Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Obama: Our Newest War President, Just Another Fraud & Hypocrite

As I listened to the ever so stale and predictable lies spoken by President Obama tonight, I couldn't suppress the outright disgust and sense of betrayal that welled up inside me. He has inspired similar feelings before with his continuation of the shameless and unprecedented taxpayer bailout of Wall Street concurrent with his abandonment of foreclosed upon homebuyers, single-payer medical care, unemployed workers, and etc., but tonight was different. Tonight, as he spoke to his military audience, he was clearly little more than a programmed pathological talking head, the epitome of the governing puppet, producing lie after lie ever so smoothly to justify HIS and our government's tragically misguided war against Afghanistan.

I may tackle his stated reasons for deepening the quagmire at another time (some are addressed below), but I thought the article below by Veterans Today Senior Editor Gordon Duff was a mostly accurate prediction of what he would say (it was written prior to the speech). One of the half lies Obama told you tonight, contrary to an initial assertion in the article below, is that his escalation will "allow us to begin the transfer of our forces out of Afghanistan in July of 2011." While technically, they might bring some troops home then, our "commitment" and occupation will quite likely remain for years to come, as in Germany, Korea, and Iraq, while the resentments we sow around the world, particularly in the Muslim world, will grow, grow grow.

By October of this year, Obama had already committed more Americans than Bush had to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is his second escalation of the Afghan war, and with the numbers announced tonight, added to the 13,000 support troops committed in October, and the troops from his first escalation of 21,000 in March, Obama will have shown the world convincingly that he intends exceed and continue the aggressive militarism of the Bush 2 administration.

We reap what we sow and chickens come home to roost. Obama, for obvious reasons, couldn't afford to tell you those truths tonight either.

Democracy Now 12/2/09
Rep. Kucinich on Afghanistan War: “We’re Acting Like a Latter Day Version of the Roman Empire”

Rep. Kucinich on Afghanistan War: “We’re Acting Like a Latter Day Version of the Roman Empire”

As President Obama unveils his plan to escalate the war in Afghanistan, we speak with Ohio Congressmember Dennis Kucinich. “The United States is going deeper and deeper into debt,” says Kucinich. “We have money for Wall Street and money for war but we don’t have money for work…for healthcare. We have to start asking ourselves, ‘Why is it that war is a priority but the basic needs of people in this country are not?’”[includes rush transcript]


Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D - Ohio),

I’m joined now from Washington, D.C. by Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich. He opposes the troop buildup in Afghanistan. Welcome to Democracy Now! Congressmember Kucinich represents the Cleveland area. Your response to President Obama’s West Point address?

REP. DENNIS KUCINCH: First I would like to respond to the voices of the Afghan people. It’s very clear they do not want to be saved by us. They want to be saved from us. And President Obama’s escalation of the war, sending an additional 30,000 troops, will bring—as you pointed out-–the total strength to about 100,000.

That’s $100 billion a year and that doesn’t even include the private contractors we’ll be paying for, which adds up to about $160 billion dollars a year. It really begs the question about whether the nation-building that we seek to do in Afghanistan would be better directed to rebuilding America, to creating jobs here, to rebuilding bridges here instead of blowing them up in Afghanistan.

I think our priorities are misplaced. And I think that all those who really support this President, who really like him—and I like him—need to challenge him on this. Because we can’t just let this go by the boards because we may have some sympathetic feelings for the difficult task that he has undertaken as President of the United States.

AMY GOODMAN: Congressman Kucinich, can you talk about the level of opposition in Congress right now and explain what Congressman Obey has been talking about, the war tax?

REP. DENNIS KUCINCH: First of all, it will remain to be seen what the level of opposition is in the Congress. And I want to point out why: On October 8, 2009, the Congress of the United States passed a bill that authorizes the expenditure of $130 billion dollars for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The House actually preceded the President in making a statement about support for the war.
Unfortunately, that bill was supported by all but 15 members of my own party. So we’ll have to see whether or not Congress will take a stand against spending more money for this war, whether it’s in an appropriation bill or a supplemental bill.

