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Imran Khan’s visit to the USA by Brig.Gen(Retd) Asif Haroon Raja

Imran Khan’s visit to the USA

Asif Haroon Raja

Trump’s Double faced policy against Pakistan

 

 

 

 

 

Double Faced Trump

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Donald Trump has been maintaining a highly belligerent posture against Pakistan as was evident from his policy on Afghanistan and on South Asia and his random statements accusing Pakistan of harbouring Haqqani network and Afghan Taliban and holding it responsible for the instability in Afghanistan.

On the one hand, Pakistan is accused of sheltering and supporting Afghan militant groups, and on the other hand, USA is in parleys with them since last year and beseeching them to a ceasefire and end the war. Pakistan is pressed to bring them to the negotiating table.

Trump administration has been openly siding with the Narendra Modi regime as was evident in Pulwama incident and the events that took place in the aftermath. Besides suspending the Close Support Fund (CSF) and military cooperation, the US has hung the swords of FATF and IMF to add to the economic woes of Pakistan, which is caught in a deadly debt trap. 

Stick and Carrot Policy

In the ongoing war on terror, the US civil and military leaders have been using the stick against Pakistan viciously and dangling few carrots to entice Pakistan to keep doing more. This policy is evident from the series of harsh statements made by US military commanders operating in Afghanistan, CENTCOM Commander and Pentagon, and in the same breath eulogizing role of Pakistan Army in the war.

In line with this wicked policy, Pentagon recently expressed its desire to maintain strong military-to-military ties with Pakistan due to shared interests. This policy statement has been made in the wake of the visit of PM Imran Khan (IK) to Washington this month.

History of Pak-US Military Ties

Peeping into past, Pentagon and GHQ have maintained cordial ties right from the days of Ayub Khan’s rule despite hiccups in a government-to-government relationship which suffered from ups and downs.

Military ties nose-dived in 2011 on account of Raymond Davis incident in January, followed by stealth helicopter attack in Abbottabad in May, Memogate scandal in October and finally the Apache gunship helicopters attack military posts in Mohmand agency in November.  The last act forced GHQ to sever all military and intelligence cooperation with the USA as well as stoppage of NATO supplies. This non-cooperation remained enforced till Washington apologized in July 2012 and supply routes were re-opened. But the level of distrust didn’t decrease. India and puppet regime in Kabul kept widening the mistrust.

Distrust was a result of an accumulation of a series of prejudicial acts of USA in the war on terror. While it bestowed favours and rewards to India and Afghanistan generously, it remained tight-fisted towards Pakistan and whatever it doled out in the form of grants and loans were tied to the condition of doing more.  While the wrong acts of India and Afghanistan were looked the other way, or defended or condoned, in case of Pakistan, it was blamed for every trouble in the two countries as well as in Occupied Kashmir. It could never furnish a shred of evidence to corroborate its accusations.

The reason behind the USA’s Biased Approach

The reason for this biased approach is that the US military, as well as the US governments whether of Republicans or Democrats, have always been closer to India than Pakistan even when India was a camp follower of former USSR and Pakistan was the most allied ally of USA.

Pakistan was initially taken on board in 1954 when India and Afghanistan refused to become part of the defensive arc meant to contain communism in South Asia and the Middle East. Pakistan suffered after joining western pacts since it earned the animosity of many countries. Above all, the pacts couldn’t save Pakistan from getting bifurcated in 1971.

Next time, Pakistan’s need was felt by the USA in the 1980s to support the Afghan Mujahideen in the war against the Soviet forces. Once all its objectives were achieved without deploying a single soldier, Pakistan was discarded and put under sanctions and its arch-rival India befriended.

Pakistan was once more taken on board after 9/11 to fight the US war on terror after giving repeated assurances that wrongs of the past will be atoned by building a relationship on the basis of mutual respect and understanding. Those were false promises; Pakistan was again duped and snared.

USA, India and puppet regime in Kabul supported by NATO and Israel became strategic partners and made plans to denuclearize Pakistan and make it a compliant state using indirect strategy.   

Under the garb of friendship and puny monetary benefits, Pakistan was systematically bled through paid proxies and drones, and discredited through false accusations, false flag operations and media war.

Throughout the 18-year war, Pakistan has been given a raw deal. The reason is that Pakistan besides being a Muslim State, it is a nuclear power with strong armed forces, it is closely aligned with the US main rival China, and in collaboration with China is building CPEC. Full operationalization of CPEC will change the whole complexion of geo-economics in the region, beneficial to China and Pakistan, and detrimental to USA and India. Pakistan refuses to accept Indian hegemony in South Asia and to become an influential player in Afghanistan.

Conversely, India is a strategic partner of the USA since 1990. The US has desired that India should fill the vacuum in Afghanistan after its departure, act as a bulwark against China, and become a policeman of the Indo-Pacific region.

With these aims and objectives, India is promoted and glorified, while Pakistan which doesn’t fit into the US calculus is undermined and discredited. Successive administrations of George Bush, Obama and Trump adopted an inimical policy.

Pentagon and CIA play a main role in colouring the perceptions of White House, State Department and the Congress. Jewish and Indian lobbies in the USA also have a big hand in keeping Pakistan in bad books of USA.        

In the backdrop of too many divergences and too few convergences in Pak-US relations, there is little room for shared interests as stated recently.

The only pin which is keeping the US attached to Pakistan is Afghanistan, where the US has got badly stuck and finds itself cornered and bereft of strategy how to fight and win or to exit safely.

