Brutal Karma

An American soldier captured by the Taliban, he apparently says in video released that US forces should leave Afghanistan, was he tortured in order to make him say that? (Or is he stating the truths he has learned?) America has zero moral authority over insisting the soldier be treated as to the Geneva conventions, his captors could torture him to death over a long period on video and would be doing no more than the US does to prisoners. The Taliban could score a propaganda victory, release him in good condition after having treating him well. But again, as the allied forces have decided propaganda is best served as terrorism- fight us and we will bomb your people and torture captives to death, can we expect the already brutal Taliban to act better than their opponents. No one should be tortured. But apparently even our media thinks it impolite to mention our countries use torture so they call it ‘abuse’.

I think the American empire is now at a stage where any president must have a war, just like kissing babies or having a Twitter account, their legitimacy must in part be earned by how much foreign blood they spill (at knock down rates), look at how entitled the political establishment is to the war drug, Dean is a medical doctor-

JUAN GONZALEZ: In terms of the—to get back again to other issues right now, I’d like to ask you about the continuation and expansion of the American war in Afghanistan. Do you have concerns about—that this is becoming really President Obama’s war—


JUAN GONZALEZ: —and the impact on our country in the future?

HOWARD DEAN: Look, again, you know—and I don’t have to say anything nice; I’m not in the administration. But I’m with Obama on his conduct of the war. I always said, when I was running against the Iraq war, that Afghanistan was different.

Let me tell you what the stakes are now. And what I find incredibly refreshing about this president is he uttered words that Lyndon Johnson never said, which is that we cannot win this war militarily. He knows that from the get-go. Here’s what’s at stake. It’s not just the Taliban. I think we could probably control the Taliban and the al-Qaeda in the Northwest territories by doing some of the things we’re already doing—drones and air power and so forth. Roughly 50 percent of the Afghan people are women. They will be condemned to conditions which are very much like slavery and serfdom in a twelfth century model of society where they have no rights whatsoever. So, I’m not saying we have to invade every country that doesn’t treat women as equal, but we’re there now. We have a responsibility. And if we leave, women will experience the most extraordinary depredations of any population on the face of the earth. I think we have some obligation to try and see if we can make this work, not just for America and our security interests, but for the sake of women in Afghanistan and all around the globe. Is this acceptable to treat women like this? I think not.

AMY GOODMAN: We just interviewed an Afghan parliamentarian, Dr. Wardak. She said the opposite. She said, yes, she agrees with you on the way women are treated, but that this is worsening the treatment, that the increased number of civilian deaths in Afghanistan, the huge number of troops that are coming in right now, are alienating the Afghan population.

Their own excuse refuted by the very people they claim to be helping, (you don’t think that’s a patronising talking point to cover yet another make work drive by the military-industrial-congressional thingy-majig do you?). Obama’s doing this differently?

Holbrooke faced very few tough questions–not even on drone strikes. Rep. Lynn Woolsey did press Holbrooke on the fact that 90 percent of the administration’s war supplemental goes towards military expenses, while the counterinsurgency strategy calls for a ratio of 80 percent political and 20 percent military.

Even by their own strategy they are not even trying, the smart change is merely to put an expert user of death squads in control

It turns out the commander of this international order of assassins has just been appointed by Defense Secretary Robert Gates to head of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. As part of the “fresh thinking” in the Obama administration, epitomized by the COIN crowd, Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal replaces Gen. David McKiernan. So who is McChrystal? A 2006 profile in Newsweek put it this way:

“JSOC is part of what Vice President Dick Cheney was referring to when he said America would have to ‘work the dark side’ after 9/11. To many critics, the veep’s remark back in 2001 fostered his rep as the Darth Vader of the war on terror and presaged bad things to come, like the interrogation abuses at Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo Bay. But America also has its share of Jedi Knights who are fighting in what Cheney calls ‘the shadows.’ And McChrystal, an affable but tough Army Ranger, and the Delta Force and other elite teams he commands are among them.”

The dark side includes McChrystal’s overseeing of Camp Nama, a detainee center outside of Baghdad (since renamed and relocated) notorious for its brutality. The very same administration that is up on its high horse about forbidding torture has just elevated one of the chief torturers to direct Obama’s war in Afghanistan. It is hardly inconceivable that what we saw at Camp Nama – beatings, degradation of prisoners, and outright, cold-blooded murder – is going to be replicated on a nationwide scale.
That’s what they call “fresh thinking” over at Obama’s Pentagon.

I’m always puzzled why relatively intelligent people think the military will establish human rights and gender equality, because like yeah they’ve been at the forefront of all human rights struggles and feminist revolutions haven’t they?

The scope of the problem was brought into acute focus for me during a visit to the West Los Angeles VA Healthcare Center, where I met with female veterans and their doctors. My jaw dropped when the doctors told me that 41% of female veterans seen at the clinic say they were victims of sexual assault while in the military, and 29% report being raped during their military service. They spoke of their continued terror, feelings of helplessness and the downward spirals many of their lives have since taken.

So the spending remains overwhelmingly military and the war run by a war criminal Cheney admired.

