As Afghan Carnage Continues, US Presidential Candidates Face Key Question

Marjorie Cohn says Democratic contenders should commit to immediate troop withdrawal and to cooperate with international  investigations of U.S. war crimes. 

By Marjorie Cohn

On July 30, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan reported that the Afghan government and international military forces, primarily the United States, caused most of the civilian deaths in Afghanistan during the first six months of 2019. That’s more killings than those perpetrated in the same time period by the Taliban and ISIS combined.

Aerial operations were responsible for 519 civilian casualties (356 deaths and 156 injuries), including 150 children (89 deaths and 61 injuries). That constitutes a 39 percent increase in overall civilian casualties from aerial attacks. Eighty-three percent of civilian casualties from aerial operations were carried out by the international forces.

The targeting of civilians amounts to war crimes under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

These war crimes promise to continue unless the U.S. military completely withdraws from Afghanistan. While the United States and the Taliban have had discussions aimed at ending the 18-year war, the eighth round of those talks concluded on Aug. 12 without reaching a peace deal. The two threshold issues are the schedule for the withdrawal of the remaining 14,000 U.S. troops and how to prevent “terrorist attacks” against the U.S. and allies in Afghanistan. The Taliban want the U.S. forces to withdraw before a ceasefire. But U.S. officials seek to maintain 7,000 troops, including Special Operations forces, in Kabul for several years.

Shortly after announcing troop drawdowns, President Barack Obama speaks to soldiers who were among the first to deploy to Afghanistan. Fort Drum, N.Y., June 2011. (U.S. Army/Steve Ghiringhelli)

Team Trump’s deadly actions are a continuation of the Bush and Obama administrations’ commission of the most heinous crimes in Afghanistan. On April 12, the ICC’s Pre-Trial Chamber found a “reasonable basis” to believe that the parties to the Afghan conflict, including the U.S. military and the CIA, committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, most of them occurring between 2005 and 2015. They include “the war crimes of torture and cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity, and rape and other forms of sexual violence pursuant to a policy approved by the U.S. authorities.”

Refused to Investigate

The chamber, however, refused to open a formal investigation into those crimes, as recommended by ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda. In concluding that “an investigation into the situation in Afghanistan at this stage would not serve the interests of justice,” the chamber questioned the feasibility of such a probe. An investigation would be “very wide in scope and encompasses a high number of alleged incidents having occurred over a long time period,” the chamber wrote. It noted the extreme difficulty in gauging “the prospects of securing meaningful cooperation from relevant authorities for the future” and found “the current circumstances of the situation in Afghanistan are such as to make the prospects for a successful investigation and prosecution extremely limited.”

ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda in 2014. (Stine Merethe Eid, CC BY 4.0,Wikimedia Commons)

In her appeal petition, Bensouda noted that the chamber’s decision was unprecedented. “This is the first time that any Pre-Trial Chamber has held that there is a reasonable basis to believe that the ‘most serious crimes’ within the jurisdiction of the Court have been committed, and that potential cases concerning those crimes would be admissible, but not proceeded to authorise the opening of an investigation,” she wrote.

What caused such an unprecedented refusal by the chamber to open an investigation?

Seven days before the chamber declined to initiate an investigation, the Trump administration revoked the visa of ICC prosecutor Bensouda because of her advocacy for an investigation of war crimes in Afghanistan. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, “We are prepared to take additional steps, including economic sanctions if the I.C.C. does not change its course.”

Apparently, the U.S. refusal to cooperate with an investigation and its thinly veiled efforts at blackmail of the ICC are having the desired effect – impunity for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Meanwhile, regional Afghan forces commandeered by the CIA have “operated unconstrained by battlefield rules designed to protect civilians, conducting night raids, torture and killings with near impunity,” according to The New York Times.

In a July 23 meeting with the prime minister of Pakistan, President Donald Trump in effect threatened to commit genocide in Afghanistan. He said he could cause Afghanistan to be wiped off the face of the earth but he didn’t “want to kill 10 million people.”

In the meantime, the violence in Afghanistan is growing deadlier. In July, 1,500 civilians were killed or wounded, in the most lethal month for the past couple of years.

The Democratic Field 

Some of the Democratic candidates during the July primary debate.

