“What have you done to me?”

I've just finished reading an intense article by Andre Vltchek about the impact of Obama's 'Good War' on the people of Afghanistan that has profoundly affected me.

I have no words....


Afghanistan: Notes From a Broken Land

As I photograph, a small cluster of people begin to rock the car. Things are getting tense, but I don’t feel that we are facing any immediate danger. I continue working. This is all becoming very personal. I don’t understand why, but it is…

Then, silently, a small group of people approaches us. Among them are a man with a very long beard, and a girl, with a beautiful and tragic face. She is wearing a t-shirt depicting several cute white mice, but the right sleeve is empty. She is missing her entire arm.

Her face is striking. She stares directly into my camera, and when I lower the lens, I feel her eyes begin to pierce mine. Without one single word uttered, I sense clearly what she is trying to convey:

“What have you done to me?”

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Comments

Lily O Lady's picture

Iraq War. The purpose was supposed to be to go in and get Bin Laden and leave. Then Dubya declared that he didn't care about Bin Laden anymore. Thus began our eternal wars.

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"The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

@Lily O Lady @Lily O Lady

on how Iraq was the wrong war. "We took our eye off the ball in Afghanistan..." What ball?

Yadda yadda. Obama got elected and surged.

Remind me how bombing farmers and tribesmen in Afghanistan hurt Ben Laden.

And for comic relief (not really--there is no relief). we had Dimson dropping peanut butter down on Afghanistan by day. Gee, my brother, his wife, his kids and his home and our mother got blown up last night, but this yummy peanut butter sure makes up for it! I'm a fan now. USA! USA!

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Lily O Lady's picture

@HenryWallace

go to war in the Middle East. The focus quickly switched from him to whatever they decided to blow up next. The real goal was Iraq where they keep "our" oil. Remember how all that oil was going to pay for the war? That was how Dubya justified his ten year tax cut which became permanent under Obama.

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10 users have voted.

"The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

snoopydawg's picture

@Lily O Lady
Project for New American Century was written by William Kristal in 1997 and it was a call for a new world order.
They wanted Clinton to remove Saddam and told him that they couldn't do it the usual way and that it would take the whole military to remove him.
PNAC was founded under the Chairmanship of William Kristol, former Chief of Staff to Vice President Dan Quale during the Presidency of George Bush Snr. Kristol’s father, Irving Kristol has been described as the “Godfather of Neoconservatism.”
And remember that Rumsfeld said that they would need a new Pearl Harbor before they could implement it. 9/11 gave them it. Convenient, wasn't it?
This is a good article about PNAC and their goals.
http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-neocons-project-for-the-new-american-ce...
Also remember that Wesley Clark said that the USA was going to invade 7 countries in five years.

The number of people who have been killed because of these people is staggering and I bet those involved in the decisions don't lose a minute of sleep over the carnage that they have wrought.

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14 users have voted.

Maybe this Planet is another World's Hell
Hell is empty and all the devils are here

@Lily O Lady @Lily O Lady

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-14190032

Had he been killed at Tora Bora,the war in Iraq would have been much harder to sell.
So yes, Bush allowed the 9/11 attacks and then permitted OBL to escape. (imo)
All so we could attack Iraq.

And now he is an "honorable man",because Trump and Russia.

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@Lily O Lady
the entire post-911 operational strategy of the PNAC. Planned well beforehand, this global strategy was then, and still is the guiding principle of US foreign policy -- albeit now much amended and continually reformulated on an ad-hoc, contingency basis. This "plan" or weltschauung, formulated by Kristol and the neocons, has proven itself to be utterly erroneous, demonstrably failed, and much worse than useless. But America's political leaders are sticking with it anyway -- I have no idea why, and I'm not sure they do either.

Bin Laden himself was little more than a set-piece, a kind of theatrical prop for the great drama that was meant to unfold according to the neocon script... but never actually did. First, they invaded Afghanistan to "get Bin Laden", and set the stage as it were. But somehow they couldn't manage to find him. Perhaps they never really intended to. Whatever the case, the USA decided to set up housekeeping there anyway, and reform the place. Since we had gone to all the trouble of invading Afghanistan, why not stay and make it into a US satrapy? Typical neocon thinking, that.

