Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 20, 2019

30+ Afghans Killed In Drone Strike While CIA Celebrates 18 Years Of War On Afghanistan

From the abstract of a (paywalled) piece about the never ending U.S. war on Afghanistan:

Slow failure: Understanding America’s quagmire in Afghanistan

The United States government has no organised way of thinking about war termination other than seeking decisive military victory.

This implicit assumption is inducing three major errors.

First, the United States tends to select military-centric strategies that have low probabilities of success.

Second, the United States is slow to modify losing or ineffective strategies due to cognitive obstacles, internal frictions, and patron-client challenges with the host nation government.

Finally, as the U.S. government tires of the war and elects to withdraw, bargaining asymmetries prevent successful transitions (building the host nation to win on its own) or negotiations.

The Taliban were created to suppress the corrupt warlords in Afghanistan who menaced the people. They achieved that and the people were greatful. But the Taliban did not have the means to govern the country. When the World Trade Center towers came down the U.S. accused al-Qaeda and went to war to oust the Taliban who had given some Arab friends a retreat in Afghanistan.

The CIA still celebrates the moment: 

CIA @CIA - 23:30 UTC · Sep 19, 2019
9/19/01: Eight days after 9/11, CIA officers pick up $3 million cash in three cardboard boxes. This money would enable the Northern Alliance (NA) commanders to pay their troops and convince other tribes to rally to the NA rather than fight them. #15Days


The war against the Taliban in Afghanistan was won in 2001. The Taliban were ready to lay down their arms and to make peace. But the U.S. rejected all their offers. It instead captured, tortured and killed them whenever it could. It set up a new government filled with the same corrupt warlords the Taliban had previously ousted. That was a major strategic mistake.

The warlords robbed left and right and created the usual mess with the people. The Afghan government never gained the necessary legitimacy to rule the country. The insurgency against the warlords grew again and the Taliban reestablished their networks.

The U.S. tried to suppress them first with its own (incompetent) military campaign and then by building an Afghan army under government control. But the utter corruption that has only grown under the warlords guarantees that the Afghan army will never become a competent force. Meanwhile the Taliban are winning the war. They already rule over more than half of the country.

The U.S. is looking for a way out by negotiating with the Taliban. It wants a face saving exit but has no leverage to achieve that. The talks also got sabotaged by the ruling warlords in Kabul, which the CIA still pays, as well as by the borg in Washington DC.

The war on Afghanistan was never run under a common command or plan that incorporated all the necessary civil and military elements under one hat. The CIA did its thing, the military something different and the development people tried all kinds of really stupid things. No part coordinated with the others. The same obvious mistakes were made again and again. That made it impossible to win.

It is also the reason why, eighteen years after the CIA bribed the warlords to fight on the U.S. side, shit like this is still happening:

A U.S. drone attack killed 30 pine nut farmers and wounded at least 40 others in Afghanistan Wednesday night, the latest killing of innocent civilians by American forces as the "war on terror" enters its 19th year.

The farmers had just finished work and were sitting by a fire when the strike happened, according to tribal elder Malik Rahat Gul.
Reuters reported that there may be more farmers missing:

Haidar Khan, who owns the pine nut fields, said about 150 workers were there for harvesting, with some still missing as well as the confirmed dead and injured.

A survivor of the drone strike said about 200 laborers were sleeping in five tents pitched near the farm when the attack happened.

Is that the CIA's way to celebrate 18 years of war?

Each of the families of those killed or wounded day workers will now send another son to join the Taliban.

As all three steps described in the above abstract have failed to 'win' in Afghanistan there is only one way left to end the war on Afghanistan.

Stop paying the warlords, leave the country and forget about it.

Posted by b on September 20, 2019 at 18:29 UTC | Permalink

next page »

Before any retreat can happen US needs another solo conflict incubator it can use and abuse. Venezuela failed, Iran isn't really clicking, Syria is kicking ass with Russia's support and Yemen is on stop; all they got for decisive military action atm. consists of fake clicks on HK news and bombs on various civilians around the globe.

Posted by: del san | Sep 20 2019 18:45 utc | 1

The US doesn't care about not winning the war, they only want to (a) create chaos; (b) harvest opium; (c) harvest terrorism to damage Russia and China; and (d) stay put to keep Russia and China out and to block constructive development.

Posted by: BM | Sep 20 2019 18:46 utc | 2

..."Afghanistan produces over 90 percent of the opium which feeds the heroin market.

Lest we forget, the surge in opium production occurred in the immediate wake of the US invasion in October 2001.

Who is protecting opium exports out of Afghanistan?

In 2000-2001, “the Taliban government –in collaboration with the United Nations– had imposed a successful ban on poppy cultivation. Opium production declined by more than 90 per cent in 2001. In fact the surge in opium cultivation production coincided with the onslaught of the US-led military operation and the downfall of the Taliban regime. From October through December 2001, farmers started to replant poppy on an extensive basis.” (quoted from article below)"...

..and poppy production chart...

2001 was not a very good year for the empire! Drug profits cut off at the knees. The Pashtuns are hunted for the crime of drug enforcement and continues to this day I believe.

Posted by: Taffyboy | Sep 20 2019 18:47 utc | 3

I respect what you are saying b and I totally agree with you,but as long many poeple keep believing that Islam is to blame for Afghanistans problems (there are many islamophobes who think like this) we arent going to convince a majority of people that the US military needs to leave Afghanistan.

Posted by: Azul | Sep 20 2019 19:18 utc | 4

Letter detailing civilian presence failed to prevent deadly Afghan drone strike

JALALABAD, Afghanistan/KABUL (Reuters) - Twelve days ahead of the pine-nut harvest season, the governor of Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar province received a letter from village elders in the Wazir Tangi area about their plans to recruit 200 laborers and children to pluck the dry fruit.

The letter, seen by Reuters and dated Sept. 7, was sent in an effort to help protect laborers from getting caught in clashes between U.S.-backed Afghan forces and Islamic State fighters in the mountainous terrain largely controlled by the jihadists.

Posted by: Tobin Paz | Sep 20 2019 19:19 utc | 5

The poppies,'b', the poppies.

Then there are the minerals. Can't leave them to China. Some say it's all worth 13 Trillion.

Then there is Xinjiang. Have to have a piece of Afghanistan in order to destabilize Xinjiang.

Then there is Russia. Russia has good relations with Afghans and Taliban. Can't leave the nation to the Russians.

Then there are the "rebels" fighting in Iran. AQ and ISIS need supply and training and Afghan is perfect for both. Can't leave because of Iran.

All in all, 18 years is nothing. The US will be there 18 years from now. Think of it like Japan and Germany. Seven decades later, the US hasn't left.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Sep 20 2019 19:21 utc | 6

9/11 is the elephant in the room:

US 'planned attack on Taleban'

Niaz Naik, a former Pakistani Foreign Secretary, was told by senior American officials in mid-July that military action against Afghanistan would go ahead by the middle of October.

U.S. sought attack on al-Qaida

President Bush was expected to sign detailed plans for a worldwide war against al-Qaida two days before Sept. 11 but did not have the chance before the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, U.S. and foreign sources told NBC News.

Posted by: Tobin Paz | Sep 20 2019 19:38 utc | 7

BM @2--

I can do no better than echo your words while also reminding barflies that the decision to invade and control Afghanistan was made prior to 911 primarily for the reasons BM supplies and I echo. Unfortunately, the Outlaw US Empire has what might by now be considered an inborn petulance when it comes to occupying others lands--it considers them to be part of its possessions and is beyond reticent to cede them, much like Daffy Duck discovering Ali Baba's Cave: Mine, Mine, Mine!, with a similar outcome. Lavrov explains such behavior in his essay I linked to on the previous thread as "might goes before right."