Now with respect to Congressman Obey and the proposal for a war tax, we’re already paying a war tax. A substantial amount of the tax dollars that Americans pay today go for paying for wars. And we don’t need to pay more. The point is well taken and that is that we’re already paying more for war. We’re already spending more for a military buildup than any nation. As a matter of fact, than all the nations of the world put together. We are in 130 countries.

You would think that we don’t have enough to do here at home. You would think that we don’t have 47 million Americans who go to bed hungry, 47 million Americans who don’t have any health care, 15 million Americans who are out of work, another 10 million Americans whose homes are threatened with foreclosure, people going bankrupt, business failures. All these things are happening in our country and we’re acting like a latter-day version of the Roman Empire, reaching for empire while inside we rot.

We have to challenge this because our future as a nation is at stake. If we continue to militarize, we lose our civil liberties, we lose our capacity to meet our needs here at home.

AMY GOODMAN: Here’s what the President said about the cost of war, Congressman Kucinich: Quote, “All told, by the time I took office, the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan approached $1 trillion dollars. Going forward, I’m committed to addressing these costs openly and honestly. Our new approach in Afghanistan is likely to cost us roughly $30 billion dollars for the military this year and I will work closely with Congress to address these costs as we work to bring down our deficit.”

Your response?

REP. DENNIS KUCINCH:We are borrowing money right now to be able to prosecute wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The United States is going deeper and deeper into debt. We borrowed money or printed money as the Fed may have it, to help finance $13 trillion dollars in bailouts for Wall street.

You know, we have money for Wall Street and money for war, but we don’t have money for work. We have money for Wall Street and money for war, but we don’t have money for health care. We have to start asking ourselves, why is it that war is a priority, but the basic needs of the people of this country are not? And how are we getting the money to pay for the war?

We’re borrowing it. We’re going deeper into debt. We’re mortgaging our future. We’re creating conditions where we will become less democratic because we can’t meet the most essential needs of our people. This needs to be challenged. And it needs to be challenged in a forthright way. It can be challenged without making President Obama the issue. The issue is the war, the issue is America’s reach for empire. The issue is our inability to meet the needs of people here at home.

AMY GOODMAN: Congressman Kucinich, last night President Obama said, “I make this decision because I am convinced our security is at stake in Afghanistan and Pakistan.” He said, “This is the epicenter of violent extremism practiced by Al Qaeda. It is from here that we were attacked on 9/11 and it is from here that new attacks are being plotted as I speak.”

President Obama went on to say, “This is no idle danger, no hypothetical threat. In the last few months alone, we’ve apprehended extremists within our borders who were sent here from the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan to commit new acts of terror.”

Do you know who he is talking about?

REP. DENNIS KUCINCH: No, but I think that we should point out, America is appropriately involved in trying to push back against terrorism. Anti-terrorism takes many different poses and one of them certainly is intelligence gathering, cooperation with other nations, police work. Those are all legitimate things to do.

However, what’s happening is that Al Qaeda and its global Jihadist agenda is being conflated with the Taliban, which is essentially a homegrown resistance that has been strengthened by the U.S. occupation. We need to be very careful that we don’t use counter-terrorism to justify counter-insurgency. They are two different things. As the Taliban is not the same thing as Al Qaeda. Sooner or later, we are going to have to deal with the Taliban, but the Taliban isn’t sponsoring global terrorism. And the suggestion of that is just not true.

And furthermore, I think it is somewhat disturbing that the President used some language that was very similar to the language President Bush used that took us into Iraq. We’ve got to be careful about getting on this slippery slope to justifying our position in other countries based on fears of terrorism.

We can meet the challenge of terrorism, but not of we spend all of the resources of our country in an adventure or continued adventure 10,000 miles away.

AMY GOODMAN: The War Appropriations Bill almost didn’t get passed. There was a lot of opposition in Congress. But what is your sense of what will happen now?

I think that in the corporate media and the mainstream media, there is little dissent. We just had FAIR on [the show], Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting, who looked at the last 10 months of Op-Ed pages of the New York Times and The Washington Post; with 59% questioning the war, it was something like 12-13% on those pages.

