Afghanistan: False promise of withdrawal, is now long term US troop plan

AFP Photo / Shah Marai
[Obama’s election promises notwithstanding, the Afghan troops trained by US and NATO forces cannot be trusted by imperialism to be loyal and effective gendarmes of the post-occupation neo-colonial system.  So, it is now announced, the US will carry on its training and counterinsurgency operations, indefinitely.  — Frontlines ed.]
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10k US troops to stay in Afghanistan past 2014 deadline

26 November, 2012

Ten thousand US troops will stay in Afghanistan past 2014, senior officials say, despite earlier demands from President Barack Obama to end the war during the second year of his upcoming term.

Most of the 66,000 or so troops currently positioned in Afghanistan will be removed by Pres. Obama’s predetermined deadline, the sources say, but a substantial amount of Americans will be asked to remain indefinitely to conduct training and counterterrorism operations after allied North Atlantic Treaty Organization troops are expunged in late 2014.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Gen. John Allen, the top US commander overseeing the war in Afghanistan, proposed that anywhere from 6,000 to 15,000 troops remain overseas following the end of the current NATO operation occurring there. A number closer to 10,000 was established after top Obama administration officials reached a compromise with the Pentagon, the paper reports. Continue reading

Partizan analyzes Arab uprising and Syrian opposition, imperialism, and Turkey

[As part of our ongoing coverage of people’s struggles against reactionary and oppressive regimes in the middle east, we are posting this new statement from Partizan, a revolutionary periodical from Turkey, which analyzes the current struggles in the middle east, focused on Syria, Turkey, borders, and Kurdish areas. — Frontlines ed.]

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AGAINST IMPERIALISM, FASCISM, COMPRADOR CAPITALISM AND ALL KINDS OF REACTIONARIES

PARTIZAN

The Arab uprisings and the opposition against Assad in Syria -­- The correct position in the light of a class analysis!

In North Africa and the Middle East a period, also expressed as the “Arab spring”, arised and still continues. In many occasions we have expressed our approach about the situation in these areas and towards the people’s movement. Current Syria based agenda is advancing fast with an inclusion of and shaping in direct relation with our country.

Hence, from the ruling classe front to the front of the revolutionaries, democrats and patriots all express their views, formulations and evaluations on this issue. Also the Marxist‐-­Leninist-­‐Maoists have shared their views with the public about Syria in the context of the Assa d government, the oppositional movement and the triangle of the imperialist occupation together with its subcontractors. Nevertheless, as Maoists from our country we feel the need that we must once more state our comments on this issue in a period in which many facts become interlocked with each other.

…There cannot be any just reason for such an intervention, and reasons given from imperialism are definitely not convincing nor can they be accepted…

After expressing this aim, we can start with some general definitions on the specifics of the topic: to have a country that faces an attack from the outside and which has been designed by the imperialist states, needs without a doubt, an open and clear opposition from all revolutionaries, democrats and patriots. Besides this, there cannot be any just reasons for such a intervention, reasons given from imperialism are definitely not convincing nor can they be accepted. We would like to begin with stressing that this is unquestionable. Furthermore, in a situation of an imperialist occupation, in standing firm in concern of the characteristic of the aspiration and the struggle for independence, in a national front policy’ it becomes a fundamental task to form an alliance of anti-­‐occupation forces. The position behind this is the fundamental principal that all people and every nation have a right to determine their own future.

Together with this, the main point of the discussion of many problems we are facing is that such a situation isn’t there. We can say that the interventions of imperialism, their effort to cover the reality of what really happens, makes it complicated for us to understand the essence of what happens. “Anti-­‐imperialism” could be a strut to underestimate the revolts of the people against the tyrannical powers. Thus it is beneficial to look at the current developments in Syria from that perspective. Continue reading

Pakistan: US women internationalists join tribal protest against US drone war

US women may stage hunger strike in Pakistan in anti-drones protest

Code Pink activists gathered in Islamabad ready to join march led by Imran Khan into tribal region bordering Afghanistan

, guardian.co.uk, in Islamabad,Wednesday 3 October 2012

Medea Benjamin of Code Pink protests in August outside a building in Florida where the group says drones are built. Photograph: Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesNot content with a planned march into one of Pakistan‘s most dangerous regions, a group of middle-aged American women are considering mounting a hunger strike outside the US embassy in Islamabad as part a campaign against CIA drone attacks in the country.