The Outlaw US Empire might debatably have the might, but it most certainly doesn't have the right to maintain itself within Afghanistan or any other nation anymore--such presences are solely propelled by greed.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 20 2019 19:38 utc | 8

" It set up a new government filled with the same corrupt warlords the Taliban had previously ousted. That was a major strategic mistake."
To understand US Foreign Policy you have to realise that supporting corrupt landlords and preserving inequality in societies is right at the herart of it.
It is not simply about oil or the interests of US corporations. It is about class ideology.
This is true of Afghanistan, Cuba, Chile, Venezuela, Bolivia...The Soviet Union, wherever. It is true of the UK too. US influence is always thrown behind the local ruling class, the slaveowners and the exploiters, because it is the principle of inequality in society and class dictatorship which is the central concern of the oligarchy, still based upon the slavocracy which ruled the South, and its mores.
The great fear of the US government is that an egalitarian society, with evidently superior general living standards, will act as a reproach to the US system and an aspiration for the opporessed masses.
That is why in countries like Canada and the UK the US uses its influence to encourage parties seeking to destroy the Health Services, Free Education and other challenges to the principle that everything should be for sale.

Posted by: bevin | Sep 20 2019 19:45 utc | 9

Did you fuck up, Taff? Ouch. I feel for you. We all make mistakes.

Posted by: bevin | Sep 20 2019 19:47 utc | 10

6 - Red Ryder

In addition to your list of why we stay is the old and sad "If we leave our troops will have died in vain"

Posted by: Bart Hansen | Sep 20 2019 19:59 utc | 11

I recall many years ago on the elevator news as I rode up to work a photo which showed Canadian soldiers patrolling the Afghan poppy fields.
It was obvious that my tax dollars were going to protect the heroin dealer's product although the photo was meant to show our fine military in action.

Posted by: arby | Sep 20 2019 20:01 utc | 12

bevein @9--

Exactamundo buddy! Hope you like stout as that's all I have on hand beer-wise. It's most certainly the Class War made global as it's been since the 1400s. Sanders just made the following statements:

"The Democratic Party I Represent Is the Party of the Working Class, Not Billionaires"


"We are going to make the changes that we need in this country when the working people of America stand up to the corporate elite, not take their money."

If only he'd widen his vision to include the entire world for the corporate elite don't stop at any one border.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 20 2019 20:16 utc | 13

Even when it's obvious that there were no terrorists nearby and US responsibility for the drone attack on the pine nut collectors is clear, the Americans still deny culpability and accuse ISIS and Al Qaida of using the workers as human shields.

Add to US incompetence, stupidity, meanness and indifference to people's lives - cowardice and lack of shame.

The US has lost whatever morality it might have once had and its demise along with the slow death of Britain and that country's sordid reputation into the sewers of history can't be too soon.

Posted by: Jen | Sep 20 2019 20:19 utc | 14

You're exactly right. For America there is only 1 way out and that is to admit the mistake, and pull out. Reparations are due also.
I believe Americans will be relieved if this were to happen, and actually mature some. However, the press would crucify Trump with lies for israel.

Posted by: Joetv | Sep 20 2019 20:26 utc | 15

Let no one forget this; an organized criminal gang is controlling the USA and its military, with help from the City of London. The press is owned and has been since at least the 50s, but possibly as far back as 1776. Fact not fiction.

Posted by: Joetv | Sep 20 2019 20:38 utc | 16

Joetv @16--

"The press is owned … possibly as far back as 1776."

I don't know whether to laugh or cry over such ignorance. Utterly pathetic!

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 20 2019 20:51 utc | 17

Quite agree. it's over. The US should withdraw and leave them to get on with it.

Posted by: Laguerre | Sep 20 2019 20:54 utc | 18

bevin @ 9

I can say with 100% certainty that the Brits drew up plans both for the stabilisation of Afghanistan and again for a post war Iraq. In the "coalition of the willing" the Brits were put forward to this task by their experiences in Kosovo, Northern Ireland and various previous Commonwealth Govt. transition handovers. Comprehensive step by step reports were presented for implementation and phased development of local Govt.... Once in hands of USA DoD they promptly binned them, with something like "we don't need that ----" One gets the impression that the idea from the start was to create broken buffer tribal states with no clear rule of law.

My guess is that this is (among other resources) about pipelines, who owns them and who can't have them.

Posted by: dennis | Sep 20 2019 20:59 utc | 19

The problem with the USA is not of incompetence, but structural.

The USSR knew about the structural weaknesses of its system as soon as Stalin died. The first studies on the promising future of toyotism (3rd Industrial Revolution) came from the USSR, not the USA. They knew their system was too rigid: no wonder Krushchev's first policy was a cultural revolution by abandoning Stalinism (and, with it, its fordist paradigm).

The reason the USSR fell wasn't because it didn't know its weaknesses; it fell because those weaknesses were structural, i.e. incurable.

The USA also know its weaknesses. But it will fail to eliminate them for the simple fact they cannot be solved. There's a limit for any socioeconomic system, and that's why History doesn't stop.

Posted by: vk | Sep 20 2019 21:13 utc | 20

Not quite joetv #16, as I recall Tom Paine was able to publish his revolutionary tracts with independent funding and an independent minded printer. Perhaps he was the first alt press.

Thanks karlof 1 for the Sanders quotes.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Sep 20 2019 21:17 utc | 21

@21 Tom Paine may have been an exception. I think joetv has a point about 1776. With the establishment of the so-called First Party System the press became increasingly partisan.

Posted by: dh | Sep 20 2019 21:33 utc | 22

The US cant afford to lose the heroin income, that is why they dont want to leave.

Posted by: Per/Norway | Sep 20 2019 21:36 utc | 23

@10 Bevin.

It's Friday afternoon, not evening. Jack Daniels is over for dinner tonight.

Afghan Heroin & the CIA

It is ancient history but what the hell ...

and a sample historical perspective on the Pashtuns from 2010,

..."We would like to point out, however, that no one has really pacified the Pashtun in a thousand years. Additionally, red state American republicans don't look especially pacified either. Come to think of it, Iraq doesn't seem especially grateful for its liberation and Iran, Syria and even Yemen don't seem predisposed to favor Western ways. It is a big job to subdue the world."...


Posted by: Taffyboy | Sep 20 2019 21:39 utc | 24

@ 2
The US doesn't care about not winning the war, they only want to (a) create chaos; (b) harvest opium; (c) harvest terrorism to damage Russia and China; and (d) stay put to keep Russia and China out and to block constructive development. . . .and transfer billions of dollars to Lockheed Martin and other contractors for war materiel, bombs, etc. with some of that money transferred to other members of the MIC including politicians, media, universities etc.

"War is a racket. . .the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives." -- Major General Smedley D. Butler, USMC, double recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, 1935

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 20 2019 21:42 utc | 25

The "good" news is that the US military veteran suicide rate is "only" seventeen per day instead of the twenty per day previously cited according to this Stripes article. The report doesn’t include active-duty servicemember suicides which reached a record high last year of 321.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 20 2019 21:54 utc | 26

The US cant afford to lose the heroin income, that is why they dont want to leave.
Posted by: Per/Norway | Sep 20 2019 21:36 utc | 23

I may offer small quibbles, but the big question is: what is the edge of heroin over synthetic opiates?

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Sep 20 2019 21:57 utc | 27

dh @22--

I suggest you look closely at what's known as The Federalist Era and the extremely volatile, independent press that exited then. Then if Joe's correct, then we wouldn't have press protections in the Bill of Rights, and it probably wouldn't exist. Add to all that the oppositional writings of those deemed Anti-Federalists who opposed the 1787 Constitutional Coup. And I could go on, but I think the above's more than enough.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 20 2019 22:09 utc | 28

What the situation is in Afghanistan:

The Taliban takes a district or two every month. The roads are blocked. Electricity lines connecting the cities - destroyed. Taliban routinely besieges and enters provincial capitol cities and routinely bombs western targets in Kabul. It is active everywhere in the country. It is capable of destroying the best trained Afghan Army units (SOF).