Of the Democratic presidential candidates, only Tulsi Gabbard and Pete Buttigieg have committed to withdrawing all U.S. troops from Afghanistan during their first year in office.

When the candidates were asked if there would be U.S. troops in Afghanistan at the end of their first term, Elizabeth Warren said, “No”; Bernie Sanders replied, “I suspect not”; Beto O’Rourke responded, “We have to begin to bring these wars to a close;” Kirsten Gillibrand said, “I believe that we need to bring our troops home from Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria;” Cory Booker noted, “We cannot have forever wars in this nation;” Julian Castro replied, “We need to withdraw in a way that is orderly, that respects our allies;” Amy Klobuchar responded, “We have been there longer than some of our young people have been on this earth;” Andrew Yang opined, “It’s impossible to know that for sure, given that reality on the ground might lead us to have more people there;” Marianne Williamson said, “I would make no move in Afghanistan until first I spoke to Afghan women;” and Kamala Harris answered, “We need to have a presence there in terms of supporting what the leaders of Afghanistan want to do.”

Sanders tweeted, “The American people do not want endless war. Congress must reassert its Constitutional authority over the use of force and responsibly end these interventions [in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria].” Joe Biden promised to “end the forever wars in Afghanistan and the Middle East.”

As the carnage continues with no end in sight, all of the Democratic candidates should be making immediate and complete U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and indeed, all countries in which the United States is fighting, a central pillar of their platforms. They must also renounce impunity and commit to cooperate with any future ICC investigations.

Marjorie Cohn is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, former president of the National Lawyers Guild, deputy secretary general of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers and a member of the advisory board of Veterans for Peace. Her most recent book is Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues.”

This article is from Truthout and reprinted with permission.

Before commenting please read Robert Parry’s Comment PolicyAllegations unsupported by facts, gross or misleading factual errors and ad hominem attacks, and abusive language toward other commenters or our writers will be removed.

38 comments for “As Afghan Carnage Continues, US Presidential Candidates Face Key Question

  1. Godless
    August 23, 2019 at 21:43

    There are much more important issues, such as school bussing in the 70s, that need to be debated. There is not enough time to waste it on unimportant issues like regime change, forever wars, trillion dollar defense budgets, secret alphabet soup agencies, and the Pentagon’s dirty carbon footprint.

  2. August 22, 2019 at 21:21

    The Democratic candidates need to ask for withdrawal of all US troops. We don’t belong in Afghanistan.

  3. Tony
    August 22, 2019 at 08:35

    The candidates also need to refuse to recognize the US withdrawal from the INF missile treaty.
    That treaty was ratified by a two-thirds majority in 1988. There has been no equivalent vote to de-ratify the treaty.

    And that is why they should refuse to accept the US withdrawal. It is the United States that is a party to that treaty (not the president of the United States).

    As Scott Ritter has pointed out, claims that Russia has violated the treaty are far from conclusive:

  4. Ma Laoshi
    August 22, 2019 at 02:45

    “all of the Democratic candidates should be making immediate and complete U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan […] a central pillar of their platforms” — just because Ms. Cohn says so? Ha ha ha! Both officially allowed parties are financed in a large part by the war machine. Talking as if ending the wars were even an option for the D party at this point is outright disinformation. The issue has been fully litigated throughout the Obama presidency; turned out it’s not just the party apparatus: D voters looove the wars when their guy is waging them–in the end it’ll all work out for women’s right, you see. Juan Cole is merely the most revolting example.

    The only point here is to keep the proles on the D reservation and obscure the fact that, if you want something else, you have to vote for something else.

  5. Zhu
    August 22, 2019 at 00:37

    Yeo, life is still cheap in Asia, at least in Americans’ eyes. :-(

  6. Karl Töpfer
    August 21, 2019 at 19:26

    And that’s exactly why Trump will win a second term; because dems fail to distinguish themselves

  7. August 21, 2019 at 15:51

    I cannot give enough thumbs up to your sad posting.
    The casual indifference among the populace of this country towards the suffering of foreign populations underneath our bombs is truly, and literally, sickening.

      August 22, 2019 at 04:04

      Because America is where the empire has centralized most of its military firepower and billionaires, Americans are the most propagandized people on earth. There are thousands of people whose whole entire job is to convince Americans that it is good and desirable to keep trillions of dollars in military hardware moving around the planet and killing complete strangers who pose no threat to any American.

