“The idea that some lives are worth less is the root of all that is wrong with the world.” - Dr. Paul Farmer
“The idea that some lives are worth less is the root of all that is wrong with the world.” - Dr. Paul Farmer
Matthew Keys, the social media editor at Reuters, posted audio of a reporter asking White House Press Secretary Jay Carney if U.S. bombings that kill innocent civilians in Afghanistan constitute an “act of terror” given the labeling of the Boston Marathon bombing as “terrorism”. She specifically refers to a U.S. airstrike earlier this month that killed 11 children, just the latest in a seemingly endless line of Afghan civilian deaths at the hands of the U.S. government.
… I transcribed the exchange in full:
REPORTER: I send my deepest condolence to the victims and families in Boston. But President Obama said that what happened in Boston was an act of terrorism. I would like to ask, Do you consider the U.S. bombing on civilians in Afghanistan earlier this month that left 11 children and a woman killed a form of terrorism? Why or why not?
JAY CARNEY: Well, I would have to know more about the incident and then obviously the Department of Defense would have answers to your questions on this matter. We have more than 60,000 U.S. troops involved in a war in Afghanistan, a war that began when the United States was attacked, in an attack that was organized on the soil of Afghanistan by al Qaeda, by Osama bin laden and others and more than 3,000 people were killed in that attack. And it has been the President’s objective once he took office to make clear what our goals are in Afghanistan and that is to disrupt, dismantle and ultimately defeat al Qaeda. And with that as our objective to provide enough assistance to Afghan National Security Forces and the Afghan government to allow them to take over security for themselves. And that process is underway and the United States has withdrawn a substantial number of troops and we are in the process of drowning down further as we hand over security lead to Afghan forces. And it is certainly the case that I refer you to the defense department for details that we take great care in the prosecution of this war and we are very mindful of what our objectives are.
… Americans still see terrorism as a high-stakes public policy issue, though it has almost disappeared altogether from their list of the nation’s top problems. A Gallup poll released Monday — which was conducted in early April — found zero percent of Americans volunteering “terrorism” as the country’s most important problem. Terrorism has ranked at 1 percent or below in six separate priorities polls conducted before the Monday Gallup poll, compared to above 20 percent in the year after the attacks against the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
I find this incredibly interesting, especially because certain members of America’s ruling political class seem to be yearning for a return to the climate of lockstep fear and obedience which prevailed in the months and years after 9/11/01; a “better” time when people were more afraid of Muslims “over there” than the bankers and bigots who rule our country “over here”.
The fact of the matter is that, far from the notion that “nothing’s happened since September 11th,” the reality is that most Americans’ perspectives on the “war on terror” have changed because so MUCH has happened — decades-long wars on Afghanistan & Iraq, Guantanamo, PATRIOT Act, financial collapse, CEO bonuses, corporate bailouts, yawning economic inequality, multiple revolutions in the Middle East, the Occupy movement, and so on.
Yes, we have all learned much from the aftermath of 9/11/01. But I would submit that the most important of these lessons is that to voluntarily acquiesce one’s humanity to the forces of fear, racism, xenophobia, militarism, and blind-obedience to authority, when confronted with tragedy, hatred, and violence, is to ultimately do worse injury to oneself than that which was inflicted in the first place.
Panjwayi Massacre. Don’t forget.
“It’s like everyone gets raped,” says one victim. “The military’s like a big rape cult.”
The Rape of Petty Officer Blumer »
Inside the military’s culture of sexual abuse, denial and cover-up.
While bigots in the U.S. debate whether or not female soldiers are ready to withstand the demands of a war zone, the reality is that women in the military have been operating for years within one of the biggest war zones in the world — the US military.
For what else besides a “war zone” can one call this eminently-hostile environment, in which sexual violence and threats of abuse and death are a daily fact of life?
This is also why it is so utterly despicable when the US media uncritically parrot the narrative that the US military is the only force standing between the women of Afghanistan and the barbarian hordes waiting to rape and murder them. There is no horde of barbarians anywhere in the world more saturated in a culture of rape and murder than the US military (a point which has been made by many Afghan feminist freedom fighters).
The October 9 shooting of 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai, a student in Mingora in the Swat District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan, shocked and outraged millions of people around the globe. The teenager became a target of a Taliban faction after speaking out in favor of education reform and women’s rights. Although shot in the head, she remains alive—though continued threats on her life may force her out of the country.
In a statement,—a former member of Afghanistan’s parliament, known the world over as a courageous opponent of the U.S. occupation, the corrupt regime presided over by President Hamid Karzai and the Taliban and other conservative Islamist forces, whether they are battling or supporting the Afghan government—writes about the roots of this attack and the way forward for women’s rights in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
ONCE AGAIN, we see a crime against women by dark-minded and brutal fundamentalists. Malala Yousafzai was shot by Pakistani Taliban because she did not remain silent about the ongoing crimes and brutalities against women; because, despite her young age, she had the consciousness to stand for her rights and say “no” to the terrorism and misogyny of the creatures of the Stone Age.