The afghan army can not operate without US support. In fact, the afghan government can not even pay the salaries for the soldiers and the police. The US and NATO countries are paying for all of that.

The big thing here is that there is no stalemate. The Taliban is winning the war, it is continuosly gaining new ground for the last 7 years, and will kick the US out of the country. In my estimates by 2025, by purely military means.

Yes, the US could try another surge (the last one under Mcchrystal did not work), but there is no more money for large war anymore. A new surge in Afghanistan, with poor guarantee for success, will cost half trillion dollars. Considering the poor fiscal shape of the US, it is in no position to even try to escalate the war. And then there is Russia, China, Iran waiting out there..

Posted by: Passer by | Sep 20 2019 22:14 utc | 29

@28 I suggest you re-read joetv's post #16 (once you've decided whether to laugh or cry)... "The press is owned and has been since at least the 50s, but possibly as far back as 1776." Seems reasonable to me. Anyway joe can speak for himself.

Posted by: dh | Sep 20 2019 22:17 utc | 30

Uncle Sam's interference in Afghanistan goes back to the Carter Administration when National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski decided it would be a great idea for the CIA to organize, train, and arm a bunch of fundamentalist head choppers called "mujahideen" (see Operation Cyclone in Wikipedia). The purpose was to harass the Soviets and cause chaos, just like today.

Once the Soviets and Uncle Sam had both abandoned Afghanistan to its fate (around 1990), criminal gangs took over. The Taliban started as religious students that organized themselves to provide defense from the opium gangsters. The Taliban weren't created by Uncle Sam, they created themselves.

As others have mentioned, the Taliban were successful in their efforts to mostly stop the opium trade. They had nearly eliminated the gangsters (called "Northern Alliance" by Uncle Sam's propaganda machine) when Uncle Sam arrived in 2001 to defeat the Taliban, restore the opium trade, and insure the chaos continued.

After mostly driving out the Taliban, US tried to cobble together a government of sorts by paying off various warlord gangsters. I well remember the horrific stories of civilians being packed into metal shipping containers by some of Uncle Sam's fine upstanding "allies". The people responsible were given government portfolios instead of the gallows. And "Americans" wonder why the Afghan people hate the US-installed government.

I guess most of this history has been flushed down the memory hole. People seem to think of Carter as some sort of "peacenik". It's not true. His policy has directly led to the deaths of tens of thousands. The policy is still in place. Uncle Sam will never leave Afghanistan unless driven out like Saigon. It's the old cliche of "Location, Location, Location". As others have mentioned, it's the perfect place for causing trouble for many of Uncle Sam's favorite enemies du jour: Russia, China, Iran. Pakistan and India, too, if they get uppity.

Posted by: Trailer Trash | Sep 20 2019 22:18 utc | 31

Piotr Berman @27 queried: "...the big question is: what is the edge of heroin over synthetic opiates?"

The CIA controls all of the former but only a portion of the latter. This is a crucial distinction. Commodities must be illegal (drugs, child prostitutes/sex slaves, military arms to non-state actors, etc) in order for the CIA to monopolize the supply and thus make super profits from trafficking those commodities.

Posted by: William Gruff | Sep 20 2019 22:28 utc | 32

Piotr Berman "what is the edge of heroin over synthetic opiates?"

The retail packs can have a little sticker - 'All natural product, 100% organic'. Shoppers seem to look for that sort of thing.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 20 2019 22:47 utc | 33

Thanks b, a very nice recapitulation. It prompts the further question—under what conditions was the US when it has been able to prosecute wars successfully to conclusion? It's worth contrasting, say, 1861-5 (victory over the Confederacy) and 1941-45 (defeat of Germany and Japan)—both 4-5 year conflicts involving total and coordinated mobilisation—with 1961-75 (Vietnam) and 2001-2019 (Afghanistan), both lengthy unresolved asymmetrical conflicts—typified by a failure to mobilise the whole population, establish a war economy and provide the kind of inter-agency coordination you have been talking about. When the priorities are directed by the MIC and their government agents (CIA, NSA, White House), the exploitative and extractive nature of the war it fights gives it the character of organised plunder followed by a half-hearted effort to support friends who will set up local governments to enable longer-term plunder. In these scenarios the Pentagon's commitment is ambiguous because theirs is a military ethic. In 1941 the military were in charge and FDR subordinated all other institutions—especially the industrial sector—to full support of the military. This clarity of aim and vector of action is utterly lacking in Afghanistan because of the opaque and concealed interests which drive it. When private interests hijack a national war-machine the disaster flows in part from the lack of transparency presented to armed forces who are otherwise committed to the idea that wars are fought for 'national' interests. The abject failure of the West's ME policy in general derives from this deliberate confusion of private with public interests. It's worth too studying Hellenistic and Roman policy by contrast in order to understand the how long-term success or failure in the region is secured.

Posted by: Patroklos | Sep 20 2019 22:54 utc | 34

Sure, the Outlaw US Empire's press is controlled to the point where Lasch's The Culture of Narcissism wins The National Book Award, and Snowden, Chomsky and others continue to have their works published, and other examples too numerous too cite. What is controlled is Corporate Mass Media otherwise known as BigLie Media. Yes, I did read his comment but dh apparently didn't--he said "the press," not corporate media.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 20 2019 22:55 utc | 35

as long as the CIA, the US military and the borg are involved there will be no peace. in Afghanistan or anywhere in the middle east..... or the world for that fact. I've known this for over 45 years.

they are the real barbarians, and only slaughter human beings, calling them gooks, rag heads or collateral damage.

the sooner the American Empire is totally dismantled, the better for the 7 billion people on the planet; and it can't come soon enough.

Posted by: michaelj72 | Sep 20 2019 22:58 utc | 36

@35 "--he said "the press," not corporate media."

Thank you. I knew it was just a question of semantics. Now if you'd said that in response to joe's original post I wouldn't even have had to intervene.

Posted by: dh | Sep 20 2019 23:04 utc | 37

When ones entire economy is built on weapons for profit; ending wars is a hopeless dream.
And then there are the vast resources (copper already being mined by China) which further compound the Gordian Knot of U.S. foreighn policy...

Posted by: V | Sep 20 2019 23:09 utc | 38

When the U.S is on it's knees, a terrible revenge will be exacted from the populace by muslims

Posted by: ali | Sep 20 2019 23:09 utc | 39

The multi-polar world moving into Afghanistan.
"TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iranian Deputy Minister of Roads and Urban Development Shahram Adamnejad said Tehran and Ankara have reached major agreements on road and railroad transport, including on establishment of an international corridor connecting Afghanistan to Turkey via Iran."

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 20 2019 23:22 utc | 40

The droning of that pine plantation was more than deliberate, it's part of empire strategy.

Michael Hudson on Food Blackmail

Can't have banana republics growing, well bananas or other crops. Encourage them in the strongest terms to create export produce such as tea, coffee, cocoa, cocaine, opium.
They must then rely on the empire for their food.

Posted by: ziogolem | Sep 20 2019 23:45 utc | 41

BM #2 wrote: The US doesn't care about not winning the war, they only want to (a) create chaos; (b) harvest opium; (c) harvest terrorism to damage Russia and China; and (d) stay put to keep Russia and China out and to block constructive development.

BM is 100% right. I would just change the first line slightly: The US doesn't intend to win the war. As he implies in (d): The US intends to keep the war going indefinitely. CIA and DoD budgets are maintained and increased over time.

Posted by: Ronald | Sep 20 2019 23:54 utc | 42

The droning of that pine plantation was more than deliberate, it's part of empire strategy. Michael Hudson on Food Blackmail
Posted by: ziogolem | Sep 20 2019 23:45 utc | 41

My generic objection to such conspiratorial thinking is that it assumes some diabolic intelligence and design in invisible centers of power. My philosophy is that the intelligence of human beings is expended in human interactions, improve the quality of your social position, goods, mates and so on in competition with others. The net intelligence is comparable to that of yeasts or other single cell organism that can change their location to get better temperature, nutrient levels and so on and can cooperate to produce spore distributing bodies. From that perspective, orders for expensive arms translate into promotions in business, salaries and so on, generals and civilians who decide on those matter tend to get such jobs when they retire etc. Similar, think tanks justifying wars, war planning and demand for weapons are funded by arms industry in some ways and salaries, promotions etc. depend on correct view.