    • Hank Jones
      August 22, 2019 at 10:10

      “Our bombs”? Don’t include me in that “our” please! It is the bombs of the Military/Industrial complex clique that fall and destroy such massive areas of this world, not mine! Besides, the USA is not really a democracy so where does the “we” or “our” come from? Nice little words that assure us all we are indeed involved in “our own” government. That is a crock of crap! Even the POTUS has to face resistance within the government when it comes to implementing change, reasonable and humanitarian change. The USA has become a government by thieves, crooks and cowards! Anyone who can stand by and allow “allied” nations on this planet to butcher and maim their own people is a coward and doesn’t really belong in DC or in any leadership capacity. We need someone in position of power to stick his or her neck out in the direction of morality and lawfulness and accountability and believe me, the bloc that put Trump in the Oval Office will once again deliver an election “upset”!

      • jmg
        August 23, 2019 at 08:54

        Hank Jones wrote: “Our bombs”?

        Yes, a $5,570 war spending per US taxpayer this year.

        The 2019 US war budget — not defense, nobody wants to invade America — is about $686 billion. It’s of course the largest in the world, equivalent to the military spending of the next 10 countries combined (that is China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, India, UK, France, Japan, Germany, South Korea, and Brazil).

        The United States, with 4.3% of the world population, accounts for 35.6% of the world military spending.

        Each US taxpayer pays an average of $14,200 more or less per year as income tax, a total of $1.75 trillion, depending on the year. If we count all taxes, they are $27,700 per taxpayer, a total of $3.41 trillion.

        Additionally, there is a national debt of $22.5 trillion, that is a $183,000 debt per taxpayer now, and increasing.

        U.S. National Debt Clock : Real Time

  8. Robert
    August 21, 2019 at 13:51

    Surely this is a step that all Democrats can agree on? If not, who specifically are opposed? A petition circulated among elected Democrats? Is deep state and MIC opposition to withdrawal strong enough to prevent Democrat unanimity on such an obviously sensible proposal?

  9. Miranda M Keefe
    August 21, 2019 at 12:21

    “Of the Democratic presidential candidates, only Tulsi Gabbard and Pete Buttigieg have committed to withdrawing all U.S. troops from Afghanistan during their first year in office” and Pete Buttigieg is lying.

  10. August 21, 2019 at 12:10

    So why don`t they just come out and admit it. The ICC is only there to go after war criminals from the third world. The first world war criminals have impunity. Just be up front about it or better still just close up shop, because if this proves anything at all it is that justice is not blind. Disgusting.Given this admission of racism every criminal convicted in this kangaroo court should be immediately freed. Justice is not justice when it is selective.

    • August 21, 2019 at 14:57

      I think the next serious test for the ICC will come when Bousada reports on her preliminary investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity in Palestine. Assuming that she recommends a full investigation, the Court will be called upon to decide whether it is willing to brave U.S. threats against prosecuting Israeli officials. If it declines to do so, then in my opinion it is time to abolish the court.

    • John Wright
      August 21, 2019 at 16:51

      I visited the ICC in The Hague this July. While there I struck up a conversation with a Cameroonian woman who has worked there for many years. When we discussed why clearly guilty western leaders were not being brought before the court she laughed and said “But, if a black African steals a chicken, he’s brought before the ICC”.

      The hearing I observed involved a Malian who was chief of the “Islamic police” and ran an “Islamic Court” in Timbuktu while that region of Mali was occupied by AQIM. He had clearly done some nasty things, but had not committed mass murder, as many in the wealthy west have.

      The court has three court rooms, but rarely is more than one in use. They claim that they don’t have the budget to run multiple trials at once, I think this year’s budget is 148 million euros.

      I met the Cameroonian woman while we were waiting to take the bus back to the central train station. She also suggested that I go down to the ICC garage and see all the very expensive cars parked there. She said that, had it not been raining, I would’ve seen a lot of ICC staff outside smoking and drinking coffee.

      It’s clear that the ICC only wants to try cases it knows it will win and only those that are politically “safe”.

      Sad, but no one should find any of this surprising. The UN is no different.

      We’re going to have to try our war criminals here in the U.S.A., after we take back the government and restore our own justice system.

