Archive for August 2017

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: UTTERLY UNTHINKING EDITORIAL FROM BRITAIN’S GUARDIAN ON AFGHANISTAN – CORPORATE PRESS ALMOST AS BAD IN BRITAIN AS IN AMERICA – FACTS ABOUT THE AFGHAN WAR

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN OBSERVER EDITORIAL

“If we do not have a reasonably competent, friendly government in Kabul, nothing the west achieves will last. Ignoring the Afghan nation’s needs is not an option”

Truly, an incomprehensible statement.

The statement begs so many questions, it is hard to know where to begin.

“Nothing the West achieves”? But in fact, “the West,” as you put it, has achieved nothing, nothing but a lot of misery and deaths of innocent people.

When anyone uses the term, “the West” in this context, it is very telling.

It is a term trying to suggest another era – much like calling today’s American army of well-paid professional killers “GIs” with all its glow of association with amateur soldiers recruited to go off to fight bad guys, something indeed the New York Times tried doing for a while until they were laughed out of it. It is a term that provides, or should provide, a kind of warning signal to readers in the contemporary world.

Afghanistan was an American project entirely from the beginning, and the rest of “the West” was dragged along for the ride.

How do I know that? Not one Western country put a rally serious contingent of troops there, and many kept their small number of troops back from all the ugliness, doing duties varying from supplies to traffic work.

When a war is as truly important as the hyperbole claimed, and still claims here, major countries do not commit numbers like 500 or 1,500 or 2,000 soldiers. That is on the face of it, a dark joke. NATO countries each put in as few as they could possibly get away with, keeping “the boss” (America) happy.

Hardly, the character of a desperately important war.

NATO countries were dragged along by the United States for the now-usual reason of giving the somewhat plausible appearance of an international campaign to what in fact was one country’s determined effort at revenge and control, just one more instance of Captain Ahab desperately seeking to kill the White Whale.

The Taliban are unpleasant but are not terrorists, at least not any more than the United States is when it is at war. You don’t invade a country because a part of its population is unpleasant. Otherwise, you would be invading countries all over the planet for there are some really nasty groups and movements in all the far corners of the world.

The Taliban had nothing to do with 9/11.

The United States has given us an ugly 15-year long performance in pointless brutality there, trying to control a basic social-religious division in the population of this ancient, hardscrabble society. It would have made immensely more progress dropping dollar bills than bombs, but the Pentagon is incapable of thinking that way.

No, the Pentagon destroys the “bad guys” and “remodels countries,” goals, which if looked at critically are absurd, almost literally the stuff of comic books. But killing tens of thousands of real people is not funny like a comic book.

It is exactly as mindless and vicious as the effort to eliminate “the communists” in Vietnam was, a place where being “a communist” was just another way of saying “a nationalist” against further imperial manipulations from abroad once the French had departed.

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Posted August 31, 2017 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: BRITISH MP WRITES OF COLLUDING WITH AMERICAN DRONE TERROR – GOOD POINT BUT I NOTE THE WAY IT IS MADE IS A MEASURE OF AMERICA’S BAD EFFECT ON INTERNATIONAL ETHICS AND MORALS

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY CLIVE LEWIS IN THE GUARDIAN

This time Britain must resist colluding in US drone terror

Absolutely, Clive Lewis.

However, your “The use of drones devastates communities and fuels terrorist recruitment” does bother me.

It is rather dithery and beside the point.

I really would have liked to have read a clear statement that America’s program of industrial-scale extrajudicial killing is one of the most ethically and morally repellent practices in our world today.

All the people who are targets are legally guilty of nothing, and when these innocent people are killed, we also see bystanders in significant numbers killed.

Obama, who started the horror, used to sign off on “kill lists.”

Nightmarish enough, I think, but Trump doesn’t even bother with that, having told the psychopaths at the CIA that they were best to judge who should die.

There is no distinction between this American horror and the practices of the old Argentine junta making people “disappear” in the thousands decades ago.

I think our public view of it is a fair measure of how far we’ve sunk under America’s self-declared world leadership.
________________________
Response to another reader comment:

I find it troubling that people focus on America’s “collateral damage.”

It is just a fact that the targets themselves are innocent.

And have you seen a couple of video clips from American attack helicopters shooting down groups of obviously innocent civilians just for fun in the Mideast?

The clips were kept secret, but some have gotten out.

It was exactly such a clip that aroused the compassionate feelings and anger of Chelsea Manning when she viewed them in her intelligence work years ago and destroyed her career to reveal what she saw.

You take a bunch of 19-year old Americans and send them to the other side of the planet, a place they learn to hate, whose language they cannot speak, whose customs they laugh at, and you have them armed with powerful weapons and little accountability, and this just is what happens.

And do think it is any different for the buzz-cut thugs working in CIA basements with computer screens? They play violent video games with real human victims, and they have zero accountability.

Whether through psychopathy, a condition always affecting some percent of any population, or brutal boredom by young people doing a ghastly job, the results are the same.