Meanwhile, longstanding neocon plans to "liberate" Iraq were well afoot, evidence was being cooked on the back burner, Cheney was salivating, Haliburton was salivating, the NYT was dutifully stirring up hysteria, and the pundits were all waxing patriotic... until finally, after long months of suspense... SHOCK AND AWE! Wow. Whoop de do. Flowers, accolades, and gratitude were ours for the taking. Had we not caught Saddam in his "hidey-hole" and properly humiliated and executed him? Were we not truly a great and exceptional nation?

Americans were so impressed by the overwhelming might of the US military's feats of astounding power, and the bravery, self-sacrifice and virtue of its troops, that they pretty much forgot all about the reasons for invading Iraq in the first place. What with embedded reporters and various news blackouts, selective reporting, etc, it took a couple of years for the US public to figure out what the hell was really going on in Iraq. When the public finally did, at least some of us did, somewhat, it was already far too late for anyone to do anything much about it. The entire operation was FUBAR, a total fiasco from start to finish, costing millions of lives and trillions of dollars. And still, nobody was paying any attention to the ongoing catastrophe of Afghanistan.

Exit Dubya stage right, enter Obama stage left. Obama the great fixer-upper. Obama the peace candidate. He who determined that since Iraq was already FUBAR (not his fault!) it would be a good idea to surreptitiously overthrow the governments of Libya, Syria, and Ukraine instead, while pretending not to do that. Obama's finely balanced and often self-contradictory policies were hardly the PNAC's strategy or style, but they remained close enough to make the neocons more or less quiescent -- like a pack of snarling rottweilers straining at a single leash.

How Trump will deal with his nominally subservient neocons remains to be seen. He may in fact agree with them, or he may not. Trump's ideological motivations have always been notoriously hard to read, aside from the obvious fact that he has always been greedy and self-serving. However, there's no doubt that many if not most neocons are passionately and openly opposed to to Trump, whatever their reasons for this antipathy might be. They were clearly not so opposed to Hillary -- in fact going so far as to abandon their own Party's candidate in support of her.

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native

@native
as it was deliberate confusion that masked the horrific profiteering and theft that took place.

The plan was obviously multi-pronged because 911 enabled to touting "SECURITY" concerns as the rationale for stripping the people of their rights, their privacy and their money.

The Patriot Act is still in effect. Habeus Corpus has not been restored. No one is protecting the rights of privacy. Big Brother is here, and 911 let him in.

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@Lily O Lady

is not the way to nab a criminal you suspect may be in the region. Nor did nab Osama. After yea many years, many lives and limbs lost and much destruction and displacement in two countries, we found him in a third country by using a ruse. We got Saddam by offering a reward. Same kind of tactics used to nab criminals from time immemorial. Tell me how bombing farms or cities (or droning weddings and funerals) turns up a criminal.

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Bisbonian's picture

@Lily O Lady We set up "no fly zones" (which I helped enforce). We imposed economic sanctions. And periodically we dropped some bombs. This continued until the invasion in 2003. The war never stopped.

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"I see a time of seven generations, when all the colors of mankind will gather under the sacred tree of life and the whole earth will become one circle again." Crazy Horse.

Azazello's picture

@Bisbonian
there's a good deal of mission creep. You wouldn't think that enforcing a no-fly zone would involve bombing missions against infrastructure but that's what happens.

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3 users have voted.

It's far too depressing, and I know what we have done, just not the details.

If we as a nation realize who we are and what we have done it will change our self-perception forever. We need to be in a state of regret for our actions, similar to Germany after the Second World War. If we don't come to that realization and keep on with our arrogant belief that we are the exceptional nation and that our military is a political instrument then the world will have to refuse to tolerate our behaviors. Japan has not come to an understanding of the gravity of their actions in WWII and as a result they are deeply hated by most Asian Pacific countries. We are in the process of putting Marines on the ground in Syria, just outside of Raqqa. There is no legal basis for this, either a UNSC resolution or an invitation from the Syrian government. In fact, just the opposite, we have been told to stay out. This will have no effect on the decisions in Washington. This action was started in October by Obama and continued by Trump today.