Do you find actually on the media—I bumped into you yesterday when you were heading into Fox in Washington, D.C.—that you are making more common cause with those on the right who are actually saying that the struggle is here at home and that we shouldn’t be in Afghanistan spending this money?

REP. DENNIS KUCINCH: The answer to that is yes. and I think we need to look for common cause with people with whom we may have a different way of looking at the world. I cite as an example Congressman Rohrabacher from California. Another example, Congressman Duncan. Congressman Chaffetz from [Utah]. They’re all challenging the war.

The Cato Institute has issued what I think is a very reasoned approach towards getting out of Afghanistan. We need to look for allies across the boards here, and we have to get away from the old thinking that pigeonholes any of us into left/right, liberal/conservative.

We’re all Americans. We ought to be talking about what is best for America, without regard to what particular place we stand on a political spectrum. Sooner or later, we all meet in a place of concern about whether we can afford these continued military adventures and whether or not it’s time for us to start focusing on taking care of things here at home. This deficit is a real issue, Amy. We keep building it for war and Wall Street, while the interior of the United States is falling apart. I think that it’s good [that] we can broaden the coalition.

I also want to say, that every war has a kind of a headlong forward momentum. It is very difficult to stop a war once it starts. The forces of war don’t burn themselves out that quickly. War desires to be served and to be fed more bodies and more money, and we have to realize that it’s Congress that can put an end to the war, not the President. He’s not going to do that.

The president made his statement that he’s accelerating the war. You cannot be in and out at the same time. But Congress has the constitutional responsibility under Article I, Section 8, to either start or end a war with its funding power. We have to put the pressure on Congress here to say, “Vote against any more funding.”

Congress failed the test in October. They voted to authorize $130 billion dollars more. But there’ll be more requests for appropriations. There will be requests for supplemental spending. And we need to rally the American people to say, “Let’s look at our priorities.” Let’s get our priorities straight. Let’s create jobs. You can’t have guns and butter at the same time in this country. We cannot afford both anymore.

We have to start focusing on what’s the real security in America. It should be economic security, it should be the security of a job. Because joblessness is a weapon of mass destruction in case anyone has forgotten about it. So is poverty. And we have more Americans moving into poverty as a result of the misplaced priorities of our country.

AMY GOODMAN: Congressman Kucinich, we want to thank you for being with us. Congressman Kucinich ran for President against then Senator Obama. Congressman Kucinich represents the Cleveland area of Ohio.

Vietnam Vet, Scholar Andrew Bacevich on Obama War Plan: “The President Has Drawn the Wrong Lessons From His Understanding of the History of War”


Edited, info added on 12/2/09. Additional articles follow.

Has The USA Forgotten Peace
By Veterans Today Senior Editor, Gordon Duff


December 01, 2009 "Veterans Today" -- Tonight, I will listen to the President tell me that it will take years to withdraw from Afghanistan. He will, out of political necessity tell a series of lies. He will lie by omission, failing to tell people that this war, our "good war" was, when the facts are examined, a farce. There has not been a credible word from Osama bin Laden since December, 2001, when his death was announced in the Islamic press. What other reason did we have to occupy Afghanistan and lead it into total ruin?

The President will also lie because he has been lied to. He will present solutions, solutions sending troops into harms way, troops meant to build a government and country that force of arms can only destroy.

Years of propaganda and war mongering has made it impossible for any honest dialog about war. Years of lying, lying for politics, lying for profit, lying in support of treasonous foreign interests has left us with nothing to build on. No honest voice is left, just screaming liars paid by thieves claiming to represent the right or the left.

Neither really exist. If it talks, if it squawks, it is paid off by someone and is probably lying. Our government has their own business, getting elected, taking care of rich constituents and making sure war profiteers keep raking it in.

Without a voice of opposition from the people, as there is certainly no opposition in Washington, especially since the GOP is tied to the apron strings of the insurance industry and big oil and has no time for simple people, there will be no voice to scream "STOP."

Yes, support the troops. Bring them home to their families, let the villagers in Afghanistan continue whatever they have been doing for 300 years and stay out of it. We have managed to build a massive economy around playing at war. How many lobbyists does it require to hold a village in Afghanistan?