Thirty-five activists from Code Pink, a US anti-war group, have gathered in the Pakistani capital this week as they prepare for an unprecedented march and political rally in South Waziristan, one of the semi-autonomous tribal areas on the Afghan border, which is a hotbed of Taliban militancy.

Despite intense publicity surrounding the event, doubts persist over whether it will be able to take place. Local authorities have expressed strong doubts about the safety of the march, even though the Pakistani military has long claimed its operations in the area have brought a semblance of security.

Medea Benjamin of Code Pink protests in August
outside a building in Florida where the group says
drones are built. Photograph: Joe Raedle/Getty Images Continue reading

Syria: A darkening horizon

29 May 2012. A World to Win News Service. The photos of dozens of dead little children – their bodies lying side by side in a row, each upturned face tearing at the heart of anyone who has ever loved a child and bringing to mind other children all over the world – convey only a part of the horrifying situation that the Syrian people face.

It may be that the Bashar al-Assad regime and/or its allies carried out the massacre in Houla, not as an act of madness or simple revenge but a calculated attempt to divert the anti-regime revolt into an inter-religious civil war. At the same time, the UN Security Council resolution condemning this crime is an obscene act of hypocrisy and worse. The US and Russia are trying to use this tragedy as an occasion to step up their contention and negotiations over who will dominate Syria. The interests of the Syrian people and the just demands of the movement against the regime, and the lives of the people, including children, count as nothing in this reactionary manoeuvring.

 

The Security Council resolution reflected not a concern with human life but the contest between the US and its allies on one hand and Russia on the other as to how foreign domination of Syria is to be divided up in the near future. Bizarrely, the resolution mentions Syrian government tank and artillery fire, and not the apparent close-quarter executions of many of the victims. This has allowed the Syrian government room to claim that the killings were carried out by “terrorists”, presumably meaning Islamic fundamentalists, an explanation for which no evidence has been presented. Western diplomats assert that the resolution’s wording was designed to gain Russian acceptance for what turned out to be a unanimous Security Council vote. But this unanimity had criminal purposes on both sides.

 

The UN pretends to be working for a peaceful solution to the crisis through a ceasefire, a kind of freeze-in-place. This is the least likely alternative, one that none of the imperialist powers involved really believe possible, and one that the US and its allies are working to make impossible. The US is determined that Syria, often described as a Russian “client regime”, will become an American client regime at any cost.

The US and Russia seem to be in agreement in seeking to preserve the essential structure of the Assad regime, especially the military and security forces, without Assad. How this could happen is currently being negotiated between the US and Russia. The US has a powerful argument: either Russia can accept some continuing influence in an American-dominated Syria, or it risks having no influence at all.

This situation was laid bare in an article in The New York Times (26 May 2012) that was in its own way as shocking and cynical as the Houla massacre, in terms of the future of the Syrian people. At the recent G-8 summit in Camp David, Maryland, Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev told US President Barack Obama that Russia was not willing to see the UN Security Council authorize a regime change in Syria on the Libya model, where an American-led military intervention under the guise of protecting civilians allowed the US to topple a regime it deemed problematic. Russia apparently has come to consider Assad a “liability”, meaning that it no longer believes he can remain in power, but Moscow is not willing to be entirely forced out of a country where its interests predominate militarily (Russia has a small naval station, its only outpost in the Mediterranean), economically (Russia has extensive investments in Syrian gas and oil, and Syria is a leading buyer of Russian arms) and politically, although the US has also had relations and influence. Continue reading