The result of our actions in Afghanistan and the ME and Northern Africa is to entirely lose what was left of our moral stature. We are a nation of power, military and economic. The "West" is a very small part of the world, and is getting smaller. The neocons were entirely wrong. For the US to play an important part in the world in the 21st century we have to become a moral nation. That means respecting international law, ceasing to build power blocks of groups of nations, and respecting the right of all nations to work out their problems without interference. And never use military power unless there is a clear and imminent danger to the physical nation of the United States of America or a very clear moral imperative as decided by the UNSC, not us. The US does not now and never has had the wisdom to run the world.

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14 users have voted.

Capitalism has always been the rule of the people by the oligarchs. You only have two choices, eliminate them or restrict their power.

@The Wizard

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@The Wizard
However, I think an exception must be made in the case of Daesh and al-Qaida. These organizations are not Nation-States, nor do they abide by any of the rules and conventions that apply to Nation-States. They don't even recognize the nearly universal moral guidelines such as the golden rule. Instead, they have formed a supra-national, quasi-religious cult whose avowed purpose is to destroy all Nation-States, and to eliminate all faiths and doctrines that do not bend to its will. This "entity" intends, using any and all means, and minus any sense of ethics or morality other than its own extremely limited theology, to subjugate all other beliefs and persons and social contracts to its own draconian dictates.

Al Qaida and ISIS are not in fact political entities, but rather branches of a highly toxic religious cult -- one that has been supported, financed, and encouraged by political factions from within the governments of Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, and the USA. These terrorist organizations are not fundamentally religious, they are fundamentally political.

Nonetheless they have grown to monstrous proportions, nourished in the fertile soil of the chaos left in the wake of various "Western" interventions. ISIS and al-Qaida, or "Daesh" in general, all represent a toxic and highly contagious perversion of Islam that if left unchecked, can and will undermine the social fabric of Europe's tolerant, humanistic, and multicultural aspirations.

Jihadism particularly, and Wahhabism generally should be universally condemned and specifically opposed by all governments and nations, as being antithetical to civilization itself -- Western and Islamic civilization alike. Any and every mosque that even tolerates, let alone encourages these perverted and politicized "religious" teachings should IMO be outlawed, and imams who promulgate them should be prosecuted.

US military involvement in MENA has been such an unmitigated disaster that all future engagements would best be kept to an absolute minimum. If Russia, Iran and Hezzzbolah can help Assad to restore a modicum of functioning, secular government to Syria, then why for god's sake must we be trying to prevent them from doing so?

In Iraq, I see no fault in US Special Forces playing a limited role in liberating Mosul from ISIS control. This is a necessary and worthy objective, because allowing ISIS to control any territory is tantamount to condoning its hideous perversion of all that's holy in Islam, and ignoring the plight of populations that suffer under its dominion.

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native

Big Al's picture

There's plenty of blame to go around, particularly our rulers that attacked, invaded and have occupied and destroyed Afghanistan, but this war is one the left should have tried to stop, those on the left, the democrats, progressives, liberals, all those who say they're against war and imperialism, they share a big part of the blame on this one imo.
Sixteen years.
I feel like a failure. I've been demanding an end to this war for over ten years. I wrote an essay on here recently, "End the Afghanistan War!" The lack of attention from activists since prior to Occupy is stunning.

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@Big Al

Neither is calling your Congressional representatives or the White House. Neither will demonstrating. These days, I am not sure anything will.

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Lily O Lady's picture

@HenryWallace

ignored them. So did Congress. Instead they added Freedom Fries to the menu in the congressional dining rooms.

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8 users have voted.

"The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

@Lily O Lady

If they have wound down since Dimson left office, it's probably a combination of the "red team, blue team" mentality and just being discouraged that protests don't accommplish anything.

While Obamacare was under consideration, there were protests aplenty. Also, I emailed or phoned, at least once a week, my Senators, my Representative and the White House. And millions of others contacted their elected representatives. I will never waste that much time and effort on a fool's errand again.

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Big Al's picture

@HenryWallace We need many millions, not tens of thousands. Someone has to find a way to organize enough people to where it would make a difference. I just read a People's Action effort to write politicians to demand they don't pass Trumpcare or whatever it's going to be called. They've got about 25K who have written. A good effort but no where near enough. If we could get 100K letters to each politician, maybe that would. Whatever we do, it's going to have to be big and that's a problem relative to getting it organized and maintained.