Pakistan becomes relevant since it is the only country which is placed at an advantageous position at this critical juncture. It is relatively better poised to exert influence over the Taliban and to arrange safe and honourable passage of the occupying forces.

Since the US is desperate to pull out at the earliest, and also hope for a friendly regime in Kabul, it has still not abandoned Pakistan. The day Pakistan loses its relevance and becomes a redundant player in Afghan imbroglio, Washington will ditch Pakistan as it had done in 1990.

Changed Realities

The US is well aware of the changed ground realities.

It is no more as powerful as it was in 2001.

Russia has resurged and China is at the verge of becoming the leading economic power.

Taliban are closer to the victory stand and are no more isolated and shunned.

Taliban have gained superiority of orientation on the battlefield due to which they are happily placed to negotiate from a position of strength.

Taliban have garnered military support from Russia and Iran, and diplomatic support of China, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Turkey and Germany.

Afghan Unity Government and 350,000 ANSF have become liabilities for the USA.

In all probability, US troops will be pulled out by end of 2020.

Syria is another theatre where the USA is most likely to suffer humiliation after it pulls out its forces.

India has failed to disable Pakistan’s nuclear program or overawe it.

Pakistan’s missile and nuclear capabilities have vastly improved and can keep India deterred.

Pakistan is the only country which has produced spectacular results against terrorism despite heavy odds while all others failed.

The US is also aware of Pakistan’s sense of disillusionment and its inclination to get closer to Russia.  

The USA is in a Dilemma

On one hand, it is stuck in Afghanistan and is entreating the Taliban to ceasefire and help in ending the 18-year war. On the other hand, it is confronted by defiant Iran in the Persian Gulf where no Arab country is prepared to send its ground forces or to provide a land route to US-NATO forces for fear of Iran’s retaliation.

The US needs Pakistan’s help on both fronts since more recently, Pak-Iran relations have taken a dramatic turn for the better, which is much to the discomfort of US, KSA and India.

Pakistan’s Significance

The prospect of losing influence in Afghanistan and Central Asia completely is giving nightmares to policymakers in Washington. They have belatedly realized that Pakistan is the only country which besides helping in finalizing a political settlement with the Taliban and in arranging safe exit, it can act as the bridge for the USA to gain access to Afghanistan and Central Asia.  

It is in context with these hard realities that the US has once again been forced to lean on Pakistan and of late has been giving friendly signals. However, the USA’s overall negative mindset and habit of betrayal must not be ignored. There will be more ‘takes’ and very little ‘gives’.  

Trump Administration’s Doubts and Punitive Acts

Poisoned by Kabul and New Delhi, Washington strongly feels that Pakistan is playing a double game and is the main source of strength for the Taliban.

In order to force Pakistan to play the US game, it has embroiled Pakistan in a hybrid war in addition to covert war and is now taking steps to haemorrhage Pakistan’s economy which is already in dire strait.

For that purpose, it is using the swords of FATF and IMF in unison.

First tranche of the IMF bailout package of $6 billion spread over three years was released only after Pakistan fulfilled the demands of IMF which included changing the whole economic team, heavy devaluation of Pak Rupee, keeping the currency floating, more taxes, increase in prices of electricity, gas, petrol, foodstuff and reduction in subsidies.     

While Pakistan is making desperate efforts to get itself shifted from grey to white list by FATF by fulfilling genuine and false demands, India and anti-Pakistan lobbies in the USA have been making efforts to blacklist Pakistan, which will be a step closer to getting Pakistan declared a terror abetting state.   

IK Visiting USA under Unsavory Conditions

IK is embarking upon his maiden visit to Washington on July 21 at a time when Pak-US relations are unsavoury. With restive home front owing to political instability, an economy in doldrums, accountability not making any headway, traders’ strikes, the release of a scandalous video by PML-N, and explosive external front, IK might not be at ease to indulge in hard talk with Trump.

PM Imran Khan should be deriving a measure of solace that Trump himself is stuck in a bigger mess!

The Pakistani nation is looking forward to the 45 minute face-to-face talk between IK-Trump on July 22. Will IK get swayed by the magic spell of the USA like his predecessors, or negotiate like Quaid-e-Azam?  

Gestures Shown by Both Sides

Both sides have taken some preliminary steps to ease tensions and to create a conducive environment for the visit which has assumed great importance. The two sides are hoping that this meeting will help in altering distrust into trust and restoring friendly ties.

Pakistan has helped in making some headway in the 7th round of peace talks between the Taliban and USA at Doha. Intra-Afghan meeting at Bhurban last month and participation of all Afghan factions in a 2-day summit at Doha are positive developments.

As a favour to Ashraf Ghani, Pakistan is pressing the Taliban to hold direct talks with the Afghan regime and is also wanting them to a ceasefire and stop the violence.

It is also meeting several demands of FATF to avoid getting blacklisted.

Despite India’s negativity and hostility, Pakistan has made several futile efforts to melt the ice.

As a goodwill gesture, proscribed outfit BLA has finally been declared a terrorist outfit by the USA.

Trump’s Hopes

  • The US is hopeful of winning over the hard-pressed new regime of Pakistan back into its fold and to make it agree to pick up arms against the Taliban or browbeat them if they refuse to include the wishes of the USA in the peace agreement.
  • Trump would press IK to convince the Taliban to allow the USA to retain 2-3 military bases in Afghanistan for the sake of regional stability.
  • Trump is hoping that Pakistan will persuade the Taliban to maintain friendly ties with Washington once they regain power and will not swing towards Russia-China.
  • Imran Khan will be told to desist from buying arms from Russia.
  • Another possible request could be freedom of Dr. Shakil Afridi.
  • On the request of India, Trump might ask IK to do away with capital punishment of death by hanging as is being demanded by the EU and thus save Kulbushan’s neck.
  • Granting land access to India via Wagah to Afghanistan/Central Asia could be another favour sought for India.   

