http://www.creators.com/opinion/paul-craig-roberts.html?columnsName=pcr

Paul Craig Roberts refers to the U.S. as a “failed state”. The Democratic party has abandoned the people – its true constituency. The ethically surreal, reverse Robin Hoodism going on he labels “trickle-up” economics.

1) Paul Craig Roberts (“Trickle-up Economics”)

In a failed state, the government’s priorities are totally separate from those of the people. The U.S. can’t afford health care or a bailout for jobless homeowners, but it can afford a pointless war and multimillion-dollar bonuses for banksters who wrecked the economy. Millions of laid-off workers lost their health insurance subsidies on Dec. 1, the day President Obama announced a $30 billion "surge" in Afghanistan.

Why does President Obama think the U.S. can afford a war in Afghanistan when the U.S. economy is falling apart? Massive joblessness. Massive homelessness. Millions of Americans without medical care.

[snip]

This is called "trickle-up" economics. You tax the little guy and give the money to the armaments companies.

[snip]

The Democrats have abandoned every constituency. Democrats have discarded the American people. Democrats, in pursuit of campaign contributions, represent the moneyed interests on Wall Street, the munitions companies, the insurance companies, the agribusinesses that have destroyed independent farmers, despoilers of the environment, unaccountable police and the builders of detention centers. The exception is Rep. Dennis Kucinich. The Democrats have become Brownshirt Republicans.

The American people, except for the 1 percent of super-rich, have been abandoned.

***

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article24121.htm

There are a lot of excerpts here by Mike Whitney. I recommend reading his post in its entirety it is so sobering. Whitney believes that vicious warlords are being used as proxies by the U.S. in the name of its opportunistic imperialism to commit ethnic cleansing. He summarizes the goal of the United States in Afghanistan:

The U.S. is just as committed now as it was at the war’s inception to establish a beachhead in Central Asia to oversee the growth of China, to execute disruptive/covert operations against Russia, to control vital pipeline routes from the Caspian Basin, and to maintain a heavy military presence in the most critical geopolitical area in the world today.”

This is the antithesis of strengthening democracy in other countries. It is the craven destruction of and the covert enabling of the destruction of an entire country – of the lives and quality of lives of its millions — for control and profit.

2) Mike Whitney (“The Audacity of Ethnic Cleansing – Obama’s plan for Afghanistan”)

"Today, we Afghans remain trapped between two enemies: the Taliban on one side and US/NATO forces and their warlord hirelings on the other." Malalai Joya "A Woman Among the Warlords" Scribner Publishing, New York

The Bush administration never had any intention of liberating Afghanistan or establishing democracy. The real aim was to remove the politically-intractable Taliban and replace them with a puppet regime run by a former-CIA asset. The rest of Afghanistan would be parceled-off to the warlords who assisted in the invasion and who had agreed to do much of the United States dirty-work on the ground. In the eight years of military occupation which followed, that basic strategy has never changed. The U.S. is just as committed now as it was at the war’s inception to establish a beachhead in Central Asia to oversee the growth of China, to execute disruptive/covert operations against Russia, to control vital pipeline routes from the Caspian Basin, and to maintain a heavy military presence in the most critical geopolitical area in the world today.

[snip]

President Barak Obama’s speech at West Point was merely a reiteration of US original commitment to strengthen the loose confederation of warlords–many of who are either in the Afghan Parliament or hold high political office–to pacify nationalist elements, and to expand the war into Pakistan. Obama is just a cog in a much larger imperial wheel which moves forward with or without his impressive oratory skills. So far, he has been much more successful in concealing the real motives behind military escalation than his predecessor George W. Bush. It’s doubtful that Obama could stop current operations even if he wanted to, and there is no evidence that he wants to.

The Pentagon has settled on a new counterinsurgency doctrine (COIN) which it intends to implement in Afghanistan. The program will integrate psyops, special forces, NGOs, psychologists, media, anthropologists, humanitarian agencies, public relations, reconstruction, and conventional forces to rout the Taliban, assert control over the South and the tribal areas, and to quash any indigenous resistance. Clandestine activity and unmanned drone attacks will increase, while a "civilian surge" will be launched to try to win hearts and minds in the densely populated areas. Militarily, the goal is to pit one ethnicity against the other, to incite civil war, and to split the country in smaller units that can be controlled by warlords working with Washington. Where agricultural specialists, educators, engineers, lawyers, relief agencies and NGOs can be used, they will be. Where results depend on the application of extreme violence; it will also be…unsparingly. This is the plan going forward, a plan designed for conquest, subjugation and resource-stripping. Here is an excerpt from Zoltan Grossman’s article in counterpunch "Afghanistan: The Roach Motel of Empires" which details the balkenization strategy:

"We are arming and financing the same vicious men (the Northern Alliance) who brought fundamentalism to Kabul in the first place….Like the Soviets, the Americans do not understand that the insurgency is driven not only by Islamist fundamentalism, but also by ethnic nationalism. In the case of the Taliban, they are representing the grievances of the Pashtuns who have seen the artificial colonial “Durand Line” divide their homeland between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The best way to defuse the Taliban is to recognize the legitimacy of this historical grievance, and incorporate Pashtun civil society into both governments.

