani soldiers in that late November attack. NATO helicopters and fighter jets on November 26 attacked two military border posts in northwest Pakistan and killed 24 Pakistani troops.
Protesters continued their chants of anti-U.S. slogans. They burned NATO in effigy and lit candles to mourn for Pakistani soldiers who died in the attack.

Britain interrogated on collusion

In the face of many reports indicating that UK intelligence has assisted U.S. CIA with providing  locations of alleged militants later targeted by U.S. drones, law firm Leigh Day and Co, acting on behalf of Noor Khan, have called on British Foreign Secretary William Hague “to clarify the role of the British intelligence in CIA drone attacks.… Reveal how British intelligence has assisted America’s ‘targeted killing’ campaign in Pakistan.”

Together with the killing of hundreds of Pakistani civilians, among the dead was Noor Kahn’s father. He was a victim of U.S. drone strikes in northwest Pakistan.

 “‘Unless it is categorically denied that the UK continues to pass such information to the U.S. government forces,’” said the  head of the law firm’s human rights department, “‘we require a clear policy statement of the arrangements which are in place and circumstances in which the UK considers it to be lawful to do so.’”

Libya- War crime?

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Luis Moreno-Ocampo, says there are serious suspicions that the death of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi may be a war crime.

On October 20, eight months into the revolution that put an end to his 42-year-long rule, “Revolutionary fighters found Muammar Qaddafi hiding inside a concrete sewage pipe in his hometown of Sirte.” Videos taken at the time show the Libyan leader injured but alive and surrounded by a frenzied crowd. “He is hustled through revolutionaries and beaten to the ground on several occasions.” Qaddafi “then disappears in the crush and the crackle of gunfire.”

On October 25, Qaddafi and his slain son, Mu’tassim, are buried in a secret location in the North African country.

Somalia hospital
Displaced people
Hardest hit in worst drought in the Horn of Africa in six decades.

This week in a 12-hour period, 50 children died in refugee camps between Mogadishu and Afgoye. Cholera and malaria had broken out in the camps of this famine-stricken country where there are insufficient medicines to help those stricken with diseases. Close to 580 children went to hospitals.

Drought and famine have affected millions of people across Somalia, Kenya, and Ethiopia. United Nations reports say a quarter of Somalia’s 9.9 million people are either internally displaced or living outside the country as refugees.

Reports have shown that the Somali people have also come under attack by U. S. drones.

Cairo October 
Protests against army persist

Yesterday in Cairo two people died in Egyptian army rulers’ crack down on protesters who are demanding an end to military rule in the country. Close to a hundred people were injured.

Los Angeles immigrants
Activists told reporters that the clashes originally erupted on Thursday evening after the police beat up a young man participating in a sit-in protest outside the cabinet building.

Egyptian protesters accuse the military junta of carrying on with practices used by the former ruler, Hosni Mubarak. They are calling for his successor, the Supreme Council of Armed Forces, to hand over power to a civilian government.

Protests and military-style crackdowns also continued this week in Yemen, Bahrain, Syria, and in the United States. 

Persistent casualties of persistent war

“Despite the conventions of modern warfare that forbid armies to target civilians,” Ann Jones writes of the unhealthiness of war, it is civilians who die in far greater numbers than soldiers.

“The more high-tech the army, the more sophisticated its weaponry, the safer the soldiers; but that shield does not extend to civilians.

“In fact, in many conflicts today, ruthless leaders use an effective strategy to destroy the civil society and culture of the enemy: a deliberate but unacknowledged war against women.”

Sources and notes


We meant well: How I helped lose the battle for the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people
Peter Van Buren. New York: Metropolitan Books Henry Holt and Company, 2011, pp. 253-254

“Iraqi Women’s Activist Rebuffs U.S. Claims of a Freer Iraq: ‘This is not a Democratic Country,’” December 16, 2011, http://www.democracynow.org/2011/12/16/iraqi_womens_activist_rebuffs_us_claims

Sharīah (also spelled sharia): the fundamental religious concept of Islam, namely its law, systematized during the 2nd and 3rd centuries of the Muslim era (8th–9th centuries AD).

“The Costs of War: Tens of Thousands Dead, Billions Spent, and a Country Torn Apart,” December 16, 2011, http://www.democracynow.org/2011/12/16/iraqi_womens_activist_rebuffs_us_claims

“War without end, amen: the reality of America’s aggression against Iraq” (Chris Floyd, Empire Burlesque, December 17, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/usdetail/216254.html

Further excerpt from Chris Floyd’s article

“In March 2003, the United States of America launched an entirely unprovoked act of military aggression against a nation that had not attacked it and posed no threat to it.