Memorial Day: While the system glorifies imperialist war, the people remember the victims of their war crimes — Iraq


COLLATERAL MURDER — 14:58
Update: On July 6, 2010, Private Bradley Manning, a 22 year old intelligence analyst with the United
States Army in Baghdad, was charged with disclosing this video (after allegedly speaking to an
unfaithful journalist). The whistleblower behind the Pentagon Papers, Daniel Ellsberg, has called Mr.
Manning a ‘hero’. He is currently imprisoned, facing military court trial. The Apache crew and those behind the cover
up depicted in the video have yet to be charged. To assist Private Manning, please see
bradleymanning.org.

5th April 2010 10:44 EST–Statement from Wikileaks

WikiLeaks has released a classified US military video depicting the indiscriminate slaying of over a dozen people in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad — including two
Reuters news staff.

Reuters has been trying to obtain the video through the Freedom of Information Act, without success
since the time of the attack. The video, shot from an Apache helicopter gun-sight, clearly shows the
unprovoked slaying of a wounded Reuters employee and his rescuers. Two young children involved
in the rescue were also seriously wounded. Continue reading

Iraq and Afghanistan War Veterans Protest, Throw Their Medals at NATO Summit!

May 20, 2012 CHICAGO (Reuters) – Nearly 50 U.S. military veterans at an anti-NATO rally in Chicago threw their service medals into the street on Sunday, an action they said symbolized their rejection of the U.S.-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Malaysia: Bush Convicted of War Crimes in Absentia

 

George W Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld — leaders of the group of now-convicted war criminals. Barack Obama, Bush’s successor as President of the US Empire, with a growing list of war crimes of his own, prevented the investigation and prosecution of his predecessor criminals in the US. But Malaysia has forced the issue internationally.

by Yvonne Ridley

Kuala Lumpur,
May 12, 2012

­ It’s official; George W Bush is a war criminal.

In what is the first ever conviction of its kind anywhere in the world, the former US President and seven key members of his administration were yesterday (Friday) found guilty of war crimes.

Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and their legal advisers Alberto Gonzales, David Addington, William Haynes, Jay Bybee and John Yoo were tried in absentia in Malaysia.

The trial held in Kuala Lumpur heard harrowing witness accounts from victims of torture who suffered at the hands of US soldiers and contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan.

They included testimony from British man Moazzam Begg, an ex-Guantanamo detainee and Iraqi woman Jameelah Abbas Hameedi who was tortured in the notorious Abu Ghraib prison.

At the end of the week-long hearing, the five-panel tribunal unanimously delivered guilty verdicts against Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and their key legal advisors who were all convicted as war criminals for torture and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment.

Full transcripts of the charges, witness statements and other relevant material will now be sent to the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, as well as the United Nations and the Security Council. Continue reading

Standing Army – A Journey Into The World of Us Military Bases

[For 100 years, revolutionaries have identified imperialism  as the highest stage of capitalism — marked by the domination, and export, of finance capital, thereby dominating and controlling economic, political, military, and cultural affairs on a global scale.  Earlier forms were characterized by an overt colonialism, whereby entire countries were owned and operated as properties or subsidiaries of imperialist powers.  After the second global inter-imperialist war (World War II), imperialism developed an even more extensive, and somewhat camoflaged structure of controls, with the establishment of the monetary system, the World Bank, IMF, WTO, G8, the ICC, and the extensive NGO-ization of “civil society.”   The US military, alliances and bases were extensively developed to enforce the corporate imperialist systems of investment, plunder, exploitation, and capital accumulation.  Imperialism is not the military — the military is in service to imperialism.  In US politics, this is referred to as “civilian” (ie., corporate-imperialist) control of the military.  Those within the system who get this twisted find themselves out of a job, in due time.  Those outside the system who are in opposition to imperialism, and who get it twisted, find themselves chasing the smoke, but not the fire. — Frontlines ed.]