But instead of unifying the different ethnic regions of Afghanistan, the NATO occupation seems headed more toward a de facto partition of these regions. The foreign policy team that President Obama has assembled includes some of the same figures who advocated the ethnic-sectarian partition of Yugoslavia and Iraq. Obama’s Special Envoy to Af-Pak, Richard Holbrooke, authored the agreement that partioned Bosnia into Serb and Muslim-Croat republics in 1995, in effect rubberstamping the ethnic cleansing that had forcibly removed populations during a three-year civil war. He also turned a blind eye when Serb civilians were expelled from Croatia the same year, and from Kosovo in 1999.

President Karzai recently instituted a series of laws on women in Shia communities, causing an outcry from women’s rights groups. Hardly unnoticed was his application of different legal standards to different sectarian territories—a sign of de facto (informal) partition. Various “peace” proposals have advocated ceding control of some Pashtun provinces to the Taliban. Far from bringing peace, such an ethnic-sectarian partition would exacerbate the violent “cleansing” of mixed territories to drive out those civilians who are not of the dominant group—the process that brought the “peace of the graveyard” to Bosnia, Kosovo, and much of Iraq." ( Zoltan Grossman, "Afghanistan: The Roach Motel of Empires" counterpunch)

If Grossman is correct, than Obama’s professed commitment to Afghan liberation merely masks a vicious counterinsurgency strategy that will ethnically cleanse areas in the south while driving tens of thousands of innocent people from their homes. This is essentially what took place in Baghdad during the so-called "surge"; over a million Sunnis were forced from the city by death squads and Shia militia under the watchful eye of US troops. US counterinsurgency wunderkind Gen Stanley McChrystal played a pivotal role in pacifying Iraq, which is why he was chosen by Obama to oversee military operations in Afghanistan. Here’s a clip from an article by Ulrich Rippert "Europe backs Afghanistan strategy aimed at “regionalization”’ on the World Socialist Web Site which provides more details on the plan to Balkenize Afghanistan:

[snip]

The new strategy of “regionalization” is aimed at dividing Afghanistan into individual cantons—in a similar manner to what took place in Lebanon and the former Yugoslavia. Up to now the US-NATO occupation supported the government of Hamid Karzai and sold the process to the public as “democratization”. However, occupation forces are moving increasingly to hand over power directly to regional warlords and their militias—on the assumption that such regional forces will follow the orders of their imperial masters.

[snip]

Obama’s escalation is not aimed at strengthening democracy, liberating women or bringing an end to the brutal, misogynist rule of religious fanatics. It is pure, unalloyed imperial politics, the rearranging of the map and its people to serve Washington’s interests. As journalist Alex Lantier notes on the World Socialist Web Site, the plan does not end with Afghanistan, but stretches across the globe. The hard-right policymakers behind Obama, still have not abandoned their dream of global rule. Here’s an excerpt:

"As Obama indicated elsewhere in his speech, this escalation is one step in plans for even broader wars. “The struggle against violent extremism will not be finished quickly,” he said, “and it extends well beyond Afghanistan and Pakistan.” Mentioning Somalia and Yemen as potential targets, he added, “our effort will involve disorderly regions and diffuse enemies.”

[snip]

In the years ahead, we can expect to see relief and reconstruction efforts stepped up to provide security in the heavily-populated areas while the war in the south is expanded and intensified. Tajiks and Uzbeks, in the Afghan military will be enlisted to fight or expel their Pashtun countrymen, while warlords, druglords and human rights abusers are handed over large swathes of the countryside. 30,000 more troops is not enough to lock-down all of Afghanistan, but it may be enough to force hundreds of thousands of people into regional bantustans where they can be controlled by bloodthirsty chieftains, the very same men who leveled Kabul on April 28, 1992, killing 80,000 Afghan civilians. This is Obama’s plan for Afghanistan, a carbon-copy of George Bush’s.

***

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article24114.htm

David’s Sirota’s heartbreaking title says it all: “How do you ask a Man to be the Last Man to Die for a President’s Political Image?”

3) David Sirota (“How do you ask a Man to be the Last Man to Die for a President’s Political Image?”)

3) President Obama is risking the lives of 100,000 troops in order to prevent being labeled "weak" – but with no intention of actually waging the counterinsurgency strategy he publicly says is necessary.

David Sirota: How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a president’s political image?