Suggested Imran Khan’s (IK) Talking Points

  • IK’s foremost request should be to stop the blame game, stop using Pakistan as a convenient scapegoat. Instead, evolve mutually sustaining a relationship based on trust and respect.
  • He must put in a word for Pakistani Americans and Pak settlers in the USA for better security against racism and Islamophobia.
  • He should ask Trump to compensate Pakistan for $ 125 billion financial loss it incurred in the long drawn war, restore CSF and reschedule foreign debt repayments.
  • He should seek compensation for the colossal wear and tear of arms, equipment, tanks, helicopters extensively used in the US imposed war, by handing over part of the US war munitions in Afghanistan before exiting.
  • What he should forcefully insist upon is to close down the infrastructure of cross border terrorism in Afghanistan run by RAW-NDS, put an end to the proxy war, and to make RAW-NDS accountable for their support to BLA and other anti-Pakistan proxies.
  • Fencing of the western border is in the overall interest of both countries trading accusations. The USA must provide funds to expedite completion of western and southwestern fencing.
  • Maintenance of regional military balance between two nuclear neighbours and the adoption of a balanced relationship with India and Pakistan must be emphasized.
  • He must remind Trump to respect Pakistan’s core security interests.  
  • Trump should be told not to blackmail Pakistan through IMF and FATF, or hybrid war.
  • He should invite the USA to join CPEC after highlighting a long list of merits.
  • He should ask Trump to restrain India from committing human rights abuses in Occupied Kashmir and to mediate in resolving Kashmir dispute.
  • Provision of land access to India to be made conditional to the resolution of Kashmir dispute.  
  • With an eye on its backyard, IK should ask Trump to review his policy of confrontation with Iran.

EndNote. Rapprochement with the USA must not be at the cost of straining relations with Russia.       

The writer is a retired Brig, war veteran, defence analyst, columnist, author of five books, Vice Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, Director Measac Research Centre, member CWC and Think Tank Pakistan Ex-Servicemen Society, and member Council Tehreek Jawanan Pakistan. asifharoonraja@gmail.com     

 

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Global Peace and Security:  World Leaders Betray the Canons of Truth, Wisdom and Humanity By Mahboob A. Khawaja, PhD.

Global Peace and Security:  World Leaders Betray the Canons of Truth, Wisdom and Humanity

Mahboob A. Khawaja, PhD.

 

 

 

Today’s Political World at a Glance

 

Global politics is overwhelmingly becoming robotic when the question of safeguard of mankind comes up. Global political leaders are fast becoming actors on stage – issuing abstract statements of outrage and phoney sense of grief when thousands and millions of human lives are constantly bombarded by the weapons they manufacture and sell to crush the human soul and to support the war economies. The UNO and it’s Secretary-General and the UN Security Council – all are just debating clubs engaged in time killing exercises to deceive the mankind and to betray the ideals of the Charter to “safeguard the humanity from the scourge of wars.” Many top UN officials are paid employees with no sense of accountability to the global community. The reality of man-made catastrophic conflicts enhanced by national interests and war-led economies are ingrained in the war racketeering plans across the globe. The 21st-century knowledge-based informed mankind is the next victim of the global political monsters. Millions of human beings are forcibly displaced, evicted by plans and charcoaled by forbidden chemical weapons across the Middle East yet; most global leaders do nothing to prevent the aggressive catastrophes except statements of fake ‘outrage’ reaction as if others were inhuman casualties. We are witnessing the abnormal political culture of a human bloodbath as being normal.

 

The global community – a divided and dispersed mankind is unable to challenge the war racketeers and global hangmen who claim to be political leaders. They are egoistic professionals with the big mouth without wisdom and full of self-engineered false democratic clichés, contradictions, distortions and misrepresentation of the rights of common citizens in modern democracies. These are frightening trends for the present and future generations to survive. Most of the economically influential actors occupy the political platforms – either through backdoor conspiracies or entrenched political intrigues. They profess to be intelligent and outspoken for the rights of the people but in reality are offensive to truth and listening to voices of reason and honesty. How do we call for a balancing act in a world terribly imbalanced by nationalism, political and economic ideologies of supremacy and shallow imaginations and practices of human equality, human rights, peace and harmony amongst all the diverse segments of the living humanity?

We cannot abandon the search for a better and more rational world of systematic mechanism to protect the peace and security of mankind on this One Planet. We, the People, We the Humanity and conscientious thinkers and scholars must wake-up to the immense sophisticated and technologically advanced challenges to disconnect us from the Nature of Things and to dehumanize us by global scenarios of ethnicities, nationalism, state borders and cultural superiorities and ruling class distinctions. William Godwin (Enquiry Concerning Political Justice and Its Influence on Modern Moral and Happiness, 1793), said it right:

 

Men of genius must rise up….to analyse the machine of society to demonstrate how the parts are connected together… and point out the defects and remedy. It is thus only that important reforms can be produced…He who is a friend to general happiness will neglect no chance of producing in his pupil or his child, one of the long-looked-for saviours of the human race.

 

Do We, the People Realize to be One Humanity on One Earth?