I strongly condemn this disgraceful act of targeting an innocent 14-year-old girl. This is the real nature of Afghan and Pakistani fundamentalist Taliban. These dirty rascals pose as “manly,” but this heinous crime shows how unmanly and disgusting they are to try to kill a defenseless young girl.
Malala was targeted because, in her limited capacity, she wanted to inform the world about the brutalities going on against women by extremists. She wanted to wake up the women of the rural areas of Pakistan to stand up and defend their due rights.
This was a warning for those who only understand the language of the gun. This cowardly attack on her proves that these medieval-minded groups are aware of the potential power of awakened women and are afraid that she may become a role model for many more women. So they tried to stop her in the very beginning. But it was a failed attempt because, across Pakistan and around the whole world, people are on Malala’s side and they are condemning her enemies.
The world should know that the West, and in particular, the U.S. government, have nurtured, supported and armed these dirty inhuman bands for the past three decades. They should know that still in our unfortunate Afghanistan, the U.S. and NATO rely on brothers-in-creed of the Taliban—the Northern Alliance warlords such as Qanooni, Fahim, Ismael Khan, Atta Mohammad, Abdullah, Sayyaf, Mohaqiq, Khalili and others—who have made life a torture for Afghan women. They should know that Karzai’s puppet regime is calling the murderer Taliban “brothers” and trying to share power with this anti-humanity band of killers.
I send my salutations to Malala Yousafzai and am sure that her great sacrifice will not be in vain. She marks the shining pages of history, while her enemies will soon go into the dustbin of history.
Republican Congressman Bill Young
FACT: The original 9/11 terrorists didn’t kill or displace nearly as many innocent people as the U.S. response to 9/11.
More death and destruction from the administration of the Peace Prize President.
The trap of lesser-evillism is that it gets liberals supporting fucked up policies. How many more people would be outraged if it were Bush instead of Obama using unmanned flying robots to kill innocent civilians abroad?
29 dead in a little over a week. Nearly 200 gone this year. The White House is stepping up its campaign of drone attacks in Yemen, with four strikes in eight days. And not even the slaying of 10 civilians over the weekend seems to have slowed the pace in the United States’ secretive, undeclared war.
At this week’s Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, you’ll hear lots of talk about the Obama administration’s pursuit of al-Qaida and its allies — including, of course, the raid that ultimately took out Osama bin Laden. But the hottest battlefield in this worldwide conflict isn’t likely to receive much attention.
What in the hell is going on at the RNC? Did Clint Eastwood just criticize Obama for not committing to the immediate withdrawal of all US troops from Afghanistan?! You know things are bad in US politics when the Republicans are positioning themselves as the anti-war party against the Democrats’ militaristic imperialism …
(Photo) The people we’re told to occupy and fight in Afghanistan are just like us, our families, and our neighbors. The vast majority of Afghans oppose the US/NATO occupation. The only people telling us we must fight are rich politicians who we have NOTHING in common with.
Stand on the right side of history. Refuse to fight. And spread the word: http://www.ourlivesourrights.org/take-action.html#.UD-qyKPEHcs
Three years ago, a 23-year-old soldier walked off his base in Afghanistan and into the hands of the Taliban. Now he’s a crucial pawn in negotiations to end the war. Will the Pentagon leave a man behind?
… [W]hat Bowe found in the Army, according to his parents, was a “deception” – one that started from the moment he was recruited. Bowe had been enticed to join the Army, they say, with the promise that he would be going overseas to help Afghan villagers rebuild their lives and learn to defend themselves – “the whole COIN thing,” says Bob, citing the shorthand for America’s strategy of counterinsurgency. “We were given a fictitious picture, an artificially created picture of what we were doing in Afghanistan.”
… Over the next month, as he saw more of the war firsthand, Bowe’s e-mails to his family took on a darker edge. In one heartbreaking incident at the end of May, an Afghan official and four of his children were killed in a Taliban attack. The bodies were moved to Bowe’s outpost, along with a wounded Afghan police officer.
On June 27th, Bowe sent what would be his final e-mail to his parents from the U.S. military base. It was a lengthy message documenting his complete disillusionment with the war effort. He opened it by addressing it simply to “mom, dad”:
In the US army you are cut down for being honest… but if you are a conceited brown nosing shit bag you will be allowed to do what ever you want, and you will be handed your higher rank… The system is wrong. I am ashamed to be an american. And the title of US soldier is just the lie of fools. The US army is the biggest joke the world has to laugh at. It is the army of liars, backstabbers, fools, and bullies.
I am sorry for everything here. These people need help, yet what they get is the most conceited country in the world telling them that they are nothing and that they are stupid, that they have no idea how to live. We don’t even care when we hear each other talk about running their children down in the dirt streets with our armored trucks… We make fun of them in front of their faces, and laugh at them for not understanding we are insulting them
The horror that is america is disgusting.
In the early-morning hours of June 30th, according to soldiers in the unit, Bowe approached his team leader not long after he got off guard duty and asked his superior a simple question: If I were to leave the base, would it cause problems if I took my sensitive equipment?
Bowe returned to his barracks, a roughly built bunker of plywood and sandbags. He gathered up water, a knife, his digital camera and his diary. Then he slipped off the outpost.