“This act led directly to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people. It drove millions more from their homes, and plunged the entire conquered nation into suffering, fear, hatred and deprivation.

“This is the reality of what actually happened in Iraq: aggression, slaughter, atrocity, ruin. It is the only reality; there is no other. Moreover, it was done deliberately, knowingly, willingly.

“Indeed, the bipartisan American power structure spent more than $1 trillion to make it happen. It is a record of unspeakable savagery, an abomination, an outpouring of the most profound and filthy moral evil.

 “Line up the bodies of the children, the thousands of children — the infants, the toddlers, the school kids — whose bodies were torn to pieces, burned alive or riddled with bullets during the American invasion and occupation of Iraq. Line them up in the desert sand, walk past them, mile after mile, all those twisted corpses, those scraps of torn flesh and seeping viscera, those blank faces, those staring eyes fixed forever on nothingness.

“This is the reality of what happened in Iraq; there is no other reality. …You cannot make it otherwise. It has already happened. It always will have happened. You can of course ignore it. This is the path chosen by the overwhelming majority of Americans, and by the entirety of the bipartisan elite. This involves a pathological degree of disassociation from reality.”


Chris Floyd is an U.S. journalist whose work has appeared in print and online in sources including The Nation, Counterpunch, Columbia Journalism Review, the Christian Science Monitor, Il Manifesto, the Moscow Times and many others. He is the author of Empire Burlesque: High Crimes and Low Comedy in the Bush Imperium; and co-founder and editor of the ‘Empire Burlesque’ political blog.

“War Without End, Amen: The Reality of America’s Aggression Against Iraq” (Chris Floyd), Friday, December 16, 2011, http://www.chris-floyd.com/component/content/frontpage

“Divide widening between US rich, poor — The ‘incredibly unequal top-down distribution of wealth’ in the U.S. has formed an elite group who controls most aspects of the country’s affluence, according to analysts,” December 16, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/216090.html

Saul Landau is an internationally known scholar, author, commentator, and filmmaker on foreign and domestic policy issues. In 2008, the Chilean government presented him with the Bernardo O’Higgins Award for his human rights work. Landau has written fourteen books. He is Professor Emeritus at California State University, Pomona and a senior Fellow at and Vice Chair of the Institute for Policy Studies, http://saullandau.com/

“UK protesters urge policy shift on Iran,” December 17, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/216215.html
“‘U.S. uses sanctions as psywar tactic,’” December 17, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/216244.html

“U.S. forces kill pregnant Afghan woman, December 17, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/216210.html
“Police station bombed in Afghan capital,” December 16, 2011,  http://www.presstv.ir/detail/216066.html
“Bomb blast kills 2 Afghan soldiers,” December 15, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/215858.html
“Roadside bomb kills 4 Afghan civilians,” December 15, 2011,  http://www.presstv.ir/detail/215850.html

“Pakistan: NATO raids were deliberate” (citing Christian Science Monitor reporting), December 16, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/215958.html
“Pakistan: U.S. must heed our red lines,” December 16, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/216099.html
“Pakistanis protest deadly NATO attacks,” December 16, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/215973.html

“Britain questioned over CIA drone strike” [“‘CIA drone strikes are killing hundreds - if not thousands - of civilians and destabilizing Pakistan’”], December 17, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/216274.html


“Qaddafi killing could be war crime: ICC,” December 16, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/215990.html

“Diseases kill 50 more Somali children,” December 15, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/215815.html

“Two protesters killed in Cairo violence,” December 16, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/216089.html

Jones, Ann
War is not over when it’s over: women speak out from the ruins of war, Ann Jones, New York: Metropolitan books, 2010, p. 7


Bennett's books are available in New York State independent bookstores: Lift Bridge Bookshop: www.liftbridgebooks.com [Brockport, NY]; Sundance Books: http://www.sundancebooks.com/main.html [Geneseo, NY]; Mood Makers Books: www.moodmakersbooks.com [City of Rochester, NY]; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center: www.enlightenthedog.org/ [Buffalo, NY]; Burlingham Books – ‘Your Local Chapter’: http://burlinghambooks.com/ [Perry, NY 14530]; The Bookworm: http://www.eabookworm.com/ [East Aurora, NY] • See also: World Pulse: Global Issues through the eyes of Women: http://www.worldpulse.com/ http://www.worldpulse.com/pulsewire http://www.facebook.com/#!/bennetts2ndstudy