      • Simeon Hope
        August 22, 2019 at 02:13

        “after we take back the government and restore our own justice system”
        I assume you forgot the war crimes committed under Obama – a black Democrat. Your nation, like mine here in the UK, has always had political and justice systems designed and run for the wealthy and white.

      • John Wright
        August 22, 2019 at 22:54

        Simeon Hope –

        Then you would be assuming incorrectly. I’m fully aware of almost all the war crimes committed by all the U.S. presidents for the last four decades. I suspect there are a few still to be exposed.

        Obama ranks pretty high on the list.

        Be well.

  11. August 21, 2019 at 09:59

    I honestly do not believe that Americans generally give a damn that their government is slaughtering people, anywhere.

    They’ve been at it since WWII in countless meaningless imperial wars and interventions.

    Killing is what Washington does.

    A couple of generations of Americans have grown up with that reality.

    And I have to say that the fairly prevalent xenophobia and blind patriot religious belief just reinforce the attitude.

    I’ve always remarked at what a deal Americans have always made about the less than sixty thousand Americans killed in ten years of Vietnam – weeping, Teddy Bears at the wall, tracings of names – and I have never seen any sorrow or regret or concern expressed for about three million Vietnamese killed, and killed horribly by napalm, cluster bombs, and carpet bombing. Plus, their land left strewn with landmines and tons of Agent Orange.

    So much so, most people have just sat back and watched a good deal of it repeated on poor souls in Middle East.

    Imperial society does not breed character or morals.

    • AnneR
      August 21, 2019 at 15:22

      Yes, John Chuckman, you are right.

      It has been something of a mind-boggling exercise for me to check out my late husband’s FB “newsfeed” or whatever and see what “memes,” topics, cartoons, newspaper articles (never see CN or MoA, e.g., among them and I’ve given up alerting them to the non-MSM, or non-Trotskyite alternative views are available) these highly educated (bourgeois) people post. And more importantly what they *do not* post.

      Lotsa anti-Trump stuff – lots filled with anti-Russia/China “coloration” (they all seem to have fallen for Russiagate, lack of evidence notwithstanding); occasional environmental concern; lotsa gender/sexual identity stuff; and a fair quantity of posts comparing the neoliberal Demrat line up: Biden, Harris, Warren, Buttigieg, Booker et al. They don’t even give a b….. about our prison population, how it became so large, how the prisoners are treated as slave labor (and can be according to the Constitution), how even once released the punishment never ends. How the prison and probation world has become a corporate industry with (unethical) shareholders. Doesn’t affect them. Shrug of shoulders.

      Nowt, zip, nada about the ongoing wars in which we are involved directly, indirectly (Yemen), about the economic warfare we are engaged in, about the people we are slaughtering, lives/livelihoods destroying, homes in smithereens…Nope. Over there, thousands of miles away, anyway darker skinned folks… not us.

      August 22, 2019 at 04:07

      One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.” -Carl Sagan

    • August 22, 2019 at 18:31

      Vietnam estimates 5-10 million dead in Vietnam,Lao and Cambodia.

  12. August 21, 2019 at 08:32

    The ICC and other “legalities” are worse than irrelevant. The only thing that matters is BRINGING EVERYONE HOME.

    Focusing on those “laws” places an unnecessary obstacle in the path to peace. Bureaucrats and generals don’t want to face trials, so they will find ways to keep the wars going to preserve their own power.

    Just get out. Out, out, out, out, out. Stop worrying about extraneous nonsense.

  13. Bucth
    August 21, 2019 at 08:25

    Rather than deconstruct a seriously corrupt political system that does nothing to represent people and everything to plunder and pillage resources world wide for their plutocrat sponsors, lets just PRETEND that voting for one corporate ass cheek versus another, makes a difference.

  14. Jeff Harrison
    August 20, 2019 at 19:28

    That’s the correct answer but it’ll never happen. The US is now an empire and until we are defeated our arrogance and high handedness will not cease. Sadly, a lot of people are likely to die in making that defeat happen.

    • Guy
      August 21, 2019 at 13:35

      The defeat will come when the USD crashes and never to be reconstituted again. No need for people dying outside of the ones that will be jumping out of 10 story buildings.The troops will come back home and the monies provided for the Israeli firsters will no longer matter in the electoral process. I have come to realize that outside of God’s intervention ,this is the only thing that will actually result in the defeat of the absolutely corrupt system that now calls itself a government .

