Archive for the ‘“WE OWED ONE TO THE PENTAGON”’ Tag


John Chuckman



“Pompeo says Taliban ‘overreached’ in attack that killed American

“President pulls back from planned peace talks with Taliban at Camp David after bombing that killed 12”


Overreached? What does that even mean in this context?

Pompeo’s words are as meaningless as they are arrogant.

We get only lunacy upon lunacy from this White House mob.

Just to remind him, you are invaders in that country, not invited guests.

And you’ve just bragged of having killed about a thousand Taliban in the last ten days.


Response to a comment about American war crimes in Afghanistan:

Oh, there have been many war crimes. I don’t know whether your reference is to the Jamie Doran documentary, “The Convoy of Death,” about the brutal mass murder of about 3,000 Taliban prisoners. These were prisoners for whom America had a direct responsibility.

The prisoners were packed into containers supposedly for transfer to a prison, the containers sealed and loaded onto trucks. As the men later screamed for some air in the blistering heat or water, American soldiers and troops I believe of the ghastly General Dostum, an American ally with a brutal reputation, stopped and shot into the containers until the shouting stopped.

About four days later, when the containers were opened, most of the prisoners were dead. American Special Forces troops ordered the containers brought to a spot in the desert where any living prisoners were shot, and all of the bodies were buried in mass graves.

That happened shortly after the charming Donald Rumsfeld made an angry demand in Washington about large new batches of Taliban prisoners, saying they should either be walled away forever or killed off. He clearly was taken at his word by some American troops and General Dostum’s men.

There was America’s long series of violent house entries, kicking down doors and using stun grenades, holding terrified families, women and children, at gunpoint while the house was searched and any men in it were bound and marched off as prisoners to who knows where? That happened to countless Afghan families. The men, if they survived, were headed for harsh interrogation with torture.

America’s reckless bombing killed thousands of innocent people. Many times, large groups like wedding parties, celebrating outside, were wiped out by American pilots. American soldiers wantonly shot up villages.

The Americans were bored with being stuck in that searingly hot, very unfriendly place with strange-looking people who didn’t speak their language. Very young men from places in America with no exposure to other cultures, with nothing to do much of the time, and with big guns.

The American military is often desperate for bodies and takes what it can get as recruits. That includes people who enjoy cruelty and the chance to kill others with impunity. Young men much like the members of urban street gangs who occupy large portions of American cities. There was plenty of that kind of activity in Afghanistan and in Iraq.


Response to a comment about having to get out of Afghanistan:

Well, ultimately, yes.

But Washington cannot admit they ever made a mistake, a terrible mistake.

There was never any real reason to invade Afghanistan.

It had no hand in 9/11.

But America was thirsty for blood and revenge after 9/11, and they didn’t really care if they got the right guys or not.

There is no evidence of Taliban involvement in 9/11. None. The Taliban are concerned about their local tribal blood feuds, much like some of those legendary families in the American Ozarks fighting multi-generational feuds such as the Hatfields and McCoys.

The Taliban gave temporary refuge to Osama bin Laden – a Saudi, but, importantly, someone who rather bravely served in the American-supplied opposition to the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan during the 1980s – a man seen as a devout Muslim and a hero, and that’s all.

Of course, we’ve never had any proof that even Osama was guilty of anything except disliking the Saudi Royal family and America’s complicity with them. Early on, when America demanded the Taliban government extradite him, the Taliban, in accordance with international law and custom for such requests, asked for some evidence. Washington ignored them and shortly invaded.

The American invasion also ended the Taliban government’s ban on growing opium poppies, something which resulted in flooding world markets with cheap hard drugs and something we suffer from still with all the urban drug-gang shootings over sales turf and unpaid bills.


I do think it quite possible that, in fact, no meeting with the Taliban was ever going to happen.

Just as in Syria and a couple of other situations, Trump bellows about what he’s going to do, and it all falls through or simply never happens.

Some important officials he has appointed oppose such steps.

He is just a massive pile of conflicting urges, and he makes no consistent sense ever.


Response to a comment saying, “Remember when Jack Layton wanted to negotiate with the Taliban and everyone (including the media) started calling him Taliban Jack”:

Absolutely. Thanks for the reminder. God, I admired Jack Layton.

Brave and intelligent leaders often get attacked because there are so many people who simply do not understand them.

By the way, concerning Canada’s sad and pointless involvement in Afghanistan, an Ottawa official said in the early days that the troops were going to Afghanistan because “We owed one to the Pentagon.”

He was referring to the fact that Prime Minister Jean Chretien had turned George Bush down on sending some Canadian troops for the illegal invasion of Iraq.

Well, you do not turn America down in such matters without hearing back a lot of very unpleasant things.

The Canadian contribution to Afghanistan was something of a “peace offering.”

Some reason to join a war, right? “We owe one to the Pentagon.”

But that so characteristic of the bizarre world America has constructed with its endless wars.


Response to a comment:

The Taliban were the official government of the country before America invaded.

They’re not outsiders or invaders, as the United States very much is.

The Taliban are just one of the basic major divisions of Afghan society, a tough, backward, desperately poor, hardscrabble society.

Thinking you could get rid of them is about the equivalent of talking about getting rid of Baptists in South Carolina.

The entire war has been a stupid, destructive, pointless waste.

But that’s just the way they do things in Washington.

Time after time. Place after place.


Response to a comment:

That phrase you use, “world’s policeman,” does not fit America’s role in the world today. I’m not sure whether it ever did, but it sure does not fit today.

It was meant to sound benign when it was coined. Korea was called a “police action.” After all, with WWII just a few years behind, officials didn’t want to encourage public fears about a new war.

Today, American activities everywhere are aggressive. They’re about telling others what to do and how to do it. And they’re about hurting and killing those America really does not like.

America is an empire, a rather brutal global empire. Not the law-abiding society of a quiet republic looking out at a big, bad world, as it likes to imagine itself.

No one sensibly calls such behavior “policing.”


I should have added, importantly, it is an empire in relative decline with the growth of all kinds of competitors that it didn’t have after WWII, its glory days.

Even its reserve-currency dollar, a very great privilege and advantage, is starting to come under threat. It will certainly lose its position in the future. And weaponizing it, as Trump has done with all his illegal enforcement of unreasonable sanctions, if anything, only speeds the day.

In recognition of its relative economic decline and the many competitive changes in the world, America’s establishment has entered now into a ferocious effort to reclaim its unchallenged place of, say, sixty years ago.

They talk in terms of achieving “full-spectrum dominance.” And that’s not only Trump. He’s just the ugly, noisy frontman right now. Republicans and Democrats support this crusade, or it would not happen.

No matter what their varying views on social issues, virtually every one of them supports the American empire. It is what they’ve known all their lives, their careers were built on it, and it is a matter of pride and arrogance, part of Old Glory Patriotism, a powerful secular religious force in the country.

“MAGA” is just Trump’s term for the faded and tattered notion, the “American Dream,” something which arose as a sheer accident of history after WWII when no competitors were left standing and America thrived on selling everything to everyone. It dominated world manufacturing and trade.

But that position cannot be reclaimed. It’s an illusion to think that it can, a dangerous illusion.

Trying to make it happen will yield only angry frustration and angry responses from others. And the natural forces that have been at work reducing America’s relative position are likely to be reinforced by people’s determination to resist being told what to do.

That effort is why we have all the threats and illegal sanctions everywhere. The immense pressures applied to a peaceful China, a peaceful Russia, a peaceful Iran, and others.

We are in a dangerous period, and the United States political system has managed to put genuinely frightening men in charge – angry, intemperate, and even unstable men. Trump. Bolton. Pompeo.


Response to a comment about whether there ever even was a Trump deal with the Taliban:


This is from a close observer of events, one who is more often right than wrong in his analysis of world affairs.


Posted September 9, 2019 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

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