On the other hand, wrecking economy does not require much thinking. Commercial farms here and there do not make a prosperous nation. What is more plausible is a struggle for power among "lords of Nangarhar". An owner of a farm with 200 workers is a feudal lord of at least baronial rank if we think about medieval Europe, and he could be on receiving end of revenge, envy, anger due to insufficient tribute to a higher rank lord etc., so someone passed faulty intelligence to folks from across the ocean who are blessed with powerful weapons and pea brains.

Let's face it: Americans in charge of national economics have scant capabilities to run it. Domestically it does not lead to a disaster because a lot of infrastructure etc. got accumulated, companies know what to do etc. However, when these guys delegate some schmucks to make Afghan, Iraqi or Haitian economy work, the results are abysmal. Just setting exchange rate and interest rates does not make Afghan or Haitian economy flourish. Unbelievably, it took quite a few years for our geniuses to figure out that it would be good for Afghanistan to have a road system. OTOH, Taliban is a competent fighting organization with a cohesive ideology, and for them the worse the better. Americans had few years when Taliban was decimated and they could involve Afghan masses in some productive pursuit like building roads with rather antique methods and thus large payroll. This requires an art of limiting corruption so it is a lubricant but does not swallow everything.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Sep 21 2019 0:33 utc | 43

Probably won't find as much in Afghanistan as in Iraq, "Bodies of Dead Iraqi Kids Test Positive For Radioactive Remnants From US Depleted Uranium Rounds," which we always suspected and had earlier signs of such proof. Long ago I argued that using such ammunition constituted prohibited chemical warfare aiming at producing the exact results revealed by this and other studies and thus constituted charging the Outlaw US Empire of waging a Genocidal War:

"Citing Iraqi government statistics, MintPress [Link at original] reported in 2014 that the rate Iraqis contracted cancer skyrocketed in the years after the US invasion, from 40 per 100,000 people per year in 1991 to 800 per 100,000 in 1995, to at least 1,600 per 100,000 in 2005."

40 to 1,600 per 100,000 ought to be more than enough proof for charges of Genocide as they're most likely understated--and those were for kids, not adults.

There are times when I genuinely hate being born an American.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 21 2019 0:56 utc | 44

To the infinity and beyond:

Northrop Grumman Subsidiary Wins $1.1Bln US Missile Defence Contract

Northrop Grumman seems to be on a lucky sequence lately. First they surprisingly won the contract to make the next gen bomber (the "Raider"); now this. I'm impressed.

Romanian Workers Without Pay After Building New NATO HQ in Brussels – Lawyer

Posted by: vk | Sep 21 2019 1:03 utc | 45

news report
"Pentagon to send more troops to Middle East amid ‘significant escalation’ from Iran"
= more targets for Iran missiles

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 21 2019 2:34 utc | 46

Once we go, we never leave. The U$A's brand of predatory capitalism won't permit it.

Exceptional America wants it all baby..

Geo-strategic realities and this say it all..

Posted by: ben | Sep 21 2019 3:04 utc | 47

Peter AU 1 @33,

Joke's on you, heroin is actually semi-synthetic.

michaelj72 @36,

Paraphrasing the old Buddhist saying, "If you see a CIA operative on the road, kill them." I would add, as slowly and painfully as you have the time and stomach for.

vk @45,

Boeing is kind of radioactive right now.

Posted by: Jonathan^-1 | Sep 21 2019 3:31 utc | 48

And for any who haven't noticed, the US special envoy/negotiator is freaking Zalmay Khalilzad.

Posted by: Soft Asylum | Sep 21 2019 3:34 utc | 49

I guess the label should begin with 'Derived from'

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 21 2019 3:50 utc | 50

Patroklos @34

Very true. The US did a pretty good job picking up Spain's old colonies and running their "dollar diplomacy" programs in Central America and the Caribbean using the military to get their hands on some resources to make some dollars. This logic predated the MIC. I would add another I for Intelligence to MIC as they are an integral part of the complex. Another M as well for media, MMIIC

The same families who backed the MMIIC backed "dollar diplomacy" as well. In WWI the same pre MMIIC organization created unanimous consensus for war during a time when we were promised we would not go to war in Europe. The Media uses posters called "babies on bayonets" showing Germans with babies skewered on their bayonets. Books and articles were written about them cutting the breasts off of women. All untrue but very persuasive.

Many war protesters were imprisoned for the duration of the war. Some were kept on ice many years after WWI. If you did not support the war your name was published in the newspaper and you were shunned by society. Your business would be ruined by your opposition to war.

The same families involved in our current wars are the very same families involved in pushing WWI through their control of the media back then. They made a fortune and created foundations to push their public policies in every field imaginable. Medical, legal, education, etc. Foundation money build the systems of control like the AMA and the pharmaceutical industry which destroyed homeopathic medicine in the US. Their are many similar non profits used to frame important centers of society to control the population. They are given god like status in the minds of the people by the media.

Our whole society is now framed by war. Unwinnable wars are very profitable hence they drag on for as long as possible. We would still be in Vietnam if the public did not rise up and tear up the parties convention in '68. Hence the control of music and entertainment since then to keep that sort of dissent out of the minds of the population.

If it looks like the empire is about to collapse they will create a new monetary system to buy us some time. I think it is on the way now and being tested with blockchain. We loved the internet but it will eventually control every aspect of our lives. We love blockchain but it will eventually own us as well. Their techno totalitarian state is being built before our eyes and we love the technology.

Posted by: dltravers | Sep 21 2019 4:04 utc | 51

Look at this piles of Pine nuts! Right now on U.S. western public lands, the BLM and Forest Service are conducting what is tantamount to a War on Pinyon Pine and Juniper Forests - destroying them with ship's anchor chains strung between bulldozers, "masticators", bullhog machines, and "prescribed" fire - napalming the trees from helicopters. Why? To benefit public lands cattle ranchers and grow grass instead of trees. Nearly all the Pine Nuts sold in the U.S. are imported from central Asia, southern Europe, etc. A similar sickness to the never-ending War in Afghanistan.

Posted by: mesa | Sep 21 2019 4:15 utc | 52


The U.S. is looking for a way out by negotiating with the Taliban. It wants a face saving exit but has no leverage to achieve that. The talks also got sabotaged by the ruling warlords in Kabul, which the CIA still pays, as well as by the borg in Washington DC.

I agree with other commenters that USA is not serious about leaving Afghanistan. Any pretense otherwise is just bullshit to shut down questions about waging the long war (aka "forever war").

They've been talking about leaving Afghanistan for over 10 years now. It was an Obama campaign promise for the 2008 Presidential election. "Sabatoge" of talks with the Taliban is just another convenient excuse.

USA has already set the stage for staying even longer: US officials warn ISIS' Afghanistan branch poses a major threat

ISIS' Afghanistan-based affiliate has emerged as a major threat capable of carrying out direct attacks on the US and is actively using its members' social media to acquire contacts in the United States, a US intelligence official in Afghanistan tells CNN.

ISIS is a convenient excuse for occupation. Wherever they are, USA must pretend to fight them.

A multitude of happy coincidences/sarc leave many believing that ISIS is somehow connected to CIA-Mossad-Saudis: from its sudden rise and Obama's "wilful decision" to allow ISIS to grow; to its oil trading with Turkey; to medical services provided to ISIS members from Turkey and Israel; and now ISIS' spread to hotspots where it primarily fights enemies of the Empire (in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, etc.). GWOT, now with extra terror.