 

We are One Humanity on One Planet and we have a right to be here in peace and harmony, not in conflicts, not collaborators to kill the mankind and destruction of the human environment and habitats. This will be contrary to our Nature and inhuman if we cannot come to terms with our peaceful co-existence, identity and responsibility being the chief guardians of the living planet in a living Universe.  We, the humanity lives on a balanced Planet – Earth located at a measured distance from the Sun and Moon and other stars. God created the Universe and blessed it with all functionalities and provisions for life-sustaining factors since millions and billions of years. Do you realize if there was no water, no oxygen or hydrogen and other gases or sunlight to support all the living creations – what would have been the shape and form of life on Earth? 

 

Could we the human kind count the blessings of God to maintain life for millions and billions of years on this planet?  All things exist in a mathematical order, whether we recognize it or deny it. So strange, we know all about other material things and scientific-technological developments but we are ignorant and arrogant to learn about our own origin and existence on a living planet. We are born from a mother’s tummy – one and the same all over the globe – One Humanity. Yet, we dare to challenge each other with nationalism and ethnic superiorities and indulge in wars and deaths and destruction of our own beings. Are we the human being intelligent enough to know about our own existence and Purpose of Life?  How could we imagine peace and harmony amongst ourselves when we bomb and destroy each other with weapons of destruction as if we were not the human kind but some kind of animals without any sense of rational thinking?

 

 We, the People of Conscience can only correct the political fallacies if we are united and blended together with reason and accountability to be the saviour of our own world. We must awaken the minds and soul of the 21st-century humanity to synthesize the vitality of peace and human security in a world of time and opportunities for political justice, equal rights and participation to be part of the change phenomenon for a better and more promising world of tomorrow.  The voices of reason will echo across the globe if we together are committed and united for this idea and human ideals. We strongly believe that knowledge-based wisdom, plans and actions will lead to benevolence and global harmony, peace and justice and will nullify the malignity and political tyranny from the 21st century highly challenging and competitive world. When We, the People articulate cooperation and understanding in societal diversity, it will replace the impulse and urge for competition and unjust indulgence to destroy fellow human beings.

 

Political Propaganda:   War as “Noble” but Truth and  Peace are Offensive

 

Strangely enough, warmongers hire war propagandists to classify wars as “noble”, “good”, the necessity of the ruling nobility and to protect the flag, borders and national interests. George Bush claimed to be “Man of God” who started the day with the Bible, to orchestrate the bogus war on terrorism. These are cynical notions implied to enforce the monstrous viewpoints of the few warlords in every age.  Professor Camillo “Mac” Bica, School of Visual Arts, New York City and an activist of Peace and Justice (“Atrocity and War”, OpenedNews), offers a penetrating insight on the inequality criterion and falsification of information and facts of human life.

 

Having been indoctrinated by the propaganda of those whose militarism and war-mongers agenda requires acceptance of the mythology of the “good war” and the “noble warrior,” the uninitiated and unaffected most civilians and many non warrior members of the military fail to realize this truth, that all war is barbarism in which cruelty and brutal atrocity is the norm rather than the exception. During World War II, for example, often cited and celebrated as the “good war,” over 50 million civilians were murdered by both Axis and Allied Nations. The American servicemen in the Wikileaks video who so nonchalantly “engaged the target” slaughtering some 12 human beings are no different from the pilots and bombardiers from the “greatest generation” who with equal nonchalance, incinerated millions of civilians during the terror bombings of Hamburg, Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, etc. Despite the moral depravity of their actions, these individuals were not born killers. Rather they were created to do our bidding, first conscripted or lured into the military with promises of employment, a college education, or U.S. citizenship, then subjected to sophisticated indoctrination techniques of value manipulation, moral desensitization, and psychological conditioning, aimed at destroying/overriding their humanity, their moral aversion to killing, reinforced by the violence and horrors of the battlefield environment.

 

Blame Games of Distortion and Prejudice against the Informed Humanity

 

To be united in global political diversity, We, the People must exercise forbearance, canons of rationality and strive for blended unity of mankind – the core of human understanding and harmony. Leaders who want to lead must have rational thinking and followers to claim leadership effectiveness. Most contemporary leaders are devoid of REASON as the focal point of policy formulation and decision-making in global human relationships. Often they use blame game and popularity numbers to score fictitious rating in public eyes. Most leaders are infected with this syndrome and egoistic sickness to remain influential and powerful.

 

To protect the mankind from further dehumanization and annihilation, People of new ideas (Idea Men) are needed to take initiatives for political change – indeed a navigational change at  this critical moment: a New UNO with people’s leadership, New Global Political Systems of Governance planned and developed by the people of knowledge and integrity and rejecting Hobbesian “wars of all against all”; and producing a rational rebuttal to the war of insanity, torture, political tyranny, inept global leadership and offer a balanced new vision of a world enriched with learning knowledge of rational policy-making and decision-making, human equality, fairness, protection of life and its natural support systems, and the Universe and equal justice for all the living beings on this planet. The leaders have not learned from the imposed deaths and destruction of the Two World Wars. The Third World War is already in progress in Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Yemen, Libya and soon to engulf many self-made tribal Arab kings, princes and authoritarian dictators.