It is possibility number three that is the most interesting – and most likely – if current political realities and history are considered.

[snip]

But Obama also seems very concerned about how a genuine withdrawal might allow Republicans and the Washington Establishment to portray him as "weak" – a term that is defined by that Establishment as anything short of unbridled militarism. It is the same concern Lyndon Johnson privately voiced over and over and over again to his aides during the lead-up to the Vietnam War – the only difference is that Obama’s aides are rather open about how the Afghanistan escalation is, in part, about preserving an image of "strength" for their boss. Notice the White House’s carefully calibrated top-line message on the day of the announcement:

By putting in 30,000 more troops, Obama can request a buildup that’s (barely) politically palatable in Congress, and fulfills the false concept of "strength" (ie. "strength" = militarism) artificially manufactured by the Washington media/political establishment – even though he knows that 30,000 troop escalation is not enough to do what his own military experts say is necessary to achieve the goals he says he wants achieved.

In an interview with the same Washington elite who manufacture this bullshit concept of "strength" and "weakness," Obama insists "Not only is [my decision] not popular, but it’s least popular in my own party" and then pats himself on the back for supposedly having courage by saying popularity is "not how I make decisions."

It’s a nice little self-aggrandizing pirouette – one that obscures the fact that, in fact, popularity is exactly how he’s trying to make decisions. He’s trying to find a way to be very popular – ie. considered very "strong" and manly – among Washington insiders (thus the escalation), while simultaneously limiting the unpopularity of his actions among the general public (thus an escalation far short of what his own military experts say is necessary). And because of that unbridled political narcissism – because of that apparent desire to be loved not just by his constituents (ie. the public) but also (and more importantly to Obama) by the Washington power class – troops lives are being put on the line unnecessarily.

And so it’s fair to ask two simple questions. Is it really worth putting 100,000 Americans at risk for the next few years exclusively to protect the political image of a president? More specifically, is it worth putting those 100,000 American lives on the line so that President Obama can fulfill the media and political establishment’s artificial definition of "strength"?

I certainly don’t think so, and I think it’s an almost unprecedented level of immorality.

For me one of the money quotes in Glen Ford’s rich article: “Obama did not mention that it was the Americans that coerced and bribed the Pakistani military into launching the attacks that displaced over a million people in the Swat region and hundreds of thousands more in border areas.” As well as:

Others might not view the rise of U.S. hegemony in such a positive light. But they are wrong, said the president. “For unlike the great powers of old, we have not sought world domination. Our union was founded in resistance to oppression. We do not seek to occupy other nations. We will not claim another nation’s resources or target other peoples because their faith or ethnicity is different from ours.”

“In Obama’s worldview, it’s the thought that counts. Americans don’t seek world domination; it just comes to them. “We do not seek to occupy other nations,” they leave us no choice. If it were not for American concern for the welfare of all the world’s people, the U.S. would not maintain 780 military bases in other people’s countries.”

***

www.blackagendareport.com/?q=content/obamas-af-pak-whack-bushs-iraq

For me one of the money quotes in Glen Ford’s rich article: “Obama did not mention that it was the Americans that coerced and bribed the Pakistani military into launching the attacks that displaced over a million people in the Swat region and hundreds of thousands more in border areas.” As well as:

Others might not view the rise of U.S. hegemony in such a positive light. But they are wrong, said the president. “For unlike the great powers of old, we have not sought world domination. Our union was founded in resistance to oppression. We do not seek to occupy other nations. We will not claim another nation’s resources or target other peoples because their faith or ethnicity is different from ours.”

“In Obama’s worldview, it’s the thought that counts. Americans don’t seek world domination; it just comes to them. “We do not seek to occupy other nations,” they leave us no choice. If it were not for American concern for the welfare of all the world’s people, the U.S. would not maintain 780 military bases in other people’s countries.”

4) Glen Ford (“Obama’s Af-Pak is as Whack as Bush’s Iraq”)

“The U.S. imperial enterprise in Afghanistan and Pakistan is doomed, as well as evil.”

If the Americans were truly interested in occupying Afghanistan, the logic goes, they would slow down and stretch out the process over many years, rather than mount an 18-month surge of Taliban-hunting. The Afghans are advised to hold still – the pulsating surge will be over before they know it.

At present, of course, the Americans have assumed all "responsibility" for Afghanistan – so much so that President Hamid Karzai only learned about Obama’s plans earlier on Tuesday during a one-hour tele-briefing. This is consistent with Obama’s detailed plans for Afghan liberation, under U.S. tutelage. The president is as wedded to high stakes testing of occupied peoples as he is for American public school children. “This effort must be based on performance.

The days of providing a blank check are over,” said the Occupier-in-Chief. He continued:

“And going forward, we will be clear about what we expect from those who receive our assistance. We will support Afghan Ministries, Governors, and local leaders that combat corruption and deliver for the people. We expect those who are ineffective or corrupt to be held accountable.”