And I remind everyone that America at home, the place from which these soldiers and computer operators come, already is a very brutal society. It produces large numbers of young people – whether gang members or local trigger-happy cops – who are entertained by shooting people. It has the highest violent crime rates in the West plus the worst record of abusive police and prisons.

With these policies and practices, sick people are given a legal way to do what they like doing and they are paid well for doing it. After all, who else would be attracted to such “work” in the first place?

https://chuckmanwordsincomments.wordpress.com/2017/08/21/john-chuckman-comment-impossible-exaggeration-of-charlottesville-what-actually-appears-to-have-happened-americas-overwhelming-daily-brutality-makes-it-insignificant/

Posted August 31, 2017 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: JAMES MATTIS MAKES LOONY CLAIMS ABOUT RUSSIA WANTING TO RE-DRAW BORDERS – RE-HASHED PENTAGON PROPAGANDA – TRUTH ABOUT UKRAINE

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT

Donald Trump ‘actively reviewing’ sending weapons to Ukraine after Kiev reports 3,000 Russian troops in country
Russia ‘seeking to redraw international borders by force,’ James Mattis says

That claim is a complete falsehood.

If Russia wanted to “re-draw the border,” it could readily have done so.

As Putin famously remarked quite a while ago – a remark deliberately twisted at the time by Washington – if he wanted to do so, he could have his tanks in Kiev in two weeks.

Putin’s patience throughout this entire matter of an American-induced coup against a neighboring, democratic government has been admirable.

He has not recognized the breakaway Donbas area of Ukraine – overwhelmingly Russian speakers who could not accept the new coup-government’s efforts to suppress their interests, even their language.

He has not sent massive forces to defend them, which he could easily have done.

He helped create the Minsk Agreements and has done everything to support them as a way of returning to something resembling normality.

Can anyone even imagine the Pentagon’s reaction to a coup staged in Mexico by Russia or China? The tanks would have been in Mexico City in days. Threats of nuclear war would be in the air.

The entire Ukraine coup is a disgrace. This was a democratic government toppled solely to hurt and provoke Russia. The smiling psychopath, Obama, approved it, but Trump’s gang of Pentagon thugs now carries right on (again giving us a strong clue as to who really determines America policies abroad).

Not only shouldn’t the US be interfering like this in the affairs of others – and we know from overheard words of former State Department’s Neocon fanatic, Victoria Nuland, that the US spent $5 billion on this effort – in the process, it has induced large numbers of deaths and it has supported Ukrainian extreme right-wing outfits who parade around with symbols very much resembling those of Nazis.

Posted August 31, 2017 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: SECOND-RATE COLUMNIST IGNORES AMERICA’S UGLY REALITIES IN HER RUSH TO EXPLOIT CHARLOTTESVILLE AND MAKE YET ANOTHER CLAIM ABOUT FEARFUL JEWISH PEOPLE WANTING TO LEAVE A COUNTRY – SIMPLY RIDICULOUS

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY HADLEY FREEMAN IN THE GUARDIAN

My great uncle was alienated in postwar France. Now Americans know how he felt

Oh, I’m sorry, but this is just not sound thinking.

Mentioning the Holocaust and Charlottesville in the same sentence is beyond ridiculous, lacking completely both insight and judgment.

Charlottesville was a relatively small, unpleasant event.

America is full of small unpleasant events. Millions of them.

That’s why the murder rate is so high compared to other Western nations.

That’s why other violent crime rates are so high compared to other Western nations (see official stats for just one city regularly updated : http://heyjackass.com/ )

That’s why America’s police kill over 1,100 legally innocent citizens every year, a fact documented by this newspaper.

That’s why something like a thousand people mysteriously die in American prisons every year.

Just highway traffic deaths amount to about 40,000 a year.

America is a brutal society, full stop.

And, what I think is extremely important to do, when you examine what America does abroad, the brutality becomes a crashing storm.

2 to 3 million slaughtered in North Korea. 3 million slaughtered in Vietnam. A million dead in Cambodia after American bombing and incursions destabilized a neutral government. A million dead in Iraq. At least a third of a million in Syria. And there are dozens of lesser horrors in the march of empire.

No person who loves peace and human decency likes seeing events like Charlottesville, but thinking people put it in perspective, and when you do that, it is like the proverbial drop in the bucket.

Perhaps most excruciating here, too, is the special plea about American Jews considering leaving. Why just Jews? And why over this tiny event? It makes no sense at all. I just do not believe it, considering all the horrors in America they and everyone else live with.

Again, for those who haven’t seen it, here are the official violence statistics for just one American city, Chicago. They are presented with graphs and updated regularly:
http://heyjackass.com/

Posted August 31, 2017 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: MEMORIES OF DIANA DRAGGED OUT BY THE PRESS ON THE ANNIVERSARY OF HER DEATH – THE UNHAPPY TRUTH ABOUT THIS CELEBRITY PRINCESS WHO IS BEST FORGOTTEN

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN SPUTNIK

Death of a Princess: Why the Diana Tragedy Spawned So Many Conspiracy Theories

Diana actually became a tiresome figure, and I am sorry her memory is being dragged back by the press on the anniversary of her death.