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Steeper33 on Aug 7, 2010

The US has encircled the world with a web of military bases that today amount to more than 700, in 40 countries. It’s one of the most powerful forces at play in the world, yet one of the less talked-about.
Why do countries like Germany, Italy, Japan still host hundreds of US military bases and thousands US soldiers?
What stance has president Obama taken on this subject?

This documentary answers these and other questions both through the words of experts Noam Chomsky, Gore Vidal, Chalmers Johnson and through those directly affected by US bases in Italy, Japan and the Indian Ocean.
EFFENDEM FILM, TAKAE FILMS presents: Standing Army
http://www.standingarmy.it/
http://www.effendemfilm.com/

Why Was No One Punished for America’s “My Lai” in Iraq?

[Imperialist wars and occupations always operate with absolute impunity for the war crimes committed against civilian victims.  Imperialist wars attempt to win allies and supporters by concealing their imperialist interests behind banners of “democracy” or “human rights” or “freedom” for the targets of their aggression.  For this reason, when war crimes are brought to light through determined exposures, there are some who campaign that the occupiers be held to standards of “human rights.”  But imperialist war criminals are never brought to justice, despite heroic and determined efforts and sacrifices of such campaigners and activists.  But, in time, the people will take matters into their own hands and find the ways to  bring justice to the war criminals of imperialist wars and occupations.   — Frontlines ed.]
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The U.S. military presence in Iraq was marked by the callous American attitude toward civilians, and the thorough lack of accountability in the military justice system.
February 12, 2012

The plea bargain in the last Haditha massacre case handed down in January is a fitting end to the Iraq war. In the most notorious case of U.S. culpability in Iraqi civilian deaths, no one will pay a price. And that is emblematic of the entire war and its hundreds of thousands of dead and millions displaced.Sergeant Frank Wuterich, the squad leader who encouraged and led his marines to kill 24 civilians in the Iraqi town of Haditha in November 2005, was the last of eight originally charged in the massacre. The others were let off on technicalities, or to help the prosecution. One officer, not involved in the killing but the coverup, was acquitted in a military trial.

The responsibility for these killings came down to Wuterich’s role, but he never actually went through a full trial. The military prosecutor opted for the slap-on-the-wrist of demotion to private for the 24 civilian deaths. Wuterich, who admitted to much more in a “60 Minutes” interview in 2007—including rolling grenades into a house filled with civilians without attempting to make an identification—copped only to “dereliction of duty.”

The episode was often compared with the My Lai massacre in Vietnam, in which some 400 civilians were executed by Lieutenant William Calley and some of his army unit in 1967. While the scale and circumstances are quite different, they do bear one striking similarity, and that is the reaction of officials and the American public alike. Continue reading

Afghanistan: The path from home

Out of Afghanistan: incredible stories of the boys who walked to Europe

The country is so dangerous it’s no wonder so many leave, travelling alone across the Middle East in search of a new life
by Caroline Brothers, The Observer, Sunday 29 January 2012
Behind the security bars of a spartan, white-tiled room, 25 youths are arranging bedrolls on the floor. The workers on the Salvation Army nightshift, who watch over these lone foreign teenagers in a shelter in a gritty corner of Paris, are distributing sheets and sleeping bags; there are a couple of boys from Mali and a contingent of Bangladeshis; the rest have travelled overland, by every conceivable method, from Afghanistan.

The road to peace: 13-year-old Morteza spent five months travelling from Kabul to Paris. His journey took him through Iran, Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia and Italy Photograph: Ed Alcock/MYOP

The youngest are 13 years old, pint-sized cousins from Kabul who arrived that morning after a journey of five months. They take off their trainers and place them at the end of their bedrolls. One of them, Morteza, gingerly peels off his socks. The undersides of his toes are completely white.