Welcome to the rabbit hole.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 21 2019 5:08 utc | 53

Joe TV @ 16:

Well I guess someone had to own "the press" in 1776: the reality was that most newspapers in those days, or pamphlets as they were known then, were printed by sole proprietors who also wrote the news and might have been just as likely to rely on rumour as on fact.

If you're thinking of sensationalist journalism or journalism in the service of hidden political agendas, you'd probably go back (if you're American) to the 1890s, to the days of William Hearst and his newspapers making a case for the US to invade Cuba and the Philippines, both then colonies of Spain, under the pretence of helping those colonies achieve independence from their Iberian overlords.

Posted by: Jen | Sep 21 2019 5:33 utc | 54

karlof1 | Sep 20 2019 19:38 utc

re Lavrov's "might goes before right."

Just today I read "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.". [Frederick Douglass] It is starkly a very workable advice.

Posted by: chu teh | Sep 21 2019 5:44 utc | 55

Just read "Iran Turkey to launch Int'l corridor"/

Stunning! as that path will break the Empires iron chain which isolates [eastward] to China, etc.!

Note that Turkey since pre-WW2has been key to bottling-up the dreaded USSR's profer of Socialism.

{Age-related event: my spellcheck redlined "profer" as now obsolete. Damn!]

Posted by: chu teh | Sep 21 2019 5:57 utc | 56

The switch from draft to a "professional" (mercenary) army is what allow the Empire to have many forever wars without internal unrest, the stormtroopers are paid to fight and to die for their masters with a smile, and the Hollywood films propaganda is busy trying to sustain the flow of "deplorables" to the army, that is easy because the wage class is ruined and need jobs, and the inmigrants (as the germanic people in the last times of Roman Empire) want to be in the army for the job and citizenship. Theya are the "heroes" of the Imperial Wars.

The american Praetorian Guard (MIC) have an extreme influence in the USA, in fact, like in ancient Rome, they put and remove emperors at will if they are "disturbing" their desires (JFK for example, others in a more subtle way), so ANY polician that wants to be president must increase the Pentagon budget "to protect freedom and the american way of live". Be careful with the Idus of March Caesar...

But any kind of war as one with Iran (country of 80 million people with Hezbollah style of war), will require a huge draft in USA, and then all the buiding will collapse if people start to see scores of their sons and brothers killed for some obscure reasons related to arab satrapies and israeli threats.

An attack on Iran will be the end of USA, not as an empire, but as a united country

Posted by: DFC | Sep 21 2019 8:23 utc | 57

The drones that attacked Russia’s Hmeymim airbase in Syria were operated from the US Poseidon-8 reconnaissance plane, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Colonel General Alexander Fomin said at a plenary session of the Beijing Xiangshan Forum on security on Thursday.

“Thirteen drones moved according to common combat battle deployment, operated by a single crew. During all this time the American Poseidon-8 reconnaissance plane patrolled the Mediterranean Sea area for eight hours,” he noted.

When the drones met with the electronic countermeasures of the Russian systems, they switched to a manual guidance mode, he said. “Manual guidance is carried out not by some villagers, but by the Poseidon-8, which has modern equipment. It undertook manual control,” the deputy defense minister noted.

“When these 13 drones faced our electronic warfare screen, they moved away to some distance, received the corresponding orders and began to be operated out of space and receiving help in finding the so-called holes through which they started penetrating. Then they were destroyed,” Fomin reported.

“This should be stopped as well: in order to avoid fighting with the high-technology weapons of terrorists and highly-equipped terrorists it is necessary to stop supplying them with equipment,” the deputy defense minister concluded.

The Russian Defense Ministry earlier said that on January 6 militants in Syria first massively used drones in the attack on the Russian Hmeymim airbase and the Russian naval base in Tartus.

The attack was successfully repelled: seven drones were downed, and control over six drones was gained through electronic warfare systems. The Russian Defense Ministry stressed that the solutions used by the militants could be received only from a technologically advanced country and warned about the danger of repeating such attacks in any country of the world.

Posted by: Aziz | Sep 21 2019 8:39 utc | 58

The Russian Ministry of Defense has said in a recent statement that the Pentagon has reasons to worry about Turkey obtaining S-400 air defense systems, the first portions of which were shipped this summer.

"The shiver and worries of the Pentagon over Turkey-based S-400 air defense systems potentially lifting the veil on the F-35 fighter jets’ secrets are not entirely unfounded", the statement said.

Responding to recent claims of an American general that the US can penetrate Russian air defenses in the Kaliningrad Region, the ministry further noted that the F-35s are only "invisible" to their foreign buyers and US taxpayers. The statement said that NATO pilots, who flew close to Russia's borders in the Baltics, are "well aware" of how well the region is protected.

Commander of the US Air Forces in Europe and Africa, Gen. Jeffrey Lee Harrigian was earlier quoted by the outlet Breaking Defense as claiming that the US has developed plans to breach the Kaliningrad Integrated Air Defence System [IADS] in the event of a military conflict with Russia.

"If we have to go in there to take down, for instance, the Kaliningrad IADS, let there be no doubt we have a plan to go after that […] We train to that. We think through those plans all the time, and […] if that would ever come to fruition, we’d be ready to execute", Harrigian said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has stated that in light of Harrigian's interview, Moscow sees such "irresponsible" statements as a "threat".

Posted by: Aziz | Sep 21 2019 8:43 utc | 59

“Naive belief in superiority”: Russia responded to the words of the US Air Force general about plans to attack the Kaliningrad region

Posted by: Aziz | Sep 21 2019 8:44 utc | 60

Aziz | Sep 21 2019 8:39 utc | 58

A good summary of everything the Russians did exactly correct; contrasted with everything the Americans failed to understand about "effective" defense against a wide range of targets attacking a point by air.
US utterly failed to understand what Russia has worked diligently to create for decades...
IMO, it's too late for the US to redo its air defense systems in time to matter...

Posted by: V | Sep 21 2019 9:12 utc | 61

There is one thought I keep having about this murder of people harvesting food which makes me rather sad. These poor bastards were sleeping in their tents after working all day picking fruit and then they are turned into pink mist by a remote control aircraft piloted by someone in an office in Nevada. He/she then goes home and cuts the grass or watches Jeopardy! without a care in the world.

How cheap is human life? At least that of those far away.. How callous can we be to not be outraged by this senseless killing? What is the criteria for UAV assassinations? is a hunch good enough now? or just kill them all and let god sort them out?

even the regulars here seem to have grown quite accustomed to this madness and are seemingly unfazed. too bad

Posted by: dan of steele | Sep 21 2019 9:45 utc | 62

dan of steele | Sep 21 2019 9:45 utc | 63
even the regulars here seem to have grown quite accustomed to this madness and are seemingly unfazed. too bad

Indeed, it does seem that way...
I resist that; but utterly fail to understand how to stop it...
And therein lies the problem; nobody of import seems to care and thus fails to point the way to stop it...
Have you a do-able/workable solution?

Posted by: V | Sep 21 2019 9:57 utc | 63

"When the World Trade Center towers came down the U.S. accused al-Qaeda and went to war to oust the Taliban who had given some Arab friends a retreat in Afghanistan."

Where to begin when criticizing this? In fact, why bother. If people can't automatically see the problem, then they deserve it.

Posted by: Gigo Toc | Sep 21 2019 10:15 utc | 64

@ V Sep 21 2019 9:57 utc
Sadly, no. B is doing an excellent job of bringing this ugliness to the light of day but he is a lonely voice in the wilderness. Corporate media easily drowns him out.

oddly enough, one possible way to make this stop would be to challenge Trump on it. I do not believe he is a stone cold killer. He may be a liar and a cheat and have a ginormous ego but he does not strike me as someone who would pull the wings off insects or set cats on fire for entertainment.

Obama was quite ok approving kill lists, I wonder how Trump deals with it....