  15. Don Bacon
    August 20, 2019 at 18:09

    This an incongruous argument.

    “Aerial operations were responsible for 519 civilian casualties (356 deaths and 156 injuries), including 150 children (89 deaths and 61 injuries). That constitutes a 39 percent increase in overall civilian casualties from aerial attacks.”
    . . .Since US ground operations have failed, President Trump long ago stated that the aerial destruction of Mosul in Iraq would be the new model for Afghanistan and it’s being done.

    “Of the Democratic presidential candidates, only Tulsi Gabbard and Pete Buttigieg have committed to withdrawing all U.S. troops from Afghanistan during their first year in office . .all of the Democratic candidates should be making immediate and complete U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan”
    . . .But withdrawing troops wouldn’t stop the aerial slaughter of Afghan civilians, would it. Not at all. The troops aren’t causing the high casualties, aerial bombardment is. If there were zero US troops, civilians in Afghanistan could still call in the air strikes.

    • Chestnut Witherbottom
      August 20, 2019 at 19:09

      As they’re using it, “troops” would seem to include pilots. Possibly drone operators as well (even if they’re not controlling the drones in Afghanistan). Or at least, that’s how they should be using that word. “Troops” meaning all soldiers/military armed forces.

      If Afghans want to call in Afghan air strikes with Afghan airplanes and Afghan commanders and pilots, they’d be free to do so.

      Stopping the slaughter of civilians has never been the US’ priority or even close to it, so that/if that would continue if we left is not a rational, good-faith-argument reason for us to stay (it will continue then as well).

      Maybe I’m not understanding what your point or objection is.

      • Don Bacon
        August 21, 2019 at 20:23

        As they’re using it, “troops” would seem to include pilots.
        Troops don’t include pilots. Pilots flying the bombers are not based in Afghanistan. I thought everyone knew that. Most of the bombers are based at al-Udeid AB in Qatar, and some bomb-dropping fighters take off from aircraft carriers.
        Bottom line: Getting the “troops” out of Afghanistan gets the ground units out, but would still allow the US aerial bombing of Afghanistan. The pitiful Afghan air force has no capability to do it.
        So this article is incongruous and has little meaning therefore.

  16. worldblee
    August 20, 2019 at 17:06

    Of the Democratic candidates, only Tulsi (well, and Mike Gravel, but he’s been pushed off the radar now and Tulsi may be soon as well) has any credibility that she’d do anything to halt the forever wars. And even if by some chance she was elected, I’m sure Congress and the military-industry-intelligence-congressional-complex (MIICC) would do everything to tie her hands. This is less a presidential issue than an “entire government and ruling class” issue

    • August 20, 2019 at 20:37

      “This is less a presidential issue than an “entire government and ruling class” issue.”
      Exactly! The government, ruling class, democrats and deep state will all support endless war until we build an anti-war movement. (Remember when we had one?)

    • jmg
      August 21, 2019 at 10:48

      worldblee wrote: “only Tulsi . . . the military-industry-intelligence-congressional-complex (MIICC) would do everything to tie her hands.”

      And their mass propaganda arm, the corporate media always at the service of the war profiteers, is already attacking and smearing her non-stop for trying to end their obscenely profitable endless wars. Like in this remarkable video, where we can see that Tulsi has the right stuff:

      Tulsi Shuts Down MSNBC Host Mid-Smear — The Jimmy Dore Show

  17. michael
    August 20, 2019 at 16:30

    As if there is a difference between Democrats and Republicans in foreign policy.

    Remember Trump talking about the”stupid”wars of Bush II? More for costs than morals, but he quickly bowed to the Deep State.

    Obama famously voted against funding for the Iraq War in 2007, but sang a very different tune as President: “Turns out I’m really good at killing people, didn’t know that was gonna be a strong suit of mine.” He added Yemen, Libya, Syria, Sudan, and Somalia to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (and warfare in Pakistan), set up a NAZI government in Ukraine and overthrew a democratically elected government in Honduras. He left “National Emergencies” (often the sanctions preceding War) in Venezuela, Burundi and the Central African Republic along with Ukraine.

    In reply to Lesley Stahl’s question about Iraqi children deaths from Bill Clinton’s sanctions: “We have heard that half a million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?”
    Madeline Albright, Clinton’s ambmassador to the United Nations at the time, replied:
    “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price — we think the price is worth it.”