I ask what happened to his feet. “Water,” he says. Where was he walking in water? Mohammed, the boy on the next bedroll who knows more English, translates. “In the mountains,” he says. Which mountains, I ask, thinking about the range that forms the border between Turkey and Iran. “Croatia, Slovenia, Italy,” Morteza says. Mohammed intervenes. “Not water,” he clarifies. “Snow.”
Suddenly I understand. Morteza’s feet are not waterlogged or blistered. He has limped across Europe with frostbite.
The next day I run into them watching the older Afghans play football in a park. Morteza’s 13-year-old cousin Sohrab, pale and serious beyond his years, recounts, in English learned during two years of school in Afghanistan, what happened. “Slovenia big problem,” he says, explaining how he and Morteza, “my uncle’s boy”, were travelling with eight adults when they were intercepted by the Slovenian police. Two members of their group were caught and the rest made a detour into the mountains. They spent five days in the snow, navigating by handheld GPS, emerging from the Alps in Trento, in the Italian north.
Morteza acquired frostbite on the penultimate part of a 6,000km journey that detoured through the Balkans: through Macedonia, Serbia and Croatia. Their aim is to join their uncle who lives in Europe, the solution their relatives found after Morteza’s father was killed in an explosion. His mother died earlier “in the war”; Sohrab lost his own father when he was 11.

Waiting in hope: boys from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh and sub-Saharan Africa line up in the hope of being offered a bed for the night Photograph: Ed Alcock/MYOP

Morteza and Sohrab are among the world’s most vulnerable migrants. Like scores of Afghan teenagers in transit across Europe, they are in flight from violence or the aftershocks of violence that affect children in particularly harsh ways. Those who turn up in Paris have spent up to a year on the road, on the same clandestine routes as adults, but at far greater risk.

No one knows how many unaccompanied Afghan children have made it to Europe. Paris took in just over 300 in 2011 – the biggest nationality among the 1,700 lone foreign minors in its care. Sarah Di Giglio, a child-protection expert with Save the Children in Italy, says that last year the number of Afghan boys – there are almost never girls – passing through a day centre in Rome had doubled from the year before, to 635.
Asylum statistics are another measure, though they give only a rough indication since many children never make a claim. Still, at 4,883, Afghans were the biggest group of separated foreign children requesting asylum in 2010, the majority in Europe.
While some are sent out of Afghanistan for their own safety, others make their own decision to leave. Some are running from brutality, or the politics of their fathers, or recruitment by the Taliban. Others have been pushed onwards by the increasing precariousness of life in Pakistan and Iran, countries that host three million Afghan refugees. Continue reading

Danger of War Grows..U.S.-Israeli Assault on Iran Escalates

3 January 2012--the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) has ordered US warships out of the Strait of Hormuz, where nearly one-fourth of the global petroleum shipments pass every day. The US is maneuvering to cutoff Iranian exports while ensuring ongoing oil exports of neighboring countries. The EU says it will join the call for US sanctions on Iran, by the end of the month

by Larry Everest, Revolution

The danger of a U.S.-Israeli war on Iran is escalating rapidly. The U.S. and its allies are ramping up their all-around assault on Iran, including new crippling sanctions, and openly threatening to attack. Ground is being laid daily in the headlines and statements by politicians of every stripe in mainstream U.S. politics calling for aggression against Iran—all justified by unsubstantiated assertions that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons.

Whether or not Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons technology (and there is no proof they are), this U.S. imperialist narrative and framework is an outrageous effort to turn reality upside down—the reality of which of the clashing oppressive forces in the region is the dominant threatening oppressor and bully.

Iran is a non-nuclear, Third World country. The U.S. is the world’s most powerful nuclear weapons state—with over 4,000 warheads.  It’s the only country to ever use nuclear weapons, killing 150,000-240,000 people in the 1945 bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan (with many more dying of the effects of radiation for years after). It’s the main backer of the one country in the Middle East that actually does have nuclear weapons—Israel.

