Afghanistan guerrilla war will have a predictable result

Gwynne Dyer

By May 1928 the basic principles of guerrilla warfare...had already been evolved; that is, the 16-character formula: The enemy advances, we retreat; the enemy camps, we harass; the enemy tires, we attack; the enemy retreats, we pursue.” –Mao Zedong, 1936

Not many of the Taliban guerrillas in Afghanistan have read Mao on guerrilla warfare, but then, they knew how to do it anyway.

The current crop of officers in the western armies that are fighting them don’t seem to have read their Mao either, which is a more serious omission. The generation before them certainly did.

Mao Zedong didn’t invent guerrilla warfare, but he did write the book on it. The “sixteen-character formula” sums it up: never stand and fight, just stay in business, and wear the enemy down.

A Refuge for Cowards: Senate Extends Patriot Act

Jayne Lyn Stahl

Bill Maher recently told Larry King that the Senate is where "legislation goes to die." Well, not this time.

Wednesday night, after all the cameras were gone and the Senate was filled just with senators, a voice vote was taken sans debate and a resolution passed that extends provisions of the USA Patriot Act, which were scheduled to sunset on Sunday, for another year.

The Democrats who are said to have worked hard to neutralize this legislation that had a built-in sunset clause did little more than wring their hands.

Republicans, so adept at lip synching that same old song about national security, were quick to point to Ft. Hood, and the bungled bombing of an airline on Christmas Day as the rationale behind the Patriot Act. But, what these strident proponents of homeland security neglected to mention is that both the Ft. Hood incident and the aborted bombing of a Southwest Airlines jet happened after the Patriot Act had been in full play for nearly a decade. Go figure.

US Using Iraqi Political Discord to Justify Continuance of Occupation

Dahr Jamail

As Iraqi national elections on March 7 approach, violence and political discord in the country have escalated dramatically.

On February 22, Gen. Ray Odierno, the top US commander in Iraq, announced that the US was preparing contingency plans to delay the withdrawal of all combat forces from Iraq if violence or political instability increases after the national elections scheduled for March 7.

There are approximately 96,000 US military personnel in Iraq. Under President Obama’s current plan, which is a continuation of George W. Bush’s policy in Iraq, the stated intention is to cut the number of US troops in Iraq to 50,000 by August 31.

The US government plans to keep at least 50,000 troops in Iraq indefinitely, as a so-called training force for Iraqi security forces.

On February 22 alone, the same day General Odierno made his comments, at least 44 Iraqis and one US soldier were killed as attacks raged across Iraq. In one of the attacks, a female suicide bomber killed 22 people and wounded 33 others in an attack at the home of a police commissioner in Balad Ruz. In another, three mortar rounds struck the so-called Green Zone in Baghdad, wounding at least six people. The attacks have drawn comparisons by Iraqi analysts to rampant attacks that occurred during the sectarian bloodshed that ravaged Iraq between 2006-2007.

Global Warming Update

Walter E. Williams

Private industry and governments around the world have spent trillions of dollars in the name of saving our planet from manmade global warming. Academic institutions, think tanks and schools have altered their curricula and agenda to accommodate what was seen as the global warming "consensus."

Mounting evidence suggests that claims of manmade global warming might turn out to be the greatest hoax in mankind's history. Immune and hostile to the evidence, President Barack Obama's administration and most of the U.S. Congress sides with Climate Czar Carol Browner, who says, "I'm sticking with the 2,500 scientists. These people have been studying this issue for a very long time and agree this problem is real."

The scientists whom Browner references are associated with the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Let's look some of what they told us. The 2007 IPCC report, which won them a Nobel Peace Prize, said that the probability of Himalayan glaciers "disappearing by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high" as a result of manmade global warming. Recently, IPCC was forced to retract their glacier disappearance claim, which was made on the basis of a non-scientific magazine article. When critics initially questioned the prediction, Rajendra Pachauri, IPCC's chairman, dismissed them as "voodoo scientists."

The Empire Falls Back

Len Hart

We've grown up with a Christian-Roman version of European and world history, primarily the Fall of Rome. The Romans --we are taught --created a great empire characterized by a sophisticated system of arrow-straight roads that made possible commerce and travel from the far flung reaches of empire from Briton to Constantinople, from Carthage to Germania.