 

Surely, We, the People could create a better and more sustainable world of today and tomorrow. A natural sense of piety and political wickedness cannot co-exist in one human character as most of the world leaders pretend to be. We must THINK and ACT outside the global box of political wickedness and cult of political allegiance to the few and sickening political minds of egoistic leadership. Time and history are not going to wait for the few insane outrage, phony statements on human deaths and destruction unless we take this challenge in its time and opportunity to make things happen  for change and for the best of all mankind. The Divine Revelation (Al-Qur’an) states clearly: “Intelligent people always readily accept advice.” 

American historian Harry Elmer Barnes (“Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace: A Critical Examination of the Foreign Policy of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and It’s Aftermath”), offered this stern warning to American politicians if the US-led wars to continue leading to man’s annihilation from this planet:

“If trends continue as they have during the last fifteen years, we shall soon reach this point of no return, and can only anticipate interminable wars, disguised as noble gestures for peace. Such an era could only culminate in a third world war which might well, as Arnold J. Toynbee has suggested, leave only the pygmies in remote jungles, or even the apes and ants, to carry on ‘the cultural traditions’ of mankind.”

Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja specializes in international affairs – global security, peace and conflict resolution and IR with keen interests in Islamic-Western comparative cultures and civilizations, and author of several publications including the latest: Global Peace, Security and Conflict Resolution: Approaches to Understand the Current Issues and Future-Making. Lambert Academic Publishing, Germany, October 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

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Classifying Defeat: Hiding Data on the Losing Afghan War ……Maj. Danny Sjursen, USA (Ret.)

Classifying Defeat: Hiding Data on the Losing Afghan War

in 

Anti-War.com

 

Editor’s Note: I was a student in the US during the Vietnam War. I lost many US classmates either wounded mentally or killed. When the US was entering Afghanistan, I told my American friends not to enter Afghanistan. My words, “You can enter Afghanistan easily, but getting out is next to impossible.”
Troops in Afghanistan
Note: All US Troop Stationed Near Pakistan Border-US has not learned an iota from Vietnam. Afghanistan is the death knell of invaders.

 

The longest war in U.S. history has cost 2400 American lives and nearly a trillion dollars. Still, the government in Washington conceals the truth and most of the populace yawns. By now there should be no doubt that America has lost the battle for Afghanistan, placing it in good company with the British and Soviet empires that failed to conquer that famously xenophobic country. I just wish the Trump administration – as self-touting “truth-tellers” – would admit it. Seriously, public acceptance of defeat would be strangely refreshing. But don’t count on it!

Trump and company have a better idea. They’ll just stop telling the American people anything about how this perpetual war is going. Seriously, the powers that be have taken just about all the relevant, measurable data on the war and either stopped tracking it or deemed it classified. How’s that for some Orwellian political spin? The thing is I kind of get it. The news out of Afghanistan is so awful, and “progress” so fitful, that I wouldn’t want to report it either. Too bad these are life and death matters and that in an (ostensible) republic the people are owed the truth about the wars fought in their name. Call me old fashioned but I still value facts and transparency.

So let us consider what exactly they are hiding from us. It began with last year’s announcement that the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) – the congressionally mandated watchdog on all aspects of this war – would no longer report Afghan Security Force (ASF) casualty data. It’s now classified. I wonder why. Could it be that the US trained and equipped (to the tune of some $70 billion) Afghan military is suffering unsustainable casualties, is losing troops faster than it can recruit? Maybe its because Washington finds it inconvenient to admit that the ASF is nowhere near its target personnel strength, that desertions and absence without leave are rampant in the ranks, and that the Afghan GDP is insufficient to pay for its own security forces.

After all, every president from Bush to Obama to Trump has told us that advising the ASF is America’s number one priority and the key to a successful exit. Given that, one would think it rather important to face the truth about the utterly insufficient Afghan military and police force. Instead, it’s classified. You’re no longer allowed to know that discomfiting truth.

 

 

 

Then, last week, we were told that the US military will no longer track district-level insurgent or government control or influence. In other words, data on what percentage of the country is controlled by the Afghan government versus the Taliban. Sounds like vital info, no? Apparently, according to the US command in Afghanistan, that district data “was of limited decision-making value to the Commander.” That’s news to me! Even as a company commander, a lowly captain, I tracked and reported data on the relative security and stability of even individual villages in my sector. It’s how we knew if we were making progress or not!

So why would the Trump administration really decide to hide, or just stop tracking this pivotal information? Could it be that the Taliban has been progressively gaining ground and now control or contest more of the country – about 50 percent – than at any time in this 18-year-old war? Surely it’d be rather inconvenient to admit that the U.S.-backed regime in Kabul is losing control of half the country. The solution: stop keeping track altogether.

Seriously, rather than assess the data and decide either 1) that the situation on the ground demands a new strategy or more American investment; or 2) that the war is unwinnable and it was always an absurd pipe dream to think we could forge a Jeffersonian Democracy in remote Central Asia, and thus cut our losses and withdraw. Now, I’m a strong proponent of option two and have said so time and again. Still, at least option one would grapple with reality rather than ignore it.

Look, SIGAR is a government-sanctioned watchdog agency, not a touchy-feely human rights nonprofit. These aren’t hippie peaceniks, not by a long shot. Perhaps we should listen to what they have to say, because, well, it is really disturbing. Last week, John Sopko, the inspector general himself, asserted that “Almost every indicia, metric for success or failure is now classified or nonexistent…Over time, it’s been classified or it’s no longer being collected … The classification in some areas is needless.” Translation: we are losing the war and hiding that fact from the people! That’s a big deal, America!