We were all influenced by her superficial charm. She had a dazzling smile. And she had a good press. A few snaps of her with a sick kid, and, presto, she became a secular saint. A beautiful version of Mother Theresa.

But she amounted in fact to little more than one more jet-setting Hollywood celebrity type, wasting immense resources on her whims and doing very little of value besides smiling for the cameras.

And the underlying reality was that she was a very disturbed person who should never have married into the Royal Family, a woman whose beauty and smile caused people to credit nonsense.

We have anecdotes of her, in a limo after one of those glowing public appearances, breaking into hysterical laughter at the very people she had just graced with her smile while accepting their bouquets of flowers.

She clearly was an unbalanced and reckless person with her crazed car chases with the paparazzi, and that was the real cause of her death, her reckless behavior. Forgotten, too, is the record of her insane serial phone calls to various people, just scores and scores of them in a single day.

And her mumbo-jumbo with stuff like “aroma therapy.” Her many reckless sexual affairs, including one with an official bodyguard, ready to damage careers and reputations with little thought. And her dark, paranoid belief that Charles wanted to kill her. No, Charles wanted to forget her, but she was so focused on her own importance that she believed he wished to kill her.

There is a record of madness and excess in the Spencer family line, her brother plainly displaying it, and her son Prince Harry, a quite unpleasant man who does precisely nothing of any worth, shows definite signs of the same with behaviors like demanding he be sent to Afghanistan and later bragging to friends of killing a man or the time he showed up at a cocktail party in a Nazi uniform as a “joke.”

As far as her being pregnant, who knows or cares? If she was, it just adds to the sense of her recklessness, and it would just naturally be something that officialdom would covered-up. No dark plots are required. It happens all the time with celebrities of various kinds.

The idea that authorities thought Diana was worth assassinating has always seemed genuinely absurd to me. She was of no consequence other than headlines about her escapades in the tabloids.

Posted August 31, 2017 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: I DON’T THINK IT IS REALLY RIGHT TO CALL HEROIN USE A “SOCIAL ISSUE” – THE REASONS PEOPLE USE DRUGS – AND THE CREEPY GOVERNMENT OUTFITS PROFITING FROM IT

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN

Could a heroin vaccine cure the west’s drug epidemic?

I don’t know that it is accurate to call heroin addiction a social issue.

Of course, it has social effects.

But I think the original impulse is escape, escape from many serious mental afflictions as well as escape from the often-unending dreariness of life for many.

There has always been this kind of activity, going back to the cheap-gin fueled Industrial Revolution.

Life can be exceedingly drab and difficult for many. Not intelligent enough to get an interesting job. Too ugly to attract the opposite sex. Too painful from many physical and mental conditions. Or just feeling oppressed with life at home or a highly unsuitable spouse.

That fact is just part of the human condition.

I cannot condemn many who take drugs, and I well know we have neither the resources or magic to change their lives.

It is an important footnote on any discussion of this to remember that when the United States needlessly invaded Afghanistan, they destroyed the harsh control over growing opium poppies imposed previously by the Taliban.

Supplies soon shot up all over, price went down, more addicts resulted, and drug gang wars in cities of the United States were intensified.

It is often said, and I don’t know the truth but do suspect there is some truth, that the CIA has used the drug trade in Afghanistan as a nice source of off-the-books income.

They certainly did do the same thing in Vietnam in the 1960s, as several have documented.

Posted August 31, 2017 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: ANOTHER OF THE LESS PERCEPTIVE PIECES ON FEMINISM OFTEN IN THE GUARDIAN – WHEN EVEN EQUALS CAN BE UNEQUAL – A REALITY OF EVERYDAY LIFE

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY REBECCA SOLNIT IN THE GUARDIAN

“if I were a man”

Equality is pretty much here.

My mother struggled to bring up two boys alone back in the 1950s, and I am intimately acquainted with the world’s prejudices, but today in no significant way resembles the 1950s.

However, even “equal” things can be unequal in certain aspects.

All the kids in a classroom are equal in important senses, but we all know immediately that in no classroom will all the gifts of nature be equally distributed.

Some will be beautiful, some not.

Some moody or disturbed, some not.

Some intellectually gifted, some not.

The trouble with using a term like “equal” in an absolute sense is that it throws away this complexity which is always there in every situation.

It generates demands and expectations that every individual will be treated the same way.

It is a fantasy. That simply will never be. Every job and career has needs better met by some rather than others, and pay and rise up in the hierarchy inevitably reflect that fact.

I’m not saying, for I certainly do not believe, that this means men on top.

However, we do not have enough scientific knowledge on the distribution of nature’s gifts to say, things will always end up equally distributed.

We proceed on the pragmatic basis of who best fills the job, and lacking the presence of genuine bias, the outcomes will not likely be perfectly equal.

That applies to any human division you care to mention – black vs white, male vs female, or young vs old.

Posted August 31, 2017 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized