Kicking War Cans Down the Road

Exclusive: By playing along with Official Washington’s false hopes and its endless chest-thumping President Obama has trapped himself into a pointless war policy in the Middle East, now deciding to pass America’s failing Afghan War onto his successor, notes Jonathan Marshall.

By Jonathan Marshall

President Lyndon Johnson, whose record on civil rights, Medicare, the “war on poverty” and the environment made him one of the most progressive leaders in American history, destroyed his legacy by sinking the country ever deeper into the Vietnam War. President Barack Obama risks doing the same by refusing to summon the courage to end America’s fruitless and costly wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In October 2011, the White House famously declared, “President Obama has ended the war in Iraq . . . this moment represents more than an accomplishment for the President. It marks a monumental change of focus for our military and a fundamental shift in the way that our nation will engage in the world.”

President Barack Obama talking on the phone in the Oval Office, Oct. 5, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama talking on the phone in the Oval Office, Oct. 5, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Afghanistan was next on the promised list of ended wars. In January 2014, Obama boasted, “When I took office, nearly 180,000 Americans were serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Today, all our troops are out of Iraq. . . . With Afghan forces now in the lead for their own security, our troops have moved to a support role. Together with our allies, we will complete our mission there by the end of this year, and America’s longest war will finally be over.”

Instead, Obama is making our longest wars last ever longer. This May, as the corrupt, sectarian government in Baghdad continued to lose ground to the Islamic State, President Obama told Congress that he was extending a “national emergency” because the situation in Iraq continued “to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.” Since then he has reintroduced about 3,000 troops to Iraq, about the same number the Kennedy administration had in Vietnam in 1961.

Now President Obama has executed the same reversal in Afghanistan, announcing that he will retain 5,500 combat troops in the country through the end of his second term. Since Taliban forces routed far larger numbers of Afghan troops in the northern city of Kunduz in September, the administration concluded that government forces “are still not as strong as they need to be,” in Obama’s words. “In key areas of the country the security situation is still very fragile and in some places there’s risk of deterioration.”

He won’t get any argument about that. After more than 14 years and a U.S. investment of more than $65 billion, the Kabul regime still cannot command reliable support across much of the country. The Taliban now enjoy their greatest reach since 2001. Government forces are suffering record casualties. Rampant corruption, human rights abuses, and resentment toward foreign troops all feed steady Taliban gains.

As the New York Times reported recently, “faith in the government and the warlords who were allied with the government, never strong, has rapidly diminished. Militias and Afghan local police forces installed by the American Special Forces . . . extorted protection money from farmers, and committed rapes and robberies. . . . Over time, as villages threw their lot in with the Taliban, the insurgents’ cordon around Kunduz grew tighter. By last year the city felt so under siege that police officers were resistant to driving in a marked government vehicle for fear a Taliban fighter on a motorbike would slap a magnetic bomb on it.”

The situation in Afghanistan is frighteningly reminiscent of South Vietnam decades ago: completely untenable. Politicians know it today as they knew it then.

In a May 27, 1964 phone conversation with President Johnson, his dear friend, Senator Richard Russell of Georgia, famously warned that sending more troops to Vietnam would “be the most expensive adventure this country ever went into. . . . It doesn’t make much sense to do it. . . . We’re in the quicksands up to our very neck.” Johnson knew it, but said, “I don’t see any other way out of it.”

Johnson remembered how Republicans had beaten up the Truman administration for “losing” China. To avoid political pain at home, he simply refused to admit defeat abroad. As he told Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge in November 1963, “I am not going to lose Vietnam. I am not going to be the President who saw Southeast Asia go the way China went.”

So, like a gambler who can’t bring himself to admit he has a losing hand, Johnson doubled down, costing the lives of countless Indochinese and some 58,000 Americans.

Like Johnson President, Obama publicly claims, without a shred of evidence, that the failure of Afghan government forces “would endanger the security of us all.” Behind such rhetoric, his policy is based on the same fundamental premise that guided Johnson: he won’t be the first American president to lose a war in Afghanistan or Iraq.