To actually help the people in Afghanistan-

  • Support RAWA (Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan)

  • Also see


    15 Responses to “Brutal Karma”

    1. Jay Vos Says:

      Many thanks for this post!

    2. earwicga Says:

      A lot of information to take in. Thanks for posting.

    3. celticlion Says:

      The original “the military-industrial-congressional thingy”

      Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea.

      Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

      This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

      In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

      We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

    4. celticlion Says:

      Could I just take the opportunity to place this link, it has just turned up on the net cached in a crawler. (hence the long IP address. And is sightly related to this blog post.

      This is a submission to a UN report I was asked to contribute to by DEFRA. A report commissioned by the UK Government.

      Though it is from 2002 this is the origin of what many of you know as the agenda of the 2005 G8, climate change and Africa. hence the origin of Live 8, Stern Report etc.

      This is the origin of the ‘climate change is a greater threat than terrorism’ risk assessment given global publicity in 2004 by the UK Government’s Chief Scientist Sir David King.

      Then used by many world leaders, environmental organisations and the only other source quoted by Al Gore when notified of his Nobel Prize.

      Where it is relevant to this blog. And here I must ask you to read it very closely. Is that it was produced before the invasion of Iraq. It was actually an anti-war submission, rather than a pro deal with climate change.

      Though the UN working group (UNED-UK) UN Environment and Development notified the UK Government of my recommendations in early 2003, prior to the Iraq invasion. They were only made publicly know beginning 2004, with the political and media spin, changing the original intention. And the addition of other people taking the public credit for my work in the media and public perception.

      The BBC an UK media do know I was the original author, but for ratings and to prevent embarrassment to the political establishment, I have been informed they will continue with the ‘official line’.

      As I have put in previous contributions, I was tortured by UK police and threats made against my life. As you can see there were good grounds for me to be silenced.

      This has resulted in me being a slightly isolated and reclusive figure. Some within the research world truly believe as regards climate change and planetary management I know as much as Einstein did about physics.

      In my naivety I didn’t realise that such knowledge came with a price. There is far more I could contribute but….

      This is just a fraction of my portfolio of work. As one of the UKs top corporate law firms who independently assessed the article said it is probably one of the most influential articles of the 21st century.

      To me it was something I knocked out one Thursday afternoon between taking the dogs out and having my tea.

      If you have the time go through it line by line. The knowledge of the credit crunch (the UN did warn the UK Government in 2003). Knowledge of floods, (UK 2007), fires (Australia 2009). etc

      The risk assessment climate change/ terrorism known internationally. Was prior to the invasion of Iraq. If the UK Government had released it then. How could they have justified the invasion?

    5. RickB Says:

      Thanks peeps, and that clip is always good, a US GOP ex General President saying that tells you something really bad was coming, and here we are! There was also this speech-

      Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people. This is, I repeat, the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron. … Is there no other way the world may live?
      Speech to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, “The Chance for Peace” (1953-04-16)

      • celticlion Says:

        Wow i’d never heard the speech you put up. Thanks.

        I’ll have to do something with that thanks. I have missed a lot of social history etc because I was an ecologist so saw the world, probably in the same way as the speech above, but coming at it from a different perspective.

        I have put some of my work up, that you will know but not have realised it was me. But it hasn’t come up in the comments.

    6. RickB Says:

      Ah, the spam filters can be pretty fierce, what were they under? or can you repost or post links?

    7. celticlion Says:

      It was under brutal karma. It may be because it is a link to a crawler which picked up my work. I could post without the link. But the html page gives it the context and that authenticity. If I just said what I was responsible for, people would more than likely dismiss me and then ignore the work.

    8. celticlion Says:

      Super service!!!

    9. libhomo Says:

      I think you are misunderstanding the American political system. American presidents have wars because of the role that political corruption plays in it. The US may be an empire, but it isn’t a coherent empire, rational according to its own interests. It is a system that is being undermined by the very money and influence that was used to take control.

      For instance, imperial objectives in Iraq were not well served by having billions of dollars thrown away on crony contractors instead of improving conditions in that country.

      Also, the US military often is behind the curve on human rights issues, but sometimes it is in the forefront. For instance, the military was integrated before much else in our society was. Yet, queers are being thrown out now.

      • RickB Says:

        Ah but imperialism also serves the objective of moving public wealth into private hands, so even though in theory inefficient contractors harm the warfare they do in fact serve the needs of capital, accumulation by the elite while workers (troops) are exploited. The British empire was the same, it ultimately is about the ruling class getting rich through armed robbery including its own citizens as targets and shills.

        I would argue that the military only integrated for operational/logistical reasons not any ideological commitment to equality.

    10. Jotman Says:

      Concerning the captured soldier, Fox News military analyst Ralph Peters says it might be for the best if the Taliban were to kill him (would save the Americans having to put him on trial):

      • earwicga Says:

        Nice work Ralph Peters. Now this soldier is apparently a collaborator, liar and desserter. And it’s the Taliban using Bowe Bergdahl for propaganda?

    11. RickB Says:

      Oh yes Peters! Clearly his heroes are Captain Bligh, Captain Queeg and Darth Vader!

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