Such rigorous oversight of their country’s affairs should keep Afghan minds off the fact that they have been fighting to remain independent of foreign rule for centuries, if not millennia. If Obama is right, Afghans might also be distracted from dwelling on the question of who their “Ministries, Governors, and local leaders” are answerable to – the Afghan people or the Americans?

“Obama advises Afghans to be patient and trusting regarding their sovereignty.”

[snip]

Should the Afghans become confused about American intentions, they might consult with their Pakistani neighbors, for whom President Obama also has plans.

“[We] have made it clear that we cannot tolerate a safe-haven for terrorists whose location is known, and whose intentions are clear,” the president declared. “America is also providing substantial resources to support Pakistan’s democracy and development. We are the largest international supporter for those Pakistanis displaced by the fighting.”

Obama did not mention that it was the Americans that coerced and bribed the Pakistani military into launching the attacks that displaced over a million people in the Swat region and hundreds of thousands more in border areas. How nice of them to join in humanitarian assistance to the homeless.

The Pakistanis, like the Afghans, were assured the Americans will not abandon them to their own, independent devices. Said Obama: “And going forward, the Pakistani people must know: America will remain a strong supporter of Pakistan’s security and prosperity long after the guns have fallen silent, so that the great potential of its people can be unleashed.”

[snip]

When Obama isn’t launching bold initiatives and “new beginnings,” he’s busy taking care of U.S. imperial business as usual. Obama is most proud that the U.S. spends more on its military than all the rest of the nations of the planet, combined.

“[T]he United States of America has underwritten global security for over six decades,” he told the cadets, “a time that, for all its problems, has seen walls come down, markets open, billions lifted from poverty, unparalleled scientific progress, and advancing frontiers of human liberty.” Others might not view the rise of U.S. hegemony in such a positive light. But they are wrong, said the president. “For unlike the great powers of old, we have not sought world domination. Our union was founded in resistance to oppression. We do not seek to occupy other nations. We will not claim another nation’s resources or target other peoples because their faith or ethnicity is different from ours.”

In Obama’s worldview, it’s the thought that counts. Americans don’t seek world domination; it just comes to them. “We do not seek to occupy other nations,” they leave us no choice. If it were not for American concern for the welfare of all the world’s people, the U.S. would not maintain 780 military bases in other people’s countries.

***

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article24110.htm

Iftekhar A Khan asks another poignant question: “Where do the foot soldiers from financially disadvantaged segment of society stand?” Our anti-empathy, anti-feeling culture run by an amoral patriarchy is systematically destroying thousands of young lives among our soldiers, as well as the populations of other countries.

5) Iftekhar A Khan ("Suicides and Corporate Wars")

… To risk lives on the battlefield, the soldiers are motivated on the basis of either religion or the country. However, in Afghanistan, both factors are missing. Therefore, the soldiers think they are mercenaries fighting in the interest of the US conglomerates: large oil companies, military munitions and hardware manufacturers.

Many soldiers returning from protracted wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD); as a result, they have become social outcasts. The soldiers after all are humans and not robots or drones. They have a moral conscience and families back home. Operating in alien lands, when they shoot and bomb innocent Iraqi and Afghan men, women and children, they must surely be calling up images of their own families. Thus, the guilt of committing atrocities upon the innocent must haunt them. More so, when they believe that the wars are based on deception and they serve as cannon fodder. Even the chaplains embedded with army units in Iraq and Afghanistan to motivate soldiers on religious lines have failed to boost their will to fight. They believe that the wars are not meant to protect their religion or their countries but to protect the interests of corporations and their beneficiaries – the politicians.

Ordinary US citizens are clueless about how their political leaders and retired generals reap the benefits of warfare. For instance, former US ambassador, Peter Galbraith, reportedly skimmed $100 million by negotiating a deal between a Norwegian oil company and the Kurdish authorities in Iraq. Similarly, former Secretary of State, George Shultz, served on the US defence policy board at the time of planning and invading Iraq and at the same time he served as president of Bechtel. Bechtel was later awarded the highest no-bid contract for the reconstruction of Iraq. Shultz first participated in the country’s destruction then in its reconstruction. Could such lucrative deals materialise without the US occupation army in Iraq? Soldiers lose their lives; politicians reap the benefits.

The questions are: who plans the wars and who does the fighting? Where do the foot soldiers from financially disadvantaged segment of society stand? What choice do they have other than to kill themselves or face court marshals and humiliation if they avoid deployment? About 100 British soldiers have been killed and 400 wounded so far in Afghanistan. Those wounded are incapacitated for life. But who has gained out of the loss of young lives – British oil companies, arms manufacturers, and their patrons in politics.

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