How many Predator drones does it require to find a bed for a homeless veteran?

How many mercenaries does it take to teach an amputee how to walk?

How many intelligence analysts does it take to figure out that if you keep doing the same thing over and over and it doesn't work, but you keep doing the same thing anyway, it is a sign you are nuts?

How long is it going to take us to realize that NOBODY is on our side. We think we are the new Roman empire, the policeman of the world. America isn't Caesar's Rome, not even the Rome of Augustus. We are the Rome of Nero and Caligula, a society steeped in corruption, excess and debauchery. How many Americans think of Washington DC as a center of culture and stability?

Does anyone even think America has a policy or government? Are we a country or simply a group of people ruled by a government owned and operated by special interest groups who dip into our treasury at will, send our kids off to war for amusement, and serve the agendas of "flavor of the month" allies, often brutal dictatorships disguised as enlightened democracies.

Over 40 years ago, America began to awaken to the fact that the war in Vietnam was a senseless slaughter having nothing to do with American values or security. President Obama is the 3rd president in my lifetime elected based on his promise to end a war.

In 1952, Eisenhower promised peace in Korea. We still have troops there nearly 6 decades later and wait daily for war to break out again.

In 1968, Nixon promised a "secret plan" to end the war in Vietnam. His plan, fight for 4 more years, killing 20,000 more Americans, then abandon most of our POWs and give Vietnam to the communists.

Tonite we hear another secret plan to end a war. Will we hear the truth? Not hardly!

"8 years ago we invaded Afghanistan and a short time later, Iraq, to punish a small group of murderers that killed 3000 Americans. As time has gone on, we now know that much of what we believed about those attacks is false. Evidence now points, not only to terror groups, but to countries we thought to be friends and there is even evidence of complicity here at home.

After years of phony intelligence, propaganda campaigns and torturing false confessions out of detainees, nothing can be trusted.

Donald Rumsfeld tells it best. He went before the 9/11 Commission stating there was never any indication that terror attacks of the kind seen on 9/11 were possible nor did he receive any warning. We now know that nearly every word he and so many others told that commission were lies, unquestionable, proven and done with remorseless cynicism.

8 years, the illegal invasion of Iraq, the engineering of an economic collapse in America, the corruption of our laws, of our national honor and our moral standing make it impossible for me to continue the war in Afghanistan.

No more Americans will die because of the criminality of a few. Are the few foreign terrorists or Americans, politicians, lobbyists, industrialist, bankers and their good friends overseas in Saudi Arabia or maybe Israel.

How can we order the deaths of thousands of Americans when the real "evil doers" at home run free? We know their names, we know their crimes. How can we bring justice and democracy to others when we, ourselves, have none?

Nearly 10,000 Americans are dead, tens of thousands wounded and trillions of dollars are missing. There is much more proof that these deaths and this massive theft was caused by a domestic conspiracy than any foreign intrigue.

First, we clean our own home, then we carry democracy to others."

Will we hear this tonight?

Veterans Today Senior Editor Gordon Duff is a Marine combat veteran and regular contributor on political and social issues.

The U.S. Government Is Taking Us Down

By Jacob G. Hornberger


December 01, 2009 "fff" --- President Obama has decided to up the ante in Afghanistan by acceding to his generals’ request to send an additional 34,000 troops to that beleaguered nation. What better proof that those of us who opposed the initial invasion of Afghanistan were right? The decision to treat the 9/11 attacks as a military problem, rather than a criminal-justice one, has turned out to be one unmitigated disaster, a disaster that seemingly has no end.

After all, the occupation has now been going on for 8 years. Eight years of bombs, shootings, killing, maiming, secret prisons, arbitrary arrests, torture, indefinite incarcerations, and unrestrained power to search and seize.

And eight years of unrestrained spending on armaments, soldiers, and weaponry.

Where has it gotten the American people? Nothing but more anger and rage against them among Muslims all over the world, not to mention an ever-increasing mountain of debt that is sure to send America’s currency into a free-fall.