    It’s what America is. And crazed Russiagate shows that Democrat neoliberals are even more dedicated warmongers than GOP neocons.

  18. Abe
    August 20, 2019 at 16:08

    As Afghan carnage continues, US presidential candidates face key question:

    “How much will I have to pander to the pro-Israel Lobby to win the nomination, and how much further will I have to pander to win the presidency?”

    As the late Robert Parry, founding editor of Consortium News, reported in “Why Not a Probe of ‘Israel-gate’?” (April 20, 2017):

    “The other day, I asked a longtime Democratic Party insider who is working on the Russia-gate investigation which country interfered more in U.S. politics, Russia or Israel. Without a moment’s hesitation, he replied, “Israel, of course.”

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaking to the AIPAC conference in Washington D.C. on March 21, 2016. (Photo credit: AIPAC)

    Which underscores my concern about the hysteria raging across Official Washington about “Russian meddling” in the 2016 presidential campaign: There is no proportionality applied to the question of foreign interference in U.S. politics. If there were, we would have a far more substantive investigation of Israel-gate.

    The problem is that if anyone mentions the truth about Israel’s clout, the person is immediately smeared as “anti-Semitic” and targeted by Israel’s extraordinarily sophisticated lobby and its many media/political allies for vilification and marginalization.

    “So, the open secret of Israeli influence is studiously ignored, even as presidential candidates prostrate themselves before the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump both appeared before AIPAC in 2016, with Clinton promising to take the U.S.-Israeli relationship ‘to the next level’ – whatever that meant – and Trump vowing not to “pander” and then pandering like crazy.

    “Congress is no different.”

    Let’s talk turkey, something the Democratic and Republican Parties (and a certain beloved Dem sheepdog) steadfastly refuse to do.

    Troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and cooperation with international investigations of U.S. war crimes would involve unplugging from the Project for a new Israeli, um, American Century.

    Remember, people:

    Dubya’s invasion of Afghanistan kicked in the door the pro-Israel Lobby had been feverishly begging to have kicked in for decades.

    Leaving Afghanistan, in essence, is unplugging from the Project.

    So the key question is not about Afghanistan, or Iraq, or Syria, or any of the other hugely expenses fucked up messes US presidents and their Congressional enablers have pandered us into since 9/11.

    The real question is: How much longer is the US going to sacrifice blood and treasure to “secure the realm” for Israel?

    The Dem clown college goin’ ain’t nowhere near ready to address that question.

    And there ain’t nobody askin’…
    on television,
    with a live audience,
    more than 18 seconds to answer,
    mass television and internet re-broadcast,
    and some semblance of journalistic follow-up.

    • AnneR
      August 21, 2019 at 08:18

      While I would largely agree with your argument, Abe, I should expand on two things: as Worldblee writes – cannot forget the MICC and its input, profiteering (and not only if mainly financially) and the fact that Congress and all WH admins are far too close to the MICC; and with reference to your question “How much longer is the US going to sacrifice blood and treasure to “secure the realm” for Israel?” I would add:

      And how much longer and more (far more than Americans in reality) is this region from Iraq, to Syria, to Libya, to Palestine as well as Afghanistan and Yemen to lose in terms of lives, livelihoods, homes, lands, historical treasures – all for Israel?

      Our control of oil – rather the US corporate-capitalist control of oil – plays a role, as does our apparently unending desire to rule supreme across the planet, again really for the benefit of corporate-capitalists, including those who profit mightily – and unethically, immorally – from making and selling the weapons of killing, of slaughter, of destruction. So to the profiteering (jobs, nice salaries and bennies then the revolving doors) of MICC bureaucracies… But Israel is a significant linchpin in this never-ending destruction of those countries and peoples its (ethnically cleansed, apartheid ensured) majority population considers untermenschen, because it has the intention of creating Lebensraum for that majority.