There are other indicators that this war has run off the rails, and one suspects this data will also soon be classified or “no longer tracked.” For example, the fact that 2018 was the first year in which U.S. and allied Afghan forces killed more civilians than the Taliban. So much for winning hearts and minds. It seems Washington has taught Kabul to fight in its own image, confident – despite all the historical evidence to the contrary – that it can bomb its way to victory. Too bad killing innocent civilians is a sure way to alienate the populace and feed an insurgency. If you didn’t know any better, you might think Washington is trying to prolong the war indefinitely.

Remember that the owners of this country – the real owners in the corporate-military-industrial complex – count on your apathy. They count on a distracted populace. They count on you not caring so they can perpetuate ill-advised, counterproductive (but quite profitable) wars indefinitely. We’re through the looking glass, folks – sleepwalking to defeat on the inertia of uniquely American forever war. If we’re not careful we might lose our republic along with the war.

So I say let’s demand better for once. That we demand transparency and the truth about the war in Afghanistan. That we demand to know what is done in our name and what thousands have sacrificed their lives for. That would mean millions of calls to our congressmen, marching in the streets, shutting down the system if necessary. I can see it, almost like a dream – a sea of Americans saying no to a losing war, no to the plunder of our treasury, no to the gradual rollback of our civil liberties.

Only when I wake up from my daydream, gaze around the airport, and…everyone is too busy on their iPhones to care. And that’s the real America. So the war must go on…

Danny Sjursen is a retired U.S. Army officer and regular contributor toAntiwar.com. His work has appeared in the LA Times, The Nation, Huff Post, The Hill, Salon, Truthdig, Tom Dispatch, among other publications. He served combat tours with reconnaissance units in Iraq and Afghanistan and later taught history at his alma mater, West Point. He is the author of a memoir and critical analysis of the Iraq War, Ghostriders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge. Follow him on Twitter at @SkepticalVet.

Copyright 2019 Danny Sjursen

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American Militarism is Destroying the Future of Humanity. 

American Militarism is Destroying the Future of Humanity. 

Uncommon Thoughts

American Militarism Is Destroying the Future of Humanity

 

By Mahboob Khawaja, PhD.

Editor’s Note

As the United States moves once again to provoke a situation in the Middle East, this time focused on Iran, we have to ask whether the American people withstand against more war and regime change, or whether the apathy of endless wars has inured them to the true costs of what war with Iran would mean. I must say that I am terribly afraid that the media war is being won by the Lords of Chaos who see nothing but profit in both wars in itself, and the target – Iran. Further, we seem to be at a point where one party, which controls the Senate, has no will to serve not only as a check on the wild gyrations of the Executive Branch but even to protect its own Constitutional powers – namely the right to declare war in this case. So even if the people resist, there is no spine in the GOP to speak even in a whisper the Hell that would be unleashed in such massive destruction and destabilization.It is very likely that large numbers of US troops will be sent to join the Carrier group steaming into the Strait of Hormuz, guns aimed at Iran. Regardless of Trump saying that he doesn’t want war with Iran and he “hopes” that doesn’t happen, the reality is that he has been pushing for this since he was campaigning for President. Further, he has continued to push and provoke and brought in Bolton and Pompeo – both of whom have been pushing to attack Iran for decades. Proclamations of a perpetual liar to the contrary should fall on deaf ears, but apparently whether he shoots someone in cold blood in Times Square (a claim of his immunity from consequences for his actions), or shoots the US arsenal at another nation, no blood will stick to him – or so he and the GOP believe.

Mahboob A. Khawaja, PhD.

“The culture of peace is universal. It is shared by people and nations Worldwide. Today’s “culture of war” is a US hegemonic project predicated on the creation of conflict and divisions within and between countries. It is this (unilateral) project of global warfare which is intent upon destroying civilization.” (Professor Michel Chossudovsky, “Towards a Culture of World Peace”. Global Research: 5/16/2019).

Warmongering is an Anti-Human Impulse

The draconian ferocity of wars continues as we watch the unwarranted aggressive events unfolding against Iran in the Persian Gulf Region. One sees a contrast between a real issue and an imaginative problem. The motivating factor signals one thing that American ruling elite thinks: “we are the most powerful nation on earth and nobody else should challenge our supremacy” – the naïve malignity of the mindset of the current American leadership. In the advanced technological warfare of the 21st century, consequential outcomes will leave nothing intact and few living beings will remain. Neither Bolton, Pompeo or Trump, seem to have any understanding or concern as to how their actions could undermine the rest of living humanity. In all probability, the war hysteria is a distraction from domestic issues facing the Trump administration.

Making and maintaining peace requires rational objective reasoning. Could we, the conscientious humanity, hold these naïve people back from triggering a nuclear disaster in the Middle East Arab region? Can we promote the resolution of problems by reason and dialogue rather than belligerency and aggression? Sanctity of human life is grounded in the tenets of moral and intellectual leadership, and being open to listening to and learning from voices of REASON. If the Iranian leadership was smart, it should have acted quickly to seek a unity of its immediate neighbours (Turkey, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia), and of all the Arab and Muslim nations, to constitute a powerful moral force of reason to thwart the US plan. The world is fast becoming a violent place at crossroads. All ways of human life require to safeguard and protection from great evils. Ben Tarnoff (“Weaponised AI is Coming. Are Algorithmic Forever Wars our Future?” ICH: 10/13/18), notes the speedy belligerency:

“The wars of 9/11 continue, with no end in sight. Now, the Pentagon is investing heavily in technologies that will intensify them. By embracing the latest tools that the tech industry has to offer, the US military is creating a more automated form of warfare – one that will greatly increase its capacity to wage war everywhere forever.”