Posted by: dan of steele | Sep 21 2019 10:58 utc | 65

@6 Red Ryder

Sometimes it is helpful to point at obvious but unmentioned facts, more than 70 years and the US are in Japan and Germany. Our own dictator and nazi ally Franco gave them bases to save his nazi skin, and they are still here. They'll never leave, they have to be kicked out and finally it is starting to look possible, they are going to be kicked out, from a lot of places.

Posted by: Paco | Sep 21 2019 11:05 utc | 66

Posted by: dan of steele | Sep 21 2019 10:58 utc | 66
Obama was quite ok approving kill lists, I wonder how Trump deals with it....

Thanks for the reply.
In answer to your question; I don't know.
But agree with your Obama critique; his complicity in kill lists and war in general was not surprising, unfortunately...

Posted by: V | Sep 21 2019 11:20 utc | 67

Corrections to my comment @53

1) Typo: GWOT, now with extra terra.

2) I don't want to make the mistake of saying that the fight against ISIS isn't real. I'm sure that grunts in the US armed forces think it is - as does the public. But covert support for ISIS from CIA, Mossad, and others Empire agents seems very likely.

With that view, Eric Prince's proposal to replace US troops with mercenaries is laughable - they already have! And the proposed draw-down of US troops is possible because they are essentially being replaced by ISIS mercenaries.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 21 2019 12:50 utc | 68

Karlof1 @ 13

If only he'd widen his vision to include the entire world for the corporate elite don't stop at any one border.

Thanks for making this comment which reiterates my worldview wrt globalization. Nationalism is a phoney response to the problem of class politics. In the age of globalization the first step cannot be to destroy the opaque financial systems, trade agreements and financial markets. Why? Because it simply isn't possible to do as a first step. Rail against, protest against, sure. But destroy? Show me a realistic blueprint for that and I will consider.

The first step taken by Sanders isn't perfect (newsflash: only heaven is perfect and heaven is a place where nothing ever happens, to quote the old song) but it is a necessary beginning to a worldwide re-ordering of the global wealth imbalance.

Leftist, class-based politics do need to develop within national political systems. This is why Sanders (or whomever on the left) must focus first within borders.

So very many are deceived into believing the nationalist/populist politics of Bannon/Mercer/Trump/Farage represent a break from globalist oppression. Nothing could be further from the truth. Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.

As seen with Brexit, national populism will only lead to greater class based wealth imbalances. The poor will pay the higher price when they can't afford the current price.

The problem with this cracked, desperate reasoning behind nationalist populism: the globalized system of multinational coprorations and financial markets (yes, supported and maintained not only by the West but also by Russian and Chinese elites too, our so-called saviours and heroes, at least to all the deceived and disillusioned who feed exclusively from alt media propaganda sources) will not only not fall apart in the face of nationalist politics, not even the self destructive delusionally inspired kind that led to Brexit, but will in fact continue to thrive in a system that is supremely mutable and opportunistic to take in and exploit whatever cosmetic political changes develop in single nations or multinational markets.

As anyone knows who is capable of understanding the vast web of connections and ties among the multinational corporate elites, wealthy shareholders, rentiers, politicians through the global financial markets, this system is vastly flexible, has enormous (obviously) resources with which to react and counter any single nationally based attempt at taking it down. In fact, Brexit nor Gilet Jaunes, nor Trumpism even attempts to take the financial system down. If this seems to be the case it is only a byproduct of bungling and lying to the people, not the intent.

The revolution will require an equally vast and superiour organised response on a global level. First steps. First steps. A long road. Not easy.

Geezers on this board feel our time running out and we know it will fall to future generations to make this revolution happen. Thus it appears most of us have settled for the fake populist nationalist reaction rather than the long game of organizing the oppressed because...why exactly?

Posted by: donkeytale | Sep 21 2019 14:10 utc | 69

I will also state unequivocally the meme that the left/right political paradigm is dead, that we live in a post-ideological age, that left and right discontents must merge to overthrow the system is disinformation....anyone who believes this has drunk the koolaid bought and paid for by the forces of rightwing authoritarian fascism.

Posted by: donkeytale | Sep 21 2019 14:19 utc | 70

Trump has moved away from ground combat toward air raids, killing Afghan citizens with bombs and missiles, at no US risk. (There are still some Special Forces assassination units on the ground, cooperating with CIA.) These air-delivered atrocities are generally not reported, we just get a glimmer now then as with the pine nut gatherers.

The problem is that, as has been shown in Iraq, any pullout would be a political nightmare in Washington from all the bought-and-paid-for suck-up politicians crying that a pullout just made matters worse. The US must maintain its world hegemony, and that means no pullouts anywhere, unless forced.

Retired Navy SEAL Adm. William McRaven, the former head of U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) who organized the 2011 raid that took out Al Qaeda leader Usama bin Laden, says the U.S. will be in Afghanistan “for a very long time. Is it forever? I don't think anything's for forever. But does that mean that we will lose more young men and women? Does that mean we're going to spend [more] billions of dollars? I think it does,” McRaven said. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 21 2019 14:46 utc | 71

So we have Donkeytale back to tell us that everything is pointless and we should lie down and accept our lumps.

In no case should we develop a national consciousness and defend our countries and our countrymen. Donkeytale's obsession with defeating nationalism matches nicely Barbara Lerner Spectre's insistence on destroying the nations/folk of Europe and probably baked in the same oven.

Building a better world starts with a better self, a better home, a better city, a better province, a better nation. When one reaches the better nation standard (as Germany and many other countries in Western Europe had done so just ten years ago before the Libyan and Syrian War), that is when a country would be able to contribute substantially

Real world example: Vladimir Putin's passion is to improve Russia. By first improving Russia, he's been able to influence the world. If he started with influencing the world, he'd have no influence and no hope of influence and Russia would have fallen apart. Returning to donkeytale: this is what he'd like us and every other activist to do – chase chimeras, lose our strength while his hidden allies disinherit us.

Posted by: Uncoy | Sep 21 2019 14:57 utc | 72

the bipartisan u.s. war machine celebrates 18 years of profits.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Sep 21 2019 14:58 utc | 73

The doofuses running the drone campaign just blow up any congregation of men they see. So, a bunch of essentially migrant laborers gathered around a fire get killed. This is the reality of our drone operations.

Posted by: erik | Sep 21 2019 14:59 utc | 74

uncoy this is what you state:

So we have Donkeytale back to tell us that everything is pointless and we should lie down and accept our lumps. In no case should we develop a national consciousness and defend our countries and our countrymen. Donkeytale's obsession with defeating nationalism matches nicely Barbara Lerner Spectre's insistence on destroying the nations/folk of Europe and probably baked in the same oven

This is what I stated:

The first step taken by Sanders isn't perfect (newsflash: only heaven is perfect and heaven is a place where nothing ever happens, to quote the old song) but it is a necessary beginning to a worldwide re-ordering of the global wealth imbalance.

Leftist, class-based politics do need to develop within national political systems. This is why Sanders (or whomever on the left) must focus first within borders.

You mischaracterise my statement. "Everything is pointless?" Purely disinformational take by you there. I'm enthusiaistic about the beginnings of a socialist groundswell among a large cross section of American young people and the emergence of leftist political leaders of the younger generation.

I'm not obsessed with defeating nationalism at all. I believe it is self defeating so long as people understand clearly what nationalism represents historically. I'm countering the rightwing disinformation you have apparently swallowed whole and now wish to regurgitate by battling me with falsehoods.

I'm obsessed with defeating wealth inequality, racism and fascism, all of which are stoked and furthered by nationalist ideology. War is another regular historical byproduct of nationalist ideology.

There is nothing better for the wealth of the ruling elites nor worse for the prospects of the working class than war.

Posted by: donkeytale | Sep 21 2019 15:16 utc | 75

Uncoy I see from your blog you are Vienna-based.

I'll refrain from commenting further on the rich reactionary history of Austria which seems to be fluorishing anew in this dubious age of a reigniting Euro fascist tendency.