Just outside the borders of empire, we are taught, lived uncivilized, untutored barbarian hordes intent upon harassing, plundering, threatening the Pax Romana that defined the Greatest Empire the world had ever seen. The term Pax Romana always rang false with me. Was it ever at peace but, rather, an Orwellian perpetual war, the 'corporatized' taking of human life required to keep the Leviathan afloat?

Much speculation about the fall of Rome is false. Fundamentalist Christians in America believe Rome fell because it indulged orgies, homosexuality and the feeding of Christians to lions. The more informed may cite Gibbon and sum up the fall of Rome in a phrase: loss of civic virtue. While no one pretends that Rome was in all ways and all times virtuous, the 'loss of civic virtue' applies as well to fiscal profligacy, arrogance and, perhaps most importantly, the consequences of conquest.

Round Midnight: Tortillas and the Corporate State

Joe Bageant
Ajijic, Mexico

Near midnight and I am making tortillas on an iron skillet over a gas flame. Some three thousand miles to the north, my wife and dog nestle in sleep in the wake of a 34-inch snowstorm, while the dogs of Ajijic are barking at the witching hour and roosters crow all too early for the dawn. While my good Mexican neighbors along Zaragoza Street sleep.

Yet here I am awake and patting out tortillas, haunted by the empire that I have called home most of my life.

I like to think that, for the most part, I no longer live up there in the U.S., but southward of its ticking social, political and economic bombs. Because the US debt bomb has not yet gone off, Social Security still exists, and the occasional royalty check or book advance still comes in, allowing me to remain here. And so long as America's perverse commodities economy keeps stumbling along and making lifelike noises, so long as the American people accept permanent debt subjugation -- I can drink, think and burn tortillas. Believe me, I take no smugness in this irony.

There is a terrible science fiction-like awe in the autonomous American economic monolith, in the way that it provides for us, feeds on us and keeps us as its both its lavish pets and slaves. The commodity economy long ago enslaved Americans and other "developed" capitalist societies. But Americans in particular. The most profound slavery must be that in which the slaves can conceive of no other possible or better world than their bondage. Inescapable, global, all permeating, the commodities economy rules so thoroughly most cannot imagine any other possible kind of economy.

Future Shock: A Better World Beyond the Imperium

Chris Floyd

To borrow the deathless phraseology of Professor AbuKhalil: for those who care and do not care, my interview with Scott Horton at Antiwar Radio can be heard here.

As usual, Scott led the conversation in several interesting directions, to which I made the usual rambling, semi-coherent contributions. But one thing I did try to put forth was the idea of a "united front" across the political spectrum, dedicated to a single, overarching goal: dismantling the empire. Much evil would cease, and many good things would flow from such a development.

I worked up some notes on the matter before the talk, and added some more thoughts afterward; these are appended below. Much of this is an expansion and refinement of some ideas mentioned in a recent post, so I hope you'll forgive any repetition. But that original piece dealt with other topics as well, and I thought this idea merited a spotlight of its own. So here it is.

America's Supremes: Court Over Constitution

Stephen Lendman

"[They] can now directly pour (unlimited) amounts of corporate money, through independent expenditures, into the electoral swamp already flooded with corporate campaign PAC contribution dollars. Without (shareholder) approval, (they) can reward or intimidate people running for office at the local, state, and national levels."

On October 13, 1932, in laying the Supreme Court Building's cornerstone, Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes said: "The Republic endures and this is the symbol of its faith." The words "Equal Justice Under Law" adorn its west facade. Facing east is the motto "Justice, the Guardian of Liberty." Since the Court's 1789 establishment, these words belie its decisions, arguments, and "supreme" allegiance to power, not "We the people."

Since its founding, privilege always counted most in America. The prevailing fiction then and now is that constitutional checks and balances restrain government, the founders having created an egalitarian country free from wealth and poverty extremes common most elsewhere.

Like today, wealthy 18th century colonialists had vastly disproportional land holdings; controlled banking, commerce and industry; assured its own ran the government and courts; and the supreme law of the land, then and now, deters no president, sitting government, or Supreme Court from doing what they wish.

From inception, America was always ruled by men, not laws, who lie, connive, misinterpret and pretty much do what they want for their own self-interest and powerful constituents. In 1787, "the people" who mattered most were elitists. The American revolution substituted new management for old.