America, or its allies in the Arab Middle East, face no formidable enemy except themselves in their own naïve belief in their military superiority. There is no substance to any perceivable challenge or military threat to America from Iran. So why should America rush its armada to the Persian Gulf? It is not for peace, and not to protect humanity from any imminent threat of war from any corners of the strategic game-play in the region. Rationally speaking, the mindset of American leadership appears devoid of reason and accountability. Wars do not bring diverse humanity to peacemaking, but they do destroy the opportunities for dialogue and peaceful resolution of problems. Undoubtedly, the current US administration needs a powerful challenge to make a navigational change. Imagine if Russia or China were to deploy their armadas across the Atlantic or the Pacific regions, would it be seen as a rational and peace-making strategy by either global observers or American leadership? Today some 62 American organizations have asked the US Congress to consider a resolution to stop the war threats against Iran. America is imposing a sadistic war strategy on the rest of mankind.

The UNO and its major organs responsible for global peace and security have proven to be ceremonial debating clubs, and are acting contrary to the essence and purposes of the Charter. Global humanity is tormented by the pain of impending hostilities and demands systematic change and development of a new global organization responsible to the global community, not to the abstract Nation States. It feels like history is repeating itself as once again a few Western egoistic leaders have manipulated the opportunities to dictate and undermine the interests of mankind.  Humanity is the net object of all their deliberations but without any meaningful role in challenging the few global warlords.

President Trump desperately needs to rethink his role as an effective leader in America. Being a responsible leader, one cannot propel willful and premeditated plans of foolish animosities and human destruction.  Once America was enriched with intellectual foresight to safeguard the rest of mankind, but its contemporary leaders and major institutions seem to defy the logic of co-existing with the rest of the global community. For sure, American leaders lack even the essence of Thomas Paine’s historic “Common Sense” to change, but historical change will replace America’s global leadership with others, more understanding and relevant to mankind. American politicians are used to ignoring the imperatives of global peaceful co-existence.

Egoistic Politicians Pursue the War Economy but US Soldiers Are Against the War Culture

America appears to be at the threshold of an unavoidable moral and intellectual transition of reasoning, but it is not following through the rational process of change and future-making.  The Washington-based war culture has incapacitated the US policymakers ability to think rationally and act responsibly in global affairs. Strange as it seems, President Trump and John Bolton cannot explain why 18-25 US war veterans commit suicides every day. (“Why Do Soldiers Commit Suicide and Global Warlords.” Uncommon Thought Journal, USA). Moral and intellectual darkness is renewed under the leadership of the current Commander-in-Chief of the US armed forces. Do the leaders care to protect precious human life?

 

[Photo: Trump, Pompeo, and Bolton]

 

 

 

Most contemporary politicians are not responsible leaders but stage actors pretending to represent the national interests. They learn to excite the emotions of the electorates to win elections but fail to act as responsible leaders. They view humanity just numbers, not precious life which has value in the larger universal context. Most often, these people are disconnected from the annals of normal human thinking and affairs, suspicious and paranoid and they see success to be achieved through ruthlessness, hatred, degeneration and viciousness – all part of their inborn value system, making politics a dreadful game of egomaniacal minds, deception and strategic priorities. This is the opposite of the intelligent commitment to principles of international peace and security for all required to achieve non-aggression in global systems. These systems should be focused on the protection of life and a balanced ecological culture of co-existence within the encompassed Universe -Man and Humanity. America, a leading industrialized power is indifferent to these critical factors of life.

We, The People – Humanity – Have the Capacity to Challenge the Dreadful Calamity of War

The aim of human happiness and solidarity is not violence, wars and aggression. All wars perpetuate violence, fear and vindictiveness against mankind and are aimed at the destruction of civilizations and dehumanization of succeeding generations. Bruce Gambrill Foster (“The Scourge Of War: The Shameless Marketing of Violence” Information Clearing House), observes: “The connection between combating the violence of organized crime, for example, and war is easily bridged. In both, blood is spilt…. If even our simplest joys are couched in terms of conflict, death and domination, what hope is there to distinguish and abhor and eventually end the true villainy of armed conflict, the scourge of war?”

Global mankind is the next victim of the catastrophic madness of the few warlords. Did President Trump learn anything from knowledge, history and facts of life, to understand his weaknesses and strengths? Has he the vision and courage to change and reform his mind and behaviour when facts warrant a change, be it in policy making or global interactive behaviour? After all, listening and learning are critical factors for the changing role of the 21st-century political leadership, as is the importance of flexibility for effective leadership. However, there seem to be no intelligent and proactive leaders with a vision to see the imperative of a United Humanity. Instead, that vision is perverted by egomaniacs full of the sensation of power that they use for trivial and vicious ends to torture and kill mankind and destroy living habitats. Contrary to the brutal perceptions and actions of the US-former Europeans imperialists, the international community is increasingly informed, mature, and enjoys the moral and intellectual capacity to know and understand the facts of life. They are standing up to challenge the leaders promoting insensitivity to universal accord and fighting against the brutality of the Terrorism of Wars. The deliberate efforts at control through destruction and hatred are uniting the people as we share a common fate more than divides us by any token of adversity and separate national identities.