Now the U.S. and its allies have launched a massive, all-around campaign of aggression against Iran in the name of stopping the spread of nuclear weapons. These weapons are horrible, and they should be banished from the earth. If the U.S. rulers were really against these tools of mass murder they’d insist everyone get rid of them—but they’re not. They and their media mouthpieces aren’t saying word one about getting rid of their nukes, or Israel’s nukes, or Britain or France’s nukes.

Instead, the U.S. and its allies are threatening war over the possibility that Iran could get a bomb, a war that would be terrible for the people of the world. In a 2006 statement, Kurt Gottfried, Chairman of the Union of Concerned Scientists, and emeritus professor of physics at Cornell University, said: “The [Bush] administration is reportedly considering using the B51-11 nuclear ‘bunker buster’ against an underground facility near Natanz, Iran. The use of such a weapon would create massive clouds of radioactive fallout that could spread far from the site of the attack, including to other nations. Even if used in remote, lightly populated areas, the number of casualties could range up to more than a hundred thousand, depending on the weapon yield and weather conditions.” And any attack by the U.S. and Israel on Iran would be military aggression to preserve their military dominance—including their nuclear monopoly—in the Middle East. There is absolutely no justice in anything the U.S. is doing in pursuit of this criminal goal.

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The last half of December saw a sharp spike in the U.S.-led assault on Iran’s Islamic Republic. On December 31, President Obama signed a defense authorization bill that included by far the harshest sanctions the U.S. and its allies have yet imposed on Iran. These new sanctions target Iran’s oil exports (which account for well over half of government revenues) for the first time, as well as its financial sector. (One provision calls for punishing foreign firms and banks which purchase Iranian oil, including through its central bank.) Continue reading

Iraq: US declared victory and got out of town before criminal indictments for war crimes were served

Exposing Government Crimes and Lies

Bradley Manning: Hero or Traitor?

by MARJORIE COHN, Counterpunch.org, December 26, 2011

When he announced that the last U.S. troops would leave Iraq by year’s end, President Barack Obama declared the nine-year war a “success” and “an extraordinary achievement.” He failed to mention why he opposed the Iraq war from the beginning. He didn’t say that it was built on lies about mushroom clouds and non-existent ties between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda. Obama didn’t cite the Bush administration’s “Plan for Post-Saddam Iraq,” drawn up months before 9/11, about which Former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill reported that actual plans “were already being discussed to take over Iraq and occupy it – complete with disposition of oil fields, peacekeeping forces, and war crimes tribunals – carrying forward an unspoken doctrine of preemptive war.”

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta also defended the war in Iraq, making the preposterous claim that, “As difficult as [the Iraq war] was,” including the loss of American and Iraqi lives, “I think the price has been worth it, to establish a stable government in a very important region of the world.”

The price that Panetta claims is worth it includes the deaths of nearly 4,500 Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. It includes untold numbers wounded – with Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – and suicides, as well as nearly $1 trillion that could have prevented the economic disaster at home.

The price of the Iraq war also includes thousands of men who have been subjected to torture and abuse in places like Abu Ghraib prison. It includes the 2005 Haditha Massacre, in which U.S. Marines killed 24 unarmed civilians execution-style. It includes the Fallujah Massacre, in which U.S. forces killed 736 people, at least 60% of them women and children. It includes other war crimes committed by American troops in Qaim, Taal Al Jal, Mukaradeeb, Mahmudiya, Hamdaniyah, Samarra, Salahuddin, and Ishaqi.

The price of that war includes two men killed by the Army’s Lethal Warriors in Al Doura, Iraq, with no evidence that they were insurgents or posed a threat. One man’s brains were removed from his head and another man’s face was skinned after he was killed by Lethal Warriors. U.S. Army Ranger John Needham, who was awarded two purple hearts and three medals for heroism, wrote to military authorities in 2007 reporting war crimes that he witnessed being committed by his own command and fellow Lethal Warriors in Al Doura. His charges were supported by atrocity photos which have been released by Pulse TV and Maverick Media in the new video by Cindy Piester, “On the Dark Side in Al Doura – A Soldier in the Shadows.” 