Fabricating history

Khalid Amayreh

Israel's attempts to establish historical grounds for its existence include stealing, destroying and substituting Islamic heritage, reports Khaled Amayreh in Hebron

Tension in the occupied Palestinian territories rose significantly this week following a decision by the rightwing Israeli government to add two ancient mosques in the West Bank to a list of alleged Jewish heritage sites.

The two mosques are the Bilal Ibn Rabah Mosque, which Israelis call Rachel's Tomb, near Bethlehem, and the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron, named after the patriarch Ibrahim (Abraham), widely considered the common forefather of both the ancient Hebrews and northern Arabs.

The Hebron mosque, site of a massacre of Arab worshipers by a Jewish terrorist in 1994, is widely considered the fourth most important Islamic shrine, coming directly after the Sacred Mosque in Mecca, the Prophet's Mosque in Medina (both in Saudi Arabia), and Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

Israeli officials didn't explain the decision by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to add the two Islamic sites to a list of some 130 so-called Jewish heritage sites. Netanyahu said the sites would be renovated "in order to reconnect Israelis to their history".

The Road to Armageddon

Paul Craig Roberts

The Washington Times is a newspaper that looks with favor upon the Bush/Cheney/Obama/neocon wars of aggression in the Middle East and favors making terrorists pay for 9/11. Therefore, I was surprised to learn on February 24 that the most popular story on the paper's website for the past three days was the "Inside the Beltway" report, "Explosive News," [By Jennifer Harper, February 22, 2010]about the 31 press conferences in cities in the US and abroad on February 19 held by Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, an organization of professionals which now has 1,000 members.

I was even more surprised that the news report treated the press conference seriously.

How did three World Trade Center skyscrapers suddenly disintegrate into fine dust? How did massive steel beams in three skyscrapers suddenly fail as a result of short-lived, isolated, and low temperature fires? "A thousand architects and engineers want to know, and are calling on Congress to order a new investigation into the destruction of the Twin Towers and Building 7," reports the Washington Times.

The paper reports that the architects and engineers have concluded that the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Institute of Standards and Technology provided "insufficient, contradictory and fraudulent accounts of the circumstances of the towers' destruction" and are "calling for a grand jury investigation of NIST officials."

The newspaper reports that Richard Gage, the spokesperson for the architects and engineers said: "Government officials will be notified that 'Misprision of Treason,' U.S. Code 18 (Sec. 2382) is a serious federal offense, which requires those with evidence of treason to act. The implications are enormous and may have profound impact on the forthcoming Khalid Sheik Mohammed trial."

“Mass Casualties”: The Dark Underbelly of Occupation, an Army Medic’s Account

Dahr Jamail

Photo: Staff Sgt. Jason Robertson / The U.S.
Army; Edited: Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t

“Look around,” the drill sergeant said. “In a few years, or even a few months, several of you will be dead. Some of you will be severely wounded or so badly mutilated that your own mother can’t stand the sight of you. And for the real unlucky ones, you will come home so emotionally disfigured that you wish you had died over there.”

“It was Week 7 of basic training … eighteen years old and I was preparing myself to die,” said Michael Anthony in “Mass Casualties: A Young Medic’s True Story of Death, Deception and Dishonor in Iraq.” The book is more than a simple memoir about a difficult experience. It is an insider’s scathing testimony of an ongoing illegal and unethical military action in a distant, once-sovereign state, by the US. Perhaps, this fresh account will raise some outcry over an issue that has all but dropped out of the American public’s radar.

Following the family legacy of military service, Anthony enlisted in the military at 17. The image he had nurtured of the idealism of military life, however, ran aground upon his arrival in Iraq, where he served as a medic in an operating room (OR) at a US military base.

Mass Casualties” is a collection of Anthony’s personal journal entries from his time in Iraq. It includes his introspections on and insights into the inherently irrational and meaningless nature of military life. The rawness of the narrative reveals how the occupation broke down the young soldier’s spirit and almost desensitized him into believing “my job isn’t to feel.”

The late historian and Author Howard Zinn held the book in high regard. “Michael Anthony’s memoir is not about the politics of Iraq. Instead it takes us deep inside the war, inside and outside the operation room, the barracks, the talk of the soldiers, the feeling of the situation … unique and powerful,” Zinn wrote.