His policy is just as bankrupt in 2015 as Johnson’s was in 1965. Obama doesn’t offer any credible plan to win in either country. Unlike Presidents Johnson and Nixon, he doesn’t even offer any promises of negotiating an honorable settlement at the peace table. He is simply and transparently kicking the can down the road for his successor.

New York Times columnist Roger Cohen, who himself is deeply ambivalent about the wisdom of intervention, noted recently that Obama’s ambition to reduce America’s military footprint in the world has proven “unthinkable because most Americans are still hard-wired to American exceptionalism, the notion that America is not America if it gives up on spreading liberty.

“So it becomes hard to find a foreign-policy language that’s aligned to reality but does not smack of ‘declinism’, fatal for any politician. Republican bloviating about ‘weakling’ Obama notwithstanding, any future president will face this foreign-policy dilemma: The distance between America’s idea of itself and what it can plausibly achieve is widening.”

Doing the right thing is “unthinkable” only because Obama has never made the case to the American public that U.S. security is not fundamentally threatened in either theater, and that no reasonable investment of soldiers or money will change dynamics on the ground. Obama’s failure to reframe the issue traps him into taking ownership of both wars and continuing them indefinitely.

His failure comes at a high cost today and in the future. The direct budgetary impact of our ongoing intervention in Afghanistan alone will be at least $15 billion a year. In addition, U.S. air strikes and night raids will continue killing hundreds of innocent civilians, like the bombing of the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, turning the population ever more against the alien forces in their midst.

President Obama, it must be acknowledged, is simply following the advice pushed on him by the usual bipartisan Establishment suspects, the likes of former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, President Bush’s National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, and his own former Defense Secretaries Chuck Hagel and Leon Panetta, as well as the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Lacking any personal military experience or deep foreign policy background, Obama finds it hard to resist such advice. He made the same mistake when he listened to General David Petraeus and others who sold him on the Afghan “surge.” But if 100,000 troops couldn’t win the war against the Taliban, 5,500 certainly won’t.

Some proponents of continued military intervention claim the aim is no longer victory over the Taliban but continued drone strikes and commando raids against newly emerging Islamic State and al-Qaeda forces. The reality is that the longer the United States continues intervening in the Islamic world, the more it will continue contributing to the growth of radical, militant Islamists. Left to their own devices, the Taliban are more likely than the United States to be able to suppress such foreign rivals.

President Obama missed the opportunity to cut America’s losses early in his first administration, before taking ownership of the wars bequeathed him by President George W. Bush. Now that he is a lame duck, with no electoral challenges facing him, he could do the right thing for the country and his successor by pulling the plug on our failed military interventions and, as promised in 2011, begin a “fundamental shift in the way that our nation will engage in the world.”

Jonathan Marshall is an independent researcher living in San Anselmo, California. Some of his previous articles for Consortiumnews were “Risky Blowback from Russian Sanctions”; “Neocons Want Regime Change in Iran”; “Saudi Cash Wins France’s Favor”; “The Saudis’ Hurt Feelings”; “Saudi Arabia’s Nuclear Bluster”; “The US Hand in the Syrian Mess”; and Hidden Origins of Syria’s Civil War.” ]

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25 comments for “Kicking War Cans Down the Road

  1. Mortimer
    October 19, 2015 at 00:56

    Everthing You Need To Know About Oil, Gas, Russia ,China, Iran. Afghanistan, and Obama
    http://www.alternet.org/story/139983/pipeline_istan%3A_everything_you_need_to_know_about_oil_gas_russia_china_iran_afghnaistan_and_obama_

    Migrant Crisis & Syria War Fueled By Competing Gas Pipelines
    Don’t let anyone fool you: Sectarian strife in Syria has been engineered to provide cover for a war for access to oil and gas, and the power and money that come along with it.
    http://www.mintpressnews.com/migrant_crisis_syria_war_fueled_by_competing_gas_ipelines/209294/
    .
    Oil and Gas Pipeline War
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-stupid-secret-saudi_us_deal_on-syria/5410130/

  2. Mortimer
    October 18, 2015 at 17:23

    It isn’t war cans being kicked down the road, you narrow-minded Red -Staters.
    It’s the staunch reluctance of the Usurpers to give up on their true objectives.

    They’re after oil & gas monopolies and ownership of pipelines!!!
    Huge reserves of natural gas in and around the Persian Gulf is the prize they pursue.

    Obama is chiefly controlled by Zbigniew Brzezinski and his life long goal for US dominance of “Middle Earth.” — That solid stretch of land from Europe to China.

    Who owns command over that land, along with gas & oil distribution rights will dominate energy needs of both Europe and Asia. — That is the preeminent object of their malevolent warfare.

    “Regime Change” is political illusion used to divert attention from their devious plan – which is to remove sovereign governments out of pipeline pathways.

    Look at the opposition to the Canada to Texas pipeline here in the USA and overlay that against the idea of ‘negotiating’ pipeline deals in sovereign nations.

    For us, with our superpower status, it’s easier to simply overthrow governments, murder innocent people, destroy nations, create and arm terrorist marauders/scapegoats as cover for our Malicious Intent.

    Meanwhile, have giddy, bloody fun hating Obama as we bomb hospitals, destroy entire cities, scatter innocent humankind, and act as demonized, immoral, villainous, World Criminals.

    • Mortimer
      October 19, 2015 at 08:51

      Obama is chiefly controlled by Zbigniew Brzezinski, whose life long goal for US dominance of “Middle Earth.”

      Everything You Need To Know About Oil, Gas, Russia ,China, Iran. Afghanistan, and Obama
      http://www.alternet.org/story/139983/pipeline_istan%3A_everything_you_need_to_know_about_oil_gas_russia_china_iran_afghnaistan_and_obama_

      Migrant Crisis & Syria War Fueled By Competing Gas Pipelines
      Don’t let anyone fool you: Sectarian strife in Syria has been engineered to provide cover for a war for access to oil and gas, and the power and money that come along with it.
      http://www.mintpressnews.com/migrant_crisis_syria_war_fueled_by_competing_gas_ipelines/209294/
      .
      Oil and Gas Pipeline War
      http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-stupid-secret-saudi_us_deal_on-syria/5410130/

    • Mortimer
      October 19, 2015 at 09:23

      US Assistant Secretary of State Blake spelled out the Central and South Asia strategy, and the US-India partnership, in a speech on 19 Jan 2011:
      “Energy-rich Central Asia lies at a critical strategic crossroads, bordering Afghanistan, China, Russia and Iran, which is why the United States wants to continue to expand our engagement and our cooperation with this critical region. And South Asia, with India as its thriving anchor, is a region of growing strategic and commercial importance to the United States in the critical Indian Ocean area. . .Given this dynamic regional context, we have three primary objectives in the South and Central Asia region: Support international efforts in Afghanistan; Build a strategic partnership with India; and Develop more durable and stable relations with the Central Asian countries.”

      The business of America is business, and the US Chamber of Commerce together with its foreign affiliates American Chambers, will always help expand the US economic empire.

      The U.S. Chamber of Commerce (Eurasia Business Platform) held a marquee conference, “Silk Road Trade and Investment: New Pathways for U.S.-Central Asia Economic Ties” on October 7-8, 2009. This event brought together Ministers, corporate decision makers and experts from the public and private sectors to discuss the opportunities and challenges of the rapidly emerging market nestled strategically between Europe, China, Russia, South Asia, Turkey and the Middle East.

      The US Senate has had a continuing interest in the “Silk Road” countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan and Afghansiatn is a key factor..
      “S. 2749 IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES *May 4, 2006 A BILL To update the Silk Road Strategy Act of 1999 to modify targeting of assistance in order to support the economic and political independence of the countries of Central Asia and the South Caucasus in recognition of political and economic changes in these regions since enactment of the original legislation.