Posted by: donkeytale | Sep 21 2019 15:27 utc | 76

karlof1 @13, donkeytale @everywhere

The Democratic and Republican Parties are merely private clubs. They don't feel any obligation to abide by democratic principles:

According to a report in Newsweek , attorneys who filed a class-action lawsuit against the DNC argued that “the DNC violated Article 5, Section 4 of its own charter by working with a single campaign to effectively choose who would win the Democratic ballot.”

“These governing documents,” the complaint argues, “expressly obligate the DNC to maintain a neutral posture with respect to candidates seeking the party’s nomination for President during the nominating process.”

... in response to the lawsuit the DNC contended that “the organization's neutrality among Democratic campaigns during the primaries was merely a 'political promise,' and therefore it had no legal obligations to remain impartial throughout the process.”

<> <> <> <>

Parties are NOT specified in the Constitution and they are NOT part of any government process. They arise from artificial parameters of the electoral system.

The Club exists simply because it satisfies the needs of its wealthy donors. While some donations come from ordinary people that are fooled by fearmongering, the donors that matter give millions year after year like Sheldon Adelson and Haim Saban (“I’m a one-issue guy, and my issue is Israel.”) . Everyone that works for or with the Parties understands how this works and self-select based on their willingness to continue the sham.

That includes Sanders who entered the 2016 race for the Democratic primary as a sheepdog for Hillary. And proved himself in this role when he told the press: "enough with the emails" and then supported Hillary for President despite being cheated and snubbed. What kind of "leader" stands for that?

Absent independent Movements, there's nothing to stop the Parties from manipulating the political environment to ensure that the left-right divide works to their benefit. And it certainly does.

Anyone that sees this can easily see through the "Democracy Works!" bullshitters and the shills that attempt to 1) deepen the left-right divide and/or 2) diffuse any move to change the current system (via things like Movements and direct democracy initiatives). The bullshitters and shills are merely inviting you to the 'Party'.

Yeah, we need to reign in the oligarchy. But the duopoly Parties are part of the problem as they are servants of the oligarchy.

It's a big club - and you ain't in it.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 21 2019 15:35 utc | 77

People forget USA did cut and run from a major war already. Vietnam. That is because it's civilian population went to the streets and forced them.

Americans do have blood on their hands because they are not out in the streets protesting. But on the other hand the automatic killing machines that US uses now and the covert mode of operations does prevent in some way Ppl getting together against war.

But there is one thing that Americans should do. It's to elect a president that promises to end this criminal war. Only 2 candidates have promised this. (Trump doesn't count because he already broke his promise} Tulsi and Bernie.

If USA doesn't elect one of these, the American Ppl will have the blood of all these afghans on their hands.

Posted by: Comandante | Sep 21 2019 15:40 utc | 78

JR that is fine but your comment more closely resembles the "everything is pointless" appelation uncoy falsely bestowed upon me.

Your comments scream the world is totally rigged and nothing can be done about it.

This is the self defeatism at the heart of the conspiracy theorist.

Posted by: donkeytale | Sep 21 2019 15:41 utc | 79

Democracy? No.
There is no way for citizens to affect national problems. We enjoy modern communications, with real-time interpersonal updates on everything, but is any of this technology directed (by the government) toward conducting referenda on national problems, like war and health care?. . .No. All we get on the national level is a quadrennial feel-good exercise with a choice between two lying schmucks, which is why forty percent of the electorate stays home.
So any talk of democracy is baloney.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 21 2019 15:46 utc | 80

donkeytale @80: "everything is pointless"... self defeatism

No. Recognizing the problem is the first step to fixing it.

The vast majority of pundits take pains to ignore the problems or misdirect via "Democracy Works!" propaganda.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 21 2019 15:49 utc | 81

@ Comandante 79
People forget USA did cut and run from a major war already. Vietnam.
Wrong. The Vietnam war ended not because of any citizen opinions but only because of dissension in the draftee Army ranks, including mission refusal and fragging (rolling live grenades under leaders cots). Then they ended the draft, so that's not likely to be repeated.

Regarding anti-war protests, they have been proven not to work during the stupid Iraq war.

But there is one thing that Americans should do. It's to elect a president that promises to end this criminal war
Not likely, given the establishment MSM, ninety percent controlled by six corporations.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 21 2019 15:52 utc | 82

Comandante @79

So you would vote for a Biden-Tulsi ticket?

That's my best guess for the outcome of the Democratic Party primary.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 21 2019 15:53 utc | 83

Don - are you the same Don Bacon who posts or posted on Lew Rockwell's website?

JR - the fact we seem eternally mired in the recognition of the problem phase of political developmental infancy for what 15 blogging years while the world continually descends towards further wealth and political inequality ruled by the monied elites seems to reinforce my point rather than refute it.

You offer nothing beyond an abstract call for an undefined independent movement. This is simply fiddling while Rome burns my friend. Or like uncoy here you are supportive of the fascist tendency. Implicitly you are supportive by doing nothing beyond over educating yourself.

Same thing bro: Implicit or explicit support for the status quo

Posted by: donkeytale | Sep 21 2019 16:01 utc | 84

No donkey.

You're engaged in pro-establishment shilling like dismissing Gillets Jaunes and Assange, pushing "Democracy Works!" propaganda, and blunting criticism of Western elites with a false equivalence between Western and Eastern oligarchs.

In contrast, I'm engaged in opening people's eyes to fundamental problems in Western society.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 21 2019 16:11 utc | 85

Furthermore, no political movement remains independent if it starts to achieve critical mass and becomes relevant.

Occupy became coopted by unions and Democrats (although it indirectly gave rise to Bernie's campaign).

Trumpism and Brexit were coopted by the GOP and Tories.

The problem facing outside movements is gaing critical mass acceptance while remaining pure. Not achievable in the mesdy state of affairs known as human society.

Purity becomes an excuse for not engaging or for disengaging.

So what results from this? "Everything is hopeless."

Nihilism is the fertile breeding ground for fascism.

Posted by: donkeytale | Sep 21 2019 16:20 utc | 86

Im not furthering argument from here because we are OT and already threatened eith banishment but our discussion is worthy I think. I'm not dismissive of either gilet jaunes or Assange. Gilet jaunes is a rough equivalent of Occupy in which I participated and as others have stated it is not a revolutionary movement in any event. It is also similar in some respects to Hong Kong.

As for Assange I will simply note you voted for Trump whose DoJ unilaterally moved to prosecute him when Obama's DoJ refused to do so. So I'm not sure how you can realistically claim to support Assange. You have done worse than merely dismiss him imho.

Posted by: donkeytale | Sep 21 2019 16:32 utc | 87

donkeytale @87


>> Occupy was shut down in a quick nationwide action approved by neoliberal dissembler Obama.

>> "Trumpism" is a strawman.

>> Many/Most Movements remain cohesive and true to their goals. Examples: Abolition, Suffragette, Civil Rights, Anti-war.

>> "Nihilism": a pro-establishment mislabeling.

>> "Fascism": 'lesser-evil' scare-mongering asking us to accept a false choice: fake democracy is better than no democracy.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 21 2019 16:43 utc | 88

The invasion of Afghanistan was planned before 9/11. (see Tobin, karlof1, BM, others, above, adding to the drum beat.)

The UN, the Int’l community, did not object, either before, or after, 9/11.

It was pretty much given the green light, before. After, was impossible as that meant calling USA top-dogs scummy liars.

Afghanistan and the Taliban had nothing to do with 9/11, that was just a lying excuse for the US public.

See for ex.

ex. The Afghanistan pipeline route was pushed by the US-based Unocal oil company,
which engaged in intensive negotiations with the Taliban regime.
These talks, however, ended in disarray in 1998.

Lee Iacocca was a main mover.

The touted aim, after the ‘failure’ of the ‘pipeline’ - a huge story on its own - was treasure (minerals for ex.)