Much Darkness, Many Candles: What I Can Do

Chris Floyd

I put together this piece -- more like a fragment perhaps -- a few months ago, but I thought it might have some relevance, at some points at least, to current events in Haiti.

As for what you can do, I would suggest continuing to support Partners in Health, which had more than 5,000 people working at the grassroots level in Haiti before the quake. No fair weather friend -- or foul weather tourist -- there. As Ashley Smith notes in a devastating report on the militarist-corporatist--NGO symbiosis that has devastated Haiti for years and is serving it extremely ill in the aftermath of the earthquake:

While some NGOs like Partners in Health have done and are doing amazing work to provide services for quake victims, overall, the catastrophe in Haiti revealed the worst aspects of the U.S. government and the NGO aid industry.

As many analysts have noted, the U.S. in fact used its "relief" operation to disguise a military occupation of Haiti, intended to prevent a flood of refugees reaching the U.S., impose even greater sweatshop development on Haiti, and signal to the rest of Latin America, the Caribbean and the world's most powerful governments that U.S. aims to reassert its power in the region.

As a result, relief aid from the U.S. has played second fiddle to its imperial ambitions--and the NGO-centered aspect of its response is an important part of its strategy.

How to Reach A Larger Audience

Washington's Blog

Stop preaching to the choir! Start reaching a larger audience!

The people you talk with and the websites which publish what you write might think you're great, but the vast majority of people out there aren't hearing it. You're Reaching a Very Small Audience

Communications experts like George Lakoff (who I recently interviewed) and Frank Luntz say that most people don't make political decisions based on fact and logic. Instead, they make decisions based on their ideas of morality and pre-existing "frames" of reference.

So if you are just reciting facts, you are not going to persuade anyone except the minority of people who reason and make decisions based on logic. (You may say "but all of the websites I read and people I talk to make decisions based on logic". Okay, but that only means that you don't read the overwhelming majority of websites or talk to the overwhelming majority of people who make decisions based on other factors. See this and this).

Global Sweatshop Wage Slavery

Stephen Lendman

In its mission statement, the National Labor Committee (NLC) highlights the problem stating:

"Transnational corporations (TNCs) now roam the world to find the cheapest and most vulnerable workers." They're mostly young women in poor countries like China, India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Indonesia, Nicaragua, Haiti, and many others working up to 14 or more hours a day for sub-poverty wages under horrific conditions.

Because TNCs are unaccountable, a dehumanized global workforce is ruthlessly exploited, denied their civil liberties, a living wage, and the right to work in dignity in healthy safe environments. NLC conducts "popular campaigns based on (its) original research to promote worker rights and pressure companies to end human and labor abuses. (It) views worker rights in the global economy as indivisible and inalienable human rights and (believes) now is the time to secure them for all on the planet."

Israel has no legitimacy. Period

Khalid Amayreh

In short, Hamas is against Israel because Israel is evil, not because Israel is Jewish. Any claim or insinuation to the contrary is a lie.

Recent statements by Palestinian Islamic leader Professor Aziz Duweik about the possibility of amending or even abandoning some clauses in Hamas’s charter have elicited a plethora of reactions in occupied Palestine and abroad. Some hostile groups have been quick to conclude that Hamas is now willing to recognize the legitimacy of Israel. Moreover, PA propaganda organs have deliberately twisted Duweik’s remarks, claiming that Hamas is finally following the footsteps of the PLO.

Well, the truth is that none of this is true since sidestepping or even abandoning the so-called “Hamas charter” should never be confused with the Islamic liberation movement’s principled stance on the Zionist entity.

To begin with, the so-called Hamas’s charter was not a “Quran” or a religiously-binding constitution that must be followed meticulously. Nor was it an immutable ideological constant that any deviation from it would consign the deviator to hellfire for eternity.

In fact, the charter was no more than a hastily-formulated mobilizing document issued in the beginning of the first intifada in 1988 for the purpose of recruiting and encouraging people to resist the Israeli occupation.

Therefore, the charter should not be viewed as especially sacred or misconstrued as an inviolable covenant. And while many people would readily accept its basic premises especially with regard to Israel, namely that Israel is essentially an illegitimate body that must be eliminated, others would perfectly legitimately voice reservations concerning the stringent wording of the charter.

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