      “In General- The United States has significant long-term interests in the countries of Central Asia and the South Caucasus. These interests concern security, economic development, energy, and human rights. Accordingly, it is the policy of the United States to seek political and economic stability in the social development of, and cooperative relationships with, the countries of Central Asia and the South Caucasus, including by providing assistance in accordance with the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961.”

      “The liberation of Afghanistan from Taliban misrule and the new course in Afghanistan toward political and economic openness make possible the country’s reintegration into Central Asia. . . The ouster of the Taliban from Afghanistan has diminished threats to that country’s neighbors in Central Asia, allowing for accelerated progress toward democracy, open economies, and the rule of law across the region. Afghanistan’s embrace of popular sovereignty and political pluralism demonstrates the universal applicability of these values.”

      Pepe Escobar —
      “Think of Afghanistan, then, as an overlooked subplot in the ongoing Liquid War. After all, an overarching goal of U.S. foreign policy since President Richard Nixon’s era in the early 1970s has been to split Russia and China. The leadership of the SCO has been focused on this since the U.S. Congress passed the Silk Road Strategy Act five days before beginning the bombing of Serbia in March 1999. That act clearly identified American geo-strategic interests from the Black Sea to western China with building a mosaic of American protectorates in Central Asia and militarizing the Eurasian energy corridor.

      “Afghanistan, as it happens, sits conveniently at the crossroads of any new Silk Road linking the Caucasus to western China, and four nuclear powers (China, Russia, Pakistan, and India) lurk in the vicinity. “Losing” Afghanistan and its key network of U.S. military bases would, from the Pentagon’s point of view, be a disaster, and though it may be a secondary matter in the New Great Game of the moment, it’s worth remembering that the country itself is a lot more than the towering mountains of the Hindu Kush and immense deserts: it’s believed to be rich in unexplored deposits of natural gas, petroleum, coal, copper, chrome, talc, barites, sulfur, lead, zinc, and iron ore, as well as precious and semiprecious stones.”

      That’s the strategic reason that keeps the US in Afghanistan.

      http://www.warisaracket.org/whywefightII.html

  3. Bruce
    October 17, 2015 at 21:25

    More like PEACE’S Can is being kicked by TOJObama !

  4. Mortimer
    October 17, 2015 at 19:44

    “What’s different from Viet Nam with Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria? The U.S. intervention in Viet Nam had a veneer of legality under international law.” – Paul Merrell

    .
    I’d like to see in document form this “veneer of legality” – Mr Merrell… .

  5. October 17, 2015 at 16:27

    it is impossible for Washington to give up it’s quest for dominance. consider the consequences of the overthrow of the Saudi family … will the replacement regime continue to sell it’s oil SOLELY in U.S. DOLLARS? that would be a huge deal.
    what if every oil exporting country in the region chose to price it’s oil in euros, or RENMINBI (the official currency of China)!
    well … Washington can allow “quantitative easing” (printing funny money) till it is blue in the face … but no one is going to purchase that funny money … unless they are staring down the business end of an M-16, or there are B-52s overhead carrying 35 tons of cluster munitions (which by the way are far more vicious and indiscriminate than an 80 gallon drum filled with explosives e.i. “barrel bomb” dropped from a helicopter).
    so how can mr. Obama end the wars of aggression and still keep the “free world” compliant?
    well … he cannot … no one can.

  6. John
    October 17, 2015 at 08:11

    I have a solution – first solve the conflict between Israel and Palestine. The conflict there is so significant and enduring, that if it can be solved, then others in the region will see it as a model which would show that peace is possible, and drive them to settle their differences as well.

    The approach to settling the conflict between Israel and Palestine is easy. Make Israel a territory of the Palestinian state, under control of the Palestinian government, while allowing Israelis to preserve their ethnic and religious identity, and forbidding persecution of Israelis/Jews. Problem solved.

    Based on the US’s past policy moves in other conflicted regions, there’s no need to even ask the US for its approval – the US will obviously be enthusiastically in support of this form of solution.