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snoopydawg's picture

@Big Al @Big Al
the government's propaganda Kool aid and believe that the troops are fighting for our freedoms and to defend our country and the people in other countries.
I don't understand how they can believe that bombing other people's countries is helping to protect them from their government.
The night of Shock and Awe, I was stunned by how the people in the media were talking about the bombings and not giving a thought about the people who were experiencing them. The callousness of the way they were describing it made me sick and disgusted.
The next day at work people who watched were saying how great it was. Many of my coworkers had family members in the military and the way they talked about the people in Iraq was beyond disgusting.
I'm not sure how I was able to keep my mouth shut.

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10 users have voted.

Maybe this Planet is another World's Hell
Hell is empty and all the devils are here

CB's picture

@snoopydawg
America is addicted to war. It goes about its business, twittering senselessly while keeping up with the Kardashians, completely oblivious to the death and destruction its government continually rains down upon innocents in nations that most don't even know exist. Of course, should one of our own succumb then the tears flow freely.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/03/10/the-tears-we-dont-spill/

During our current President’s speech to the joint session of paid-for lackeys, idiots and low dollar whores for Wall Street there was a particularly horrible, predictable American moment. A fresh widow created by our intrusion into another country in the mid-East to ferret out, that is, murder, some evil-doers was trotted out for all the nation to see. It was epic television; a hearty round of applause drowning out her deep throated gasps of mourning. She was trying her best to stand tall with the very people who decided her husband must go on another raid for the good of our country. It was a typically cathartic moment.

One that America embraces, with proper amounts of solemnity, to bolster our national pride and the righteous sense of ourselves and our sacrificial military combatants. As the fictitious Colonel Jessup said, “You need brave men on that wall.” You could almost sense those faded yellow ribbons on America’s cars brightening themselves in the moonlight. Poignant, powerful, sad, and serious, it was a spectacle we’ve long become too accustomed to, reenacting on a massive platform. In short, it was a very high and sinister level of war porn. To say this is to violate one of our biggest taboos. And it certainly remains one of the biggest problems with us, the American people.
...
On that night when America watched spellbound as a woman cried for her dead husband, no tears fell for the children who were murdered in Yemen. Don’t think of a fucking dead kid. Don’t think of a murdered child with his face split open by American bullets. And do not ever fucking think about any elephants, especially fucking dead ones.

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snoopydawg's picture

@CB
And that sums up how many people don't know or care about the people this country kills. What is happening in Yemen is something that people said "Never Again" yet thousands of people are dying from starvation because of the Saudi blockade.
Our military is refueling their jets so they can drop the bombs on them that we sold them.
The UN wanted to sanction the Saudis for their war crimes against Yemen but they backed down after the Saudis threatened to withhold funding for it.
I have no idea what the UN's job is because it seems helpless to stop the slaughter in so many countries.
I just hope that Hell is a real place and that the people who are or have been okay with these actions will end up there.
But that is why I am an agnostic. I can't imagine how a superior Being could sit back and watch what people do to other people, especially children who are caught up in the sex trafficking trade or in the war zones.

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10 users have voted.

Maybe this Planet is another World's Hell
Hell is empty and all the devils are here

Lily O Lady's picture

@snoopydawg

Iraq War. He was deeply affected by the horror in those photos.

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"The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

Bisbonian's picture

@Lily O Lady , on the first night, Jan 17th. I suppose that's a part of why I am here.

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"I see a time of seven generations, when all the colors of mankind will gather under the sacred tree of life and the whole earth will become one circle again." Crazy Horse.

@Big Al

fo end wars, it would not take millions of demonstrators taking to the streets to end a war. Polls tell them what public opinion is and somehow people calculate that for every demonstrator on the street or for every email sent, X million others felt the same way, but took no action.

Besides, they know, just as you and I do, that most Americans don't want any war. No war I can think of happened because the grass roots demanded it, even World War II. It was always the plutocrats who wanted the war for some reason and then knocked themselves out propagandizing the rest of us into being okay enough with it that we went along or at least did not take up arms. And, since they got the volunteer army, I'm not even sure how much they feel a need to propagandize us. My sense is that Dimson felt it much more than Obama.Hence Colin Powell's ludicrous UN speech. However, I could be wrong. It could just be the difference in their respective temperaments.

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