What will those additional troops do? They will kill and maim and incarcerate and torture people. That’s their job. Sure, they’ll call it pacifying the country, establishing law and order, spreading democracy, and waging the war on terrorism.

Yet, as they kill, maim, torture, and incarcerate more Afghanis, at the same time they will be producing more anger and rage against the United States among friends, relatives, and countrymen of the victims.

Moreover, since the victims in Afghanistan are predominantly Muslim, it is inevitable that Muslims all over the world will continue to perceive the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan (and Iraq) as a U.S. crusade against Islam. Denials by U.S. officials will continue to fall upon deaf ears within the Muslim community. With each new death at the hands of U.S. military personnel, the ranks of the terrorists will continue to swell, not just in Afghanistan but all over the world.

What began as an attempt to capture or kill Osama bin Laden has morphed into an involvement in a civil war. Those 34,000 troops aren’t being sent to Afghanistan to find bin Laden. They’re being sent there to kill people whose regime was ousted from power eight years ago and to maintain a crooked, corrupt, fraudulent, drug-pushing U.S. puppet regime in power.

We should also bear in mind that among the Afghanis who U.S. officials term “bad guys” are those Afghanis who simply are resisting the illegal occupation of their country by a foreign invader and occupier. There is a moral and just alternative to killing such people: Simply exit the country.

In fact, it would be interesting to know what percentage of Afghanis killed by the U.S. military during the past 8 years, including those wedding parties that are bombed from time to time, had anything to do with the 9/11 attacks. My hunch: 99.99 percent of the total number of Afghanis killed had absolutely nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks. Of course, we don’t know how many Afghanis have been killed because U.S. policy is to keep track only of Western casualties.

On top of all this is a simple financial fact: the longer the U.S. government occupies Afghanistan (and Iraq), the closer to national bankruptcy America comes. The additional troops are estimated to cost more than $30 billion dollars. That inevitably means double or triple that.

Yet, where is all that money coming from? We all know that ever since 9/11, U.S. officials have been spending much more than what the IRS is seizing from the taxpayers. To avoid taxpayer ire, they’ve been borrowing the difference, especially from the communist regime in China, which has become the U.S. government’s chief foreign lender.

The pro-empire, pro-intervention crowd is taking our country down. Today, they tell us that they’re trapped — that they have no choice — that in order to achieve “success,” they have to continue doing the same thing they’ve done for the past 8 years. If that’s not insane, what is?

America need not fear the terrorists or even a foreign invasion. The U.S. government is doing a fine job taking down our country all on its own.

Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. jhornberger @ fff.org

November 30th, 2009 3:44 AM
An Open Letter to President Obama from Michael Moore


Dear President Obama,

Do you really want to be the new "war president"? If you go to West Point tomorrow night (Tuesday, 8pm) and announce that you are increasing, rather than withdrawing, the troops in Afghanistan, you are the new war president. Pure and simple. And with that you will do the worst possible thing you could do -- destroy the hopes and dreams so many millions have placed in you. With just one speech tomorrow night you will turn a multitude of young people who were the backbone of your campaign into disillusioned cynics. You will teach them what they've always heard is true -- that all politicians are alike. I simply can't believe you're about to do what they say you are going to do. Please say it isn't so.

It is not your job to do what the generals tell you to do. We are a civilian-run government. WE tell the Joint Chiefs what to do, not the other way around. That's the way General Washington insisted it must be. That's what President Truman told General MacArthur when MacArthur wanted to invade China. "You're fired!," said Truman, and that was that. And you should have fired Gen. McChrystal when he went to the press to preempt you, telling the press what YOU had to do. Let me be blunt: We love our kids in the armed services, but we f*#&in' hate these generals, from Westmoreland in Vietnam to, yes, even Colin Powell for lying to the UN with his made-up drawings of WMD (he has since sought redemption).

So now you feel backed into a corner. 30 years ago this past Thursday (Thanksgiving) the Soviet generals had a cool idea -- "Let's invade Afghanistan!" Well, that turned out to be the final nail in the USSR coffin.