    [disclaimer: do not read this as support of one side or another in the conflict, but as a condemnation of the self-certain, flippant crackpot policies which serve to inflame conflicts in sensitive areas]

  7. Barbara Dayan
    October 16, 2015 at 21:31

    “We Love Bernie” Social Network for Progressive Voices!

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    Join the Progressive Revolution here: http://welovebernie.net/

    • Abbybwood
      October 16, 2015 at 22:02

      Why should we “love” Bernie Sanders when he will publicly embrace and endorse the Neocon war criminal Hillary Clinton?

      Seriously?!

      • Abbybwood
        October 16, 2015 at 22:26

        Hillary Clinton has publicly stated that she supports a “no fly zone” in Syria.

        If the United States were to implement such a “no fly zone” that would mean the military downing of ALL Syrian and Russian aircraft, which would be an act of war against Syria and Russia which would mean World War III.

        Hillary is a danger to this planet and all life on it and this also goes for her good friend “I am sick of all this talk about Hillary’s emails! Sanders”.

        Not to mention O’Malley, Webb, Chaffee and all the Republicans currently running.

        Trump might be a slight exception if it were not for the fact that he is super tight with Netanyahu and Israel.

        The fact is, that at this moment in time there is NO candidate running for president who is not completely owned by the Neocon Establishment.

        No matter which candidate “wins” in November 2016, the entire planet will lose.

        This is a shame and a national embarrassment we all need to ponder. That not one, single American who has the courage to buck the Neocon warmongers will stand up for the truth.

        I have tried to get Chris Hedges to run, but so far, no luck.

  8. Abe
    October 16, 2015 at 20:42

    Barbara Lee has always had the clearest vision when it comes to the US role in Afghanistan—and the rest of the world.

    The California congresswoman cast the sole vote in the US Congress against the Authorization for Use of Military Force resolution in the wake of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. As a veteran congressional aide and legislator who has a long history of highly engaged and thoughtful involvement with global issues, Lee did not oppose responding in appropriate and  necessary ways to genuine threats to the United States. But she feared the open-ended authorization would become a blank check for endless war in the targeted country of Afghanistan and elsewhere.

    Lee was right. On October 7, 14 years after the launch of the Afghanistan War, she noted that it has become “our nation’s longest war” and said that “sadly, there seems to be no end in sight. Despite a war-weary public, calls continue to keep more U.S. troops in Afghanistan for many more years.”

    On Thursday, President Obama listened to the calls for more war […]

    What that means is that a third presidential administration is likely to continue cashing the “blank check” that Congress issued—despite Lee’s objection—in the eighth month of George W. Bush’s presidency. Though the issue has been little discussed by contenders in the 2016 presidential race, it is now all but certain that the next president, Democrat or Republican, will be the commander-in-chief of a war in Afghanistan that was never properly declared and that has always lacked sufficient congressional oversight […]

    Congresswoman Lee has worked with colleagues in both parties who are serious about reasserting the constitutionally mandated duty of Congress to provide clear authorization and steady oversight for wars. The vehicle for this in recent years has been H.R. 1303, a legislative initiative that argues that the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force “has been used to justify an open-ended authorization for the use of military force and such an interpretation is inconsistent with the authority of Congress to declare war and make all laws for executing powers vested by the Constitution in the U.S. government.”

    Congresswoman Lee’s proposal would repeal the limitless Authorization for Military Force (AUMF). At that point, Congress would be brought back into the process, as a debate would be opened on the question of whether to authorize a continued US presence in Afghanistan—and, even if that presence is authorized, to potentially place limits on its scope and character.

    “In 2001, I opposed the authorization for this war because it empowered any President to wage endless war without the Congressional oversight mandated by the Constitution. Fourteen years into this war, this endless war continues and Congress continues to abdicate its Constitutional responsibility,” says Lee, who adds, “It is past time to end this costly and bloody war and restore Congress’s constitutional duty to debate matters of war and peace.”