Progressively evolving is a new information-age plausible global culture of Thinking of One Humanity and a new proactive civilization of strong bonds and affinity of people to people cultural communications – global citizenry participation in social, economic and political Thinking and Globalization – a person in one part of the world feels, thinks and acts-reacts to what happens to any person in another remote corner of the globe. Mankind is neither blind nor inept, it defines its own purpose, meaning and identity for peace and harmony that the established institutions of governance – be it in America, the Middle East or Europe or elsewhere miserably failed to recognize or value their importance in global political affairs. Paul Craig Roberts (The Next War on Washington’s Agenda.”), had a rational thought to ask the right question:

We, as Americans, need to ask ourselves what all this is about? Why is our government so provocative toward Islam, Russia, China, Iran?  What purpose, whose purpose is being served? Certainly not ours…………Where do we go from here? If not to nuclear destruction, Americans must wake up. Football games, porn, and shopping malls are one thing. Survival of human life is another. Washington, that is, “representative government,” consists only of a few powerful vested interests. These private interests, not the American people, control the US government. That is why nothing that the US government does benefits the American people.

Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja specializes in global security, peace and conflict resolution with keen interests in Islamic-Western comparative cultures and civilizations, and author of several publications including Global Peace and Conflict Management: Man and Humanity in Search of New Thinking. Lambert Publishing Germany, May 2012. His forthcoming book is entitled: One Humanity and The Remaking of Global Peace, Security and Conflict Resolution

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US Exit From Afghanistan Isn’t This Simple by Ishaal Zehra

US Exit From Afghanistan Isn’t This Simple

Ishaal Zehra

 

 

Received with a mixed response, the long and greatly overdue decision of complete departure of US forces from Syria and Afghanistan has excavated some uncomfortable truths. Ever since the US president has announced an exit from these war-webs, the pro-military media of US has started bombarding a common man with articles and reports from worthy war-journals telling us how this decision will engulf peace from this already not-so-very-peaceful world. But I say, let’s face it. Let’s not kid ourselves. The American presence in both the countries “will not” and “cannot” help change the situation at the ground. Whether its ISIS or Taliban, you cannot control them with the presence of a paltry number of American troops around. The same will continue to loaf in Syria and Afghanistan for some more time, where this NATO and ISAF check might not limit but encourage the group’s nefarious undertakings in the name of foreign boots on grounds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Indeed, ending this quagmire is not simple. To leave? Or to stay? Or when to leave? And why to stay? All these decisions must be made in support of well-crafted exit policy. Interestingly, a US think tank dealing with defence and security issues, in their recent report, warns the US leadership that exit from Afghanistan will pull entire region into Afghan conflict. RAND, in the latest report on Afghanistan titled “Consequences of a Precipitous US Withdrawal from Afghanistan”, warns president Trump not to decide exit of the US Forces from Afghanistan in haste. An early withdrawal, the report argues, will cause the insurgents to lose interest in negotiating peace with the United States. The report also causes the speculations of chaos in the region where regional players will likely exert pressure in support of respective groups. The subsequent consequences call for an overly sensitive debate.

Although US’s longest war in the history has remained highly unpopular in the masses since its beginning yet Afghanistan is not so easily dismissed. As a matter of fact, a vast majority of Americans do not actually know what is going on in Afghanistan today. They are fed by articles and reports meant to show the side that actually suits the underwriters. The headlines and opinion sections of big news giants may carry reports on air quality or on an anti-corruption campaign in Kabul disregarding the actual conditions of the combat raging in and around Kabul because reporting in the war areas is simply not possible in such mounting war conditions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While hawks in the US military along with their supporting politicos in the Afghan government have been grumbling on Trump’s war-exit policy, their reasons for this holler are somewhat different from what is reported by the media. While the Afghan puppet government don’t want to let go on power and money gains of this war, the US military wing views Afghanistan, acknowledged by few intellects, as one pillar in a broader regional web of US surveillance over the whole of the greater Middle East. Geopolitically, Afghanistan is located conveniently close to “the soft underbelly” of Russia and China, and also Iran. That’s why they would want selective intelligence and military capabilities in South Asia for many years to come.

Robert D. Kaplan rightly says that no other country in the world symbolizes the decline of the American empire as much as Afghanistan. There is virtually no possibility of a military victory over the Taliban and little chance of leaving behind a self-sustaining democracy — facts that Washington’s policy community has mostly been unable to accept. But it seems president trump had anticipated this well, hence entered the office with the promise to end this fruitless US venture where his security establishment has been opposing his exit strategy since onset.

However, President Trump’s new approach of reaching out to the Taliban carries a lot of sense for the people of the affected region as well as for the entire world. Most importantly for masses of Afghanistan and Pakistan, worst affected by the war. The truth is that no US strategy in Afghanistan has worked this far. Reports suggest that in recent years the ISIS-Khorasan has probably become the strongest and largest ISIS affiliate outside Syria and Iraq. Apparently, it has set up shop in the mountain ranges of Afghanistan bordering Pakistan which means that the heat of US-ISIS fiasco might have to be tolerated by Pakistan as well, willingly or unwillingly.

Reworking the exit policy the US has sought Pakistan’s help in facilitating the peace talks with the Taliban where the latter has offered its unstinting support and help. The process has gone well so far with minor hiccups. What we need to understand is that the Taliban, who control more than half of Afghanistan are actually in the dialogue from a position of strength.  And only a better understanding in between the US and Taliban (backed by the regional players) can help bring stability in the region. Meanwhile, gradually declining in size, the US should continue with its financial support and engagement to help the war-ravaged economy of Afghanistan for some more time. While the Afghans should sustain the patient hope that their country will stabilize and strengthen over time.

 

 

 

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