.  CBS reported obtaining an Army document from the Criminal Investigation Command suggestive of an investigation into these war crimes allegations. The Army’s conclusion was that the “offense of War Crimes did not occur.”

One of the things Manning is alleged to have leaked is the “Collateral Murder” video which depicts U.S. forces in an Apache helicopter killing 12 unarmed civilians, including two Reuters journalists, and wounding two children. People trying to rescue the wounded were also fired upon and killed. A U.S. tank drove over one body, cutting the man in half.

The actions of American soldiers shown in that video amount to war crimes under the Geneva Conventions, which prohibit targeting civilians, preventing the rescue of the wounded, and defacing dead bodies. Continue reading

Time to Destroy the Monsters of War

[Imperialism has brought endless war to every corner of the globe.  Not a day has passed without bombs that blot out the sun and bring rivers of blood, misery, devastation, and death to thousands and millions, in the name of whose “salvation” the wars have scarred and mangled all who stand in the way of capital’s rapacious and malevolent path.  We yearn for the day when such powers will no longer control humanity.  On this Veteran’s Day, when imperialism asks all to salute those who have been pressed to carry the weapons of its wars, we honor the resistance to imperialist war, and those who have pledged and given their lives in the struggles to end the scourge of imperialism. — Frontlines ed.]

Masters of War, by Bob Dylan

Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build the big bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks Continue reading

The Guardian (UK): “The US departure from Iraq is an illusion”

[The US insists that wherever its troops go, they must operate with impunity–immunity from prosecution or any accountability.  In time, this makes the going difficult for the local “native” politicians and administrators of war zones and military occupations, whose precarious illegitimate authority requires invoking national sovereignty and NOT total submission to foreign invaders.  So, despite the Obama administration pressing the imperial demand for immunity for US soldiers, the Iraqi government could not publicly submit.  Obama attempted to turn this defeat for imperial dictates into an announcement that he is pulling all US troops out of Iraq by the end of this year, thereby fulfilling his “anti-war” pledge of the 2008 campaign.  Which could, superficially, look like a win-win for warmakers and peacemakers–except for the fact that it’s not true, as this article from the British “The Guardian” explains. — Frontlines ed.]

39,000 soldiers will leave Iraq this year, but US military control will continue in such guises as security and training

, guardian.co.uk,

Tuesday 25 October 2011

Barack Obama has announced that US troops will be withdrawn from Iraq by the end of this year. Photograph: Khalid Mohammed/AP

Barack Obama has made good on one of his election promises, announcing: “After nearly nine years, America’s war in Iraq will be over.” The Iraqis’ assertion of their sovereignty – meaning no legal immunity for US troops – was the deal-breaker, and 39,000 US soldiers will leave Iraq by the end of the year.

Jonathan Steele wrote that the Iraq war was over and the US had learned “that putting western boots on the ground in a foreign war, particularly in a Muslim country, is madness”. Yet this madness may continue in a different guise, as there is a huge gap between rhetoric and reality surrounding the US departure from Iraq. In fact, there are a number of avenues by which the US will be able to exert military influence in the country.

These can be divided into four main categories:

Embassy, consulates and private security contractors

The US embassy – the largest and most expensive in the world – is in a green zone of its own in Baghdad, supplied by armed convoys and generating its own water and electricity, and treating its own sewage. At 104 acres, the embassy is almost the same size as Vatican City. It is here that the US is transforming its military-led approach into one of muscular diplomacy.

State department figures show that some 17,000 personnel will be under the jurisdiction of the US ambassador. In addition, there are also consulates in Basra, Mosul and Kirkuk, which have been allocated more than 1,000 staff each. Crucially, all these US staff, including military and security contractors, will have diplomatic immunity. Essentially, the Obama administration is reaping the political capital of withdrawing US troops while hedging the impact of the withdrawal with an increase in private security contractors working for a diplomatic mission unlike any other on the planet. Continue reading