    Obama Just Signed a Blank Check for Endless War in Afghanistan
    By John Nichols
    http://www.thenation.com/article/barbara-lee-is-still-right-to-object-to-the-blank-check-endless-war-in-afghanistan/

    • Peter Loeb
      October 17, 2015 at 06:20

      IN AND OUT OF THE OVAL OFFICE

      One analyst from the left called Barack Obama
      “technically black.” This nastiness was and is
      uncalled for.

      Like FDR, Obama is a superb orator and campaigner.
      He is persuasive to a base vote or even a base
      Congressional constituency. Perhaps Obama is wooden
      and nearly irrelevant from a practical point of view. While
      making choices constantly few of these are preachable
      moments. For those moments one must leave the
      reality of power politics entirely, sing “Amazing Grace”
      and so forth.

      To do otherwise would involve confronting large
      donor contributors and PR managers such as
      the Israeli lobby (AIPAC). One knows Obama is
      not the stuff for such leadership. That is advocacy
      and currently is out-of-fashion (except on the
      right where its future existence is at this writing
      uncertain).

      About illegal walls, intentional oppressioon of
      Palestinians, murder at will, chants of “Death
      to Arabs” by mobs, destruction of thousands by
      Israeli arms, an IDF soldier capturing a 12-year
      old boy and putting him in a choke hold while
      banging his head on a rock (saved by his
      family, video deleted from utube)… In response
      to violence in the US at home the voice
      of reason advising Americans to threaten
      their representatives of loss of support if
      violence is not agressively dealt with (that is,
      Obama does not act but rather advises victims
      to take care of things themselves) and on
      and on.

      If only “technically black”, Obama is more that
      “technically privileged”.

      One cannot ever expect him to be for those
      who suffer oppression, who are murdered, raped
      etc. For that is not what Obama is nor what
      he ever has been.

      —Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

      PS. I did not vote for Barack Obama in 2012. —PL

  9. Abe
    October 16, 2015 at 20:05

    The Obama Administration has been training terrorists of Al Qaeda/Al Nusra, allegedly to fight ISIS, much like the disgraced General David Petraeus did in Iraq and Afghanistan along with Obama’s special ISIS coordinator, the just-resigned General John Allen. The US-trained “moderate” terrorists were being readied, it’s now clear to all the world, in reality, to battle Assad and open the way for a Muslim Brotherhood takeover of Syria and a real plunge into darkness for the world if that were to succeed.

    Now, with the truth in the open, exposed by the remarkable successes of a handful of Russian fighter jets in four days against ISIS, accomplishing more than the US “anti-ISIS coalition” in more than one year, it is clear to the world Washington has been playing a dirty double game.

    Putin is Defeating More than ISIS in Syria
    By F. William Engdahl
    http://journal-neo.org/2015/10/15/putin-is-defeating-more-than-isis-in-syria/

  10. Joe L.
    October 16, 2015 at 19:23

    Paul E. Merrell… I agree with everything that you have written but I think that not only is Obama responsible but the US Government as a whole from both sides of the isle – Republican and Democrat. I read somewhere that ultimately the US has been at war for something like 91% of its’ history – that’s alarming. I would also say that the presence of American think tanks with really twisted policy also play a “major” role in US foreign policy and you just have to look at the membership of these tanks – Project for a New American Century, Foreign Policy Initiative etc. Truly, truly warped and incredibly frightening…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_for_the_New_American_Century

    http://www.foreignpolicyi.org/about

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_think_tanks_in_the_United_States

  11. October 16, 2015 at 18:52

    I am a veteran of 27 months combat duty in Viet Nam in the 1968-1970 period and will state my piece:

    The Johnson-Nixon refusals to order withdrawal from Viet Nam despite a hard decision to end U.S. involvement in 1969 resulted in over half of the casualties suffered in that war, over 3 million deaths alone, not counting the permanently crippled. “Vietnamization” and “Peace with Honor” were both kick-the-can excuses for political cowardice, as are Obama’s present excuses for continuing U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Afghanistan. None of those three wars can be won by U.S. military involvement.