Which never transpired, much like the control of the oil fields in Iraq (today, projects by China, Malaysia, Russia…)


In 2018 a struggle to extract ..*coal* in Afgh:

Instead, heroin, poppy fields, as pointed out above in several posts.

—> (Taffy at 3.) The Taliban slashed poppy fields as there was a production glut and they needed
the price to rise. Showing that takes digging into the UN reports - it was made clear at the time -
ok take it as a perso opinion. Heroin (refineries mostly in Pakistan - production, transport and selling
by multiple) is the only cash agri crop Afgh. has: keeping the price high, the peasants on board
(and alive..), was, and is, essential. (Banking / insurance / gvmt. systems to support other crops is lacking.)

Again, old history, I don’t have time to dig and shore it up, but several proposals were made at the UN
to work towards legalising poppy cultivation in Afgh. integrating its produce into the Pharma industry.

All were squashed, disallowed, or directly veto-ed by the US. * Iirc. *

Posted by: Noirette | Sep 21 2019 16:59 utc | 89

Trump rode to power on a non mainstream political ideology of conservative nationalism/populism infused with heavy doses of racism. This is a movement whether you like or not.

Trump stood outside the GOP tent. Im sure you would not have voted for him otherwise. So I reject your strawman label. Trumpism is a clearly defined movement that is authoritarian and fascist in character. Fascism is the greatest threat to solving wealth inequality. Fascist tendencies are sscendant throughout the caucasian world including Russia most demondtrably.

Occupy message was coopted by Democrats who form the base of Bernie's support in 2016 and in turn led to the election.

Your comments on nihilism and fascism are not coherent in the context of my point nor do they refute my point.

Posted by: donkeytale | Sep 21 2019 17:01 utc | 90

"and in turn led to the election of AOC, Omar, Tlaib, Pressley and other newer leftier forces in 2018."

Posted by: donkeytale | Sep 21 2019 17:05 utc | 91

Just checked in to catch up, and I see that this thread has degenerated into a "Troll vs Troll" obfuscation. I see the cartoon of Spy vs Spy in my mind, but the pointy heads are dunce's caps.

Perhaps b should have banned both of those empty, flaming, straw-man-loving fools when he warned them to stop their spats. Live and learn.

Posted by: Grieved | Sep 21 2019 17:07 utc | 92

donkeytale @89:

I'm not dismissive of either gilet jaunes or Assange.

You been dismissive of Gillets Jaune many times, @70 in this thread you write: In fact, Brexit nor Gilet Jaunes, nor Trumpism even attempts to take the financial system down.

Of Assange, you wrote:

I'm for protecting Assange's freedom on principle but he is no sort of great man in any way shape or form.

In fact to me he is very much the typical media whore and drama queen.

... He's a rightwing libertardian which means he is an enemy of the masses at the end of the day (btw I say the same of both Snowden and Greenwald) ...

you voted for Trump

Every time you trot that out you show how dishonest you are. You know about my vote because I've described my personal experience of being played by faux populist candidates and the establishment's game of lesser-evilism. I voted for Obama and then AGAINST HILLARY. But neither vote really mattered much - the neoliberal 'Empire First' US government doesn't change.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 21 2019 17:31 utc | 93

@ dan of steele | Sep 21 2019 9:45 utc | 63

He/she then goes home and cuts the grass or watches Jeopardy! without a care in the world.

You're right to lament that "we", i.e. the public in general, have come to accept or passively tolerate a world in which professional deathmongers diminish and effectively dismiss the routine slaughter of innocents; they reduce such high crimes to bureaucratic, anesthetic, technical terms like "collateral damage".

The government and complicit mass-media consent manufacturers have also addressed the surrealistic circumstances expressed in the bit I quoted. You've probably seen articles discussing the emerging problem of remote drone operators suffering from psychological distress, PTSD, etc.

I accept that killers-at-a-distance, like up close and personal killers, may suffer from intermittent or belated attacks of conscience, and genuinely feel psychic torment when their cognitive-dissonance defense mechanisms are overwhelmed. But I can't feel the sympathy for them that these reports obviously attempt to elicit.

Authoritarian governments using aggressive military power consider "victimhood" a zero-sum condition. Thus, the collaterally damaged are nullified as unfortunate statistics, while the distressed drone operators are presented as the "real" victims.

Posted by: Ort | Sep 21 2019 18:09 utc | 94

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 21 2019 14:46 utc | 72

Point is, even if it stays for longer, the US is losing the war. The Taliban are cutting Afghanistan in half. Very good strategy, i would say, and something i haven't seen the US military and think tanks mentioning in detail. Just look at the map.

And bear in mind that today ShahJoy district in Zabul province fell to the Taliban, so add this to the gray taliban controlled area in the middle of the country.

So if the US wants to change things, it will have to send more troops to Afghanistan. But if it sends more troops that will mean more dozens of billions of dollars spent (war in Afghanistan is very expensive per capita due to the serious logistical issues) and more US casualties.

In other words, the US is trapped. It could escalate again in Afghanistan (and this failed in the past), but that will put it in even worse fiscal position as well as in the great power competition with Russia, China and Iran. It will also mean more refugee waves towards Europe. The US loses in such scenario. Its allies too. And if it further angers some country that may lead to someone finally supplying manpads to the Taliban. The US staying for long in Afghanistan puts it in bad position, especially as it is a declining power.

And it is their hurt imperial emotions that make it impossible to withdraw. This mentality is probably the trap of empires.

Posted by: Passer by | Sep 21 2019 18:28 utc | 95

@ Pb 96
Point is, even if it stays for longer, the US is losing the war.
Winning, losing, it doesn't matter. The US is now supporting Vietnam claims against China, after losing a war to Vietnam!
The US thrives on constant war in Asia and Africa. Big profits to "defense" corporations, which means more financial aid to politicians, universities, military officers, etc. There is absolutely no down side to "losing" so along as the US stays involved, dropping bombs on peasants which recruits more enemies which prolongs the war which increases the profits.
A national security state, which the US has been since at least 1947, requires enemies and ongoing wars with enemies is even better. It's important to keep US soldiers in a war theater, if possible, because that provides reportable deaths which legitimizes the effort. Human sacrifice, as with the Aztecs. It must be an important cause if soldiers are dying for it, and we must stay longer and avenge their deaths.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 21 2019 19:49 utc | 96

according to what BM said in comment #2, I also believe that the goal is not to win a war. Although it is difficult to sell those endless unwinnable wars to the public, it can work (for the public). Just add the occasional 'rebel insurgency' from bearded wild hordes (which equals non-civilised beings, which is not far from non-humans or animals, which are allowed to be killed at random), and the reasoning for any atrocity remains intact in the public eye.

Moral values, or any value if you want, don't count in this game. To the contrary. If you were a rich person, at those dinners, you would at one moment or the other not be able to overcome the temptation to brag about your special investments and save places. Which is a thing that is even more attractive if it circumvents the local law, or international law. You are the smart one if you know those tricks, and being rich almost implements such knowledge.

Destabilisation is the tactic. Order, as a contrary, poses only danger for the rich.

Posted by: Phil | Sep 21 2019 20:11 utc | 97

Don Bacon #83

db writes: The Vietnam war ended not because of any citizen opinions but only because of dissension in the draftee Army ranks,

er, I would consider those draftees, as was observed, a significant expression of citizen opinions.

Posted by: ToivoS | Sep 21 2019 22:14 utc | 98

Note from the French-speaking Saker

The article does not say a word about the colossal profits of the opium trade managed under the protection of the CIA, which certainly has no interest in seeing such a lucrative business run dry.

Posted by: ALEXANDRE SCHALLHAMMER | Sep 22 2019 0:03 utc | 99

@Posted by: ALEXANDRE SCHALLHAMMER | Sep 22 2019 0:03 utc | 100

No worries, here people always add info....

The Spoils of War: Afghanistan’s Multibillion Dollar Heroin Trade

Posted by: Sasha | Sep 22 2019 0:18 utc | 100

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