There's a reason they don't call Afghanistan the "Garden State" (though they probably should, seeing how the corrupt President Karzai, whom we back, has his brother in the heroin trade raising poppies). Afghanistan's nickname is the "Graveyard of Empires." If you don't believe it, give the British a call. I'd have you call Genghis Khan but I lost his number. I do have Gorbachev's number though. It's + 41 22 789 1662. I'm sure he could give you an earful about the historic blunder you're about to commit.

With our economic collapse still in full swing and our precious young men and women being sacrificed on the altar of arrogance and greed, the breakdown of this great civilization we call America will head, full throttle, into oblivion if you become the "war president." Empires never think the end is near, until the end is here. Empires think that more evil will force the heathens to toe the line -- and yet it never works. The heathens usually tear them to shreds.

Choose carefully, President Obama. You of all people know that it doesn't have to be this way. You still have a few hours to listen to your heart, and your own clear thinking. You know that nothing good can come from sending more troops halfway around the world to a place neither you nor they understand, to achieve an objective that neither you nor they understand, in a country that does not want us there. You can feel it in your bones.

I know you know that there are LESS than a hundred al-Qaeda left in Afghanistan! A hundred thousand troops trying to crush a hundred guys living in caves? Are you serious? Have you drunk Bush's Kool-Aid? I refuse to believe it.

Your potential decision to expand the war (while saying that you're doing it so you can "end the war") will do more to set your legacy in stone than any of the great things you've said and done in your first year. One more throwing a bone from you to the Republicans and the coalition of the hopeful and the hopeless may be gone -- and this nation will be back in the hands of the haters quicker than you can shout "tea bag!"

Choose carefully, Mr. President. Your corporate backers are going to abandon you as soon as it is clear you are a one-term president and that the nation will be safely back in the hands of the usual idiots who do their bidding. That could be Wednesday morning.

We the people still love you. We the people still have a sliver of hope. But we the people can't take it anymore. We can't take your caving in, over and over, when we elected you by a big, wide margin of millions to get in there and get the job done. What part of "landslide victory" don't you understand?

Don't be deceived into thinking that sending a few more troops into Afghanistan will make a difference, or earn you the respect of the haters. They will not stop until this country is torn asunder and every last dollar is extracted from the poor and soon-to-be poor. You could send a million troops over there and the crazy Right still wouldn't be happy. You would still be the victim of their incessant venom on hate radio and television because no matter what you do, you can't change the one thing about yourself that sends them over the edge.

The haters were not the ones who elected you, and they can't be won over by abandoning the rest of us.

President Obama, it's time to come home. Ask your neighbors in Chicago and the parents of the young men and women doing the fighting and dying if they want more billions and more troops sent to Afghanistan. Do you think they will say, "No, we don't need health care, we don't need jobs, we don't need homes. You go on ahead, Mr. President, and send our wealth and our sons and daughters overseas, 'cause we don't need them, either."

What would Martin Luther King, Jr. do? What would your grandmother do? Not send more poor people to kill other poor people who pose no threat to them, that's what they'd do. Not spend billions and trillions to wage war while American children are sleeping on the streets and standing in bread lines.

All of us that voted and prayed for you and cried the night of your victory have endured an Orwellian hell of eight years of crimes committed in our name: torture, rendition, suspension of the bill of rights, invading nations who had not attacked us, blowing up neighborhoods that Saddam "might" be in (but never was), slaughtering wedding parties in Afghanistan. We watched as hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians were slaughtered and tens of thousands of our brave young men and women were killed, maimed, or endured mental anguish -- the full terror of which we scarcely know.

When we elected you we didn't expect miracles. We didn't even expect much change. But we expected some. We thought you would stop the madness. Stop the killing. Stop the insane idea that men with guns can reorganize a nation that doesn't even function as a nation and never, ever has.

Stop, stop, stop! For the sake of the lives of young Americans and Afghan civilians, stop. For the sake of your presidency, hope, and the future of our nation, stop. For God's sake, stop.

Tonight we still have hope.
Tomorrow, we shall see. The ball is in your court. You DON'T have to do this. You can be a profile in courage. You can be your mother's son.
We're counting on you.
Michael Moore

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