    The root problem is that the U.S. has no method to prevent psychopaths from being elected to the position of Commander in Chief. High quality military leadership recognizes when to order a retreat. Instead, we get these Coward in Chief leaders who are willing to sacrifice the lives of millions of human beings simply to avoid a perceived potential political backlash, even when ineligible for re-election.

    What’s different from Viet Nam with Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria? The U.S. intervention in Viet Nam had a veneer of legality under international law. But our current three “hot” wars are all wars of aggression, the supreme war crime. Our invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq did not cease being wars of aggression just because 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue acquired new tenants in January of 2009.

    After World War II, we hanged high German and Japanese officials for the same crime President Obama is committing: waging wars of aggression.

    There is no serious question that Barack Obama is both a war criminal and a psychopath. He is also an incompetent military leader, unwilling to bear the stigma of sounding a retreat despite the hopelessness of continuing the battle.

    The man belongs in shackles (or at least in a padded cell).

  12. Abbybwood
    October 16, 2015 at 18:25

    I think Albright is “advising” Clinton now.

    Looks like regardless of who Obama hands the baton off to in January of 2017 the American people will continue down the slippery slope of more illegal surveillance, more illegal wars, more illegal torture and drone strikes, more murdering of innocents at home and abroad.

    Such a depressing time to be on Earth.

    I see no hope for peace on Earth in my lifetime as long as the Neocons control our government, the media and banking.

    It is truly sad to live with no hope. No champions of justice. Not one candidate for president who will fight for truth, transparency, the Constitution, the rule of international law and justice.

    I weep for my country and the world.

    • Joe L.
      October 16, 2015 at 18:38

      Wow, the election is actually that far away and they are already campaigning. I am Canadian and we are going to vote on Monday, October 19th after, I believe, 78 days of campaigning and I am sick of the commercials already. Actually I have already voted for the NDP and regardless if the Liberals get in, I will be happy just as long as it is not Harper. We even have ads that don’t plug any specific political party but simply advocate removing Harper regardless if someone votes for the Liberals, the NDP, the Green Party etc. I don’t know how you guys do it but seeing the candidates, with maybe the exception of Bernie Sanders or some third party candidates, it is quite frightening not only for the United States but the world at large. Frankly one guy that I do like in world politics seems to be Jeremy Corbyn in the UK which just won the Labour Party leadership – he gives me hope and I would love to see him take over the mantle in the UK.

  13. Stygg
    October 16, 2015 at 17:29

    More apologia for Obama in the form of “he doesn’t really want to do these things, he’s really a good guy, he was forced into it.”, once again assuming facts not in evidence. What is it with this [otherwise excellent] site and its constant need to cover for this charlatan? Even if these mealy-mouthed excuses were true–which they aren’t–this is leadership? This is a man worth defending?

  14. Rikhard Ravindra Tanskanen
    October 16, 2015 at 14:40

    Oh, I forgot. I was not expecting Obama to propose peace talks with the Taliban, nor say that peace talks with the Taliban are the only way to secure peace in Afghanistan. This was due to him opposing the Taliban to be allowed to be a political party in Afghanistan in 2012, and no mention of peace talks with the Taliban due to them being cancelled due to the desecration of the Qu’ran by American soldiers early that year.

    But I suppose he has finally realised that the Taliban are not a threat to the U.S, and therefore presumably need to be accepted as a political party. After he proposed peace talks with the Taliban and then claimed that peace talks with the Taliban are the only way to secure peace in Afghanistan, I thought about if it was true, and I came to the conclusion that it was.

    The reason that the Taliban allowed al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, despite their record of terrorist attacks against the United States, was because they were fellow mujahideen who fought against the Soviets, and they felt a debt of honour to them, as Canadian journalist Gywnne Dyer has pointed out in at least two articles he has written for his column that is seen in newspapers around the world (sorry for sounding pompous, but I was just explaining for anyone who does not know who Gwynne Dyer is), and therefore are not a threat to the United States, despite their similar ideologies.