      • evelync
        August 23, 2019 at 12:59

        Well said, AnneR!
        And the banks play a huge role too, it seems.
        One of the most shocking (for me) things I read on the wikileaks releases before the 2016 election was in Hillary Clinton’s speech to Goldman Sachs. It was an offhand comment made by GS Chair Lloyd Blankfein opining on U.S. policy wrt some Arab country that he approved as a target of our foreign policy.
        Why do you, Mr. Blankfein, have any say in foreign affairs given that you’re so greedy and, apparently indifferent towards peaceful coexistence. Just buying politicians to help you grab a chunk of the output of economies all over the world.
        It’s shocking that we, as Americans, blindly acquiesce to policies that ultimately threaten our own safety and security so the damn banks can profit from ruining indigenous populations and the environment in vulnerable countries all over the world.
        It’s sick.
        Daniel Immerwahr’s astonishing 2019 book “How to Hide an Empire” teaches us that, for example, water boarding was not invented under the Bush administration. It was used in the Philippines on our allies, the Filipino fighters who had fought the Spanish for 30 years to near defeat. Right after the Spanish ceded the Philippines to the United States because Spain found it more palatable to cede to “white people” (check this out in Immerwahr’s book) than ceding to the indigenous people who had really brought them to their knees. The horrific assault on the Filipino fighters including water boarding on Filipino fighters who just wanted their country back is described in detail by Immerwahr.
        The MICIMATT including the banks will continue to ignore the climate threat to this planet with their endless greed.
        I often think of what Fed Chairman Volker said after he retired – something to the effect that the only innovation produced by the big banks on Wall Street over 30 years was the ATM machine….the inference being that their true raison d’être is finding unscrupulous ways to skim off the labor and ingenuity of the rest of us.

    • John Wright
      August 21, 2019 at 17:57

      The illegal invasion and ongoing occupation of Afghanistan is only indirectly related to the “Greater Israel Project.” It has far more to do with the long-term strategic necessity of supporting the PetroDollar by helping to destabilize China, Russia, Iran and India, and keep some measure of control over Pakistan (which the Chinese are seriously starting to undercut). Then there’s all those billions of opium/heroin dollars, also helping to keep the western banks (and the US dollar) afloat.

      While the illegal invasion and near total destruction of Iraq also was primarily about the control of oil and the maintenance of the PetroDollar, it also clearly greatly benefited the goals of those pushing the “Greater Israel Project.”

      The ongoing destruction of Syria more directly benefits the goals of those pushing the “Greater Israel Project”, but also supports the maintenance of the PetroDollar by preventing certain pipeline projects from coming online (as does the control of pipeline routes in Afghanistan and Iraq).

      The illegal sanctions on Iran are adequate in regards to maintaining the PetroDollar, but only the destruction of Iran and ending its support for Syria and factions in Lebanon will allow the “Greater Israel Project” to move forward to conclusion. This is why certain factions within Israel are always pushing for a war on Iran.

      I hope my point is clear here. While certain factions within Israel do benefit from U.S. wars in Central Asia and the Middle East, the primary strategic reason for U.S. military involvement is not that it directly supports Israel, but by the economic reality of maintaining the PetroDollar as the global currency and perpetuating the rigged monetary system that keeps the western elites in control.

      (Now, we could discuss exactly who is at the heart of the international banking cartel, but I will leave that for another time.)

      Yes, the U.S. military should get out of all these places (and many more, let’s close most of the bases, too!). That discussion needs to be paired with a discussion about working with the major U.S. debt holders in addressing the massive U.S. debt and the required restructuring of the U.S. and global financial systems. The goal would be to avoid a global economic meltdown which quite possibly could precipitate a catastrophic world war, which is in no one’s interests.

      I don’t expect to see any of this debated on a DNC controlled stage, do you?

    • Seer
      August 21, 2019 at 22:04

      Omar was a lot closer than most understand. And couple this to Sanders’ recent retort about the US withholding “aid” to Israel if it blocks US congress members from going to Israel/Palestine.

      IT’S ONE HUGE RACKET. US tax payer dollars to Israel so it can turn around and buy weapons from the US defense industry. This game is perpetuating because of the built-in blackmail threats that have been compiled by Israeli and US intelligence agencies (who work together anyway [Five Eyes]): Jeffry Epstein (story) is quite relevant. It all affords lots of power to those seated in the halls of “power.”

  19. robert e williamson jr
    August 20, 2019 at 15:06

    If we don’t do this ourselves we may be forced to by the rest of the world.

    Great stuff here, I couldn’t agree more. Beside it’s time we took a soul searching look at ourselves, especially in the same light that other see us in.

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