    If peace talks with the Taliban are successful, the Taliban will be accepted into Afghan politics and will stand by as al-Qaeda is destroyed in Afghanistan – they allowed to host it, not support it in its attacks against the United States, presumably only fighting alongside it in the war against the U.S due to needing allies – along with the Islamic State. Of course, this will be if Pakistan also conducts successful peace talks with the Taliban.

    Presumably, the neo-Taliban and the other insurgent groups who support the Taliban will also go to the peace talks.

    Unfortunately for the U.S, while the Taliban will not support al-Qaeda – their support for the Taliban in the war against the U.S not being anything to be grateful for, since they caused the war in the first place – they, while not necessarily supporting the Islamic State, might have cordial or neutral relations towards it – while the Islamic State used to be part of al-Qaeda, the fact that it is a separate organisation who has gone into Afghanistan without orders from al-Qaeda might give it the gratitude of the Taliban thus resulting in cordial or neutral relations with it.

    The solution, of course, is to have peace talks with the Islamic State, and I would say al-Qaeda too to avoid more people getting killed, along with the end of the bombing of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. The Islamic State and al-Qaeda have legitimate grievances against the West, as Obama said earlier this year, although I didn’t listen to that speech, and I believe they should be negotiated with and be a part of Afghanistan’s, Iraq’s, and Syria’s future, as much as I am opposed to sexist organisations like them.

    But sadly, of course, the U.S is not going to negotiate with them – Obama did say in his election campaign in 2008 in one of his speeches that “I will defeat al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, and bring the troops home” (perhaps not those exact words, but very close), and I have heard that he made many other tough statements on the war in Afghanistan. These two things obviously mean that he will not negotiate with al-Qaeda, and since the Islamic State is an offshoot of al-Qaeda, he will not negotiate with it either.

    • Joe Tedesky
      October 17, 2015 at 21:09

      Your advice to us Americans, couldn’t have been better said by, Prince Bandar (Bush) Bin Sultan, or let’s say our favorite Bibi Netanyahu. Thanks for the input.

  15. Rikhard Ravindra Tanskanen
    October 16, 2015 at 14:12

    I heard on CBC News yesterday that Obama is willing to negotiate with the Taliban. I presume the troops are only going to remain there due to the possibility that the Taliban will refuse peace talks. That being said, having troops remain in Afghanistan is not necessarily going to work – it might simply anger more people in Afghanistan. However, having all troops leave Afghanistan instead of remaining might also leave Afghanistan vulnerable to the Taliban.

    • October 17, 2015 at 15:58

      the Taliban is as Afghani as tim hortons is Canadian.
      that is their home …
      they are fighting for their right to do in their home as they very well please.
      nato has brought nothing of worth to the “poor people” of Afghanistan.
      Osama bin Laden is dead!
      his alleged brain child al-Qaeda is now Washington’s buddy in Syria against the non-sunni and secular sunni people in that region.
      what more should the U.S. and it’s allies bleed for in Afghanistan?
      NOTHING!!!
      THERE IS NOTHING THERE FOR US!!!

      • Secret Agent
        October 17, 2015 at 23:33

        Actually Afghanistan is the key to Central Asia. If the policy is to dominate that region and keep the Russians and Chinese out (of their back yard) you need to stay there. If you pull out the Chinese Silk Road project becomes viable and the mass of global trade will cross by land rather than by the sea lanes that America dominates. Both Europe and Asia will look inwards to the Eurasian centre weakening Americas hold on the periphery of the continent.

        • October 18, 2015 at 02:01

          well don Secret Agent …
          you gave the answer I was hoping for.
          ultimately it is about controlling people,
          and NOT about humanity, freedom, and democracy.
          that is what I want to point out.
          mostly because some of the best people I have met,
          died believing we were fighting to kill Osama bin Laden, and
          make the world safe for democracy.
          I wish I could put you … where they stood when they received the wounds they did.

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