Of all the world’s holidays commemorating wars, Memorial Day should be one of sober reflection on war’s horrible costs, surely not a moment to glorify warfare or lust for more wars.

By Ray McGovern

How best to show respect for the U.S. troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan and for their families on Memorial Day? Simple: Avoid euphemisms like “the fallen” and expose the lies about what a great idea it was to start those wars and then to “surge” tens of thousands of more troops into those fools’ errands.

First, let’s be clear on at least this much: the 4,500 U.S. troops killed in Iraq – so far – and the 2,350 killed in Afghanistan – so far – did not “fall.” They were wasted on no-win battlefields by politicians and generals – cheered on by neocon pundits and mainstream “journalists” – almost none of whom gave a rat’s patootie about the real-life-and-death troops. They were throwaway soldiers.

And, as for the “successful surges,” they were just P.R. devices to buy some “decent intervals” for the architects of these wars and their boosters to get space between themselves and the disastrous endings while pretending that those defeats were really “victories squandered” – all at the “acceptable” price of about 1,000 dead U.S. soldiers each and many times that in dead Iraqis and Afghans.

Memorial Day should be a time for honesty about what enabled the killing and maiming of so many U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama and the senior military brass simply took full advantage of a poverty draft that gives upper-class sons and daughters the equivalent of exemptions, vaccinating them against the disease of war.

What drives me up the wall is the oft-heard, dismissive comment about troop casualties from well-heeled Americans: “Well, they volunteered, didn’t they?” Under the universal draft in effect during Vietnam, far fewer were immune from service, even though the well-connected could still game the system to avoid serving. Vice Presidents Dick Cheney and Joe Biden, for example, each managed to pile up five exemptions. This means, of course, that they brought zero military experience to the job; and this, in turn, may explain a whole lot — particularly given their bosses’ own lack of military experience.

The grim truth is that many of the crème de la crème of today’s Official Washington don’t know many military grunts, at least not intimately as close family or friends. They may bump into some on the campaign trail or in an airport and mumble something like, “thank you for your service.” But these sons and daughters of working-class communities from America’s cities and heartland are mostly abstractions to the powerful, exclamation points at the end of some ideological debate demonstrating which speaker is “tougher,” who’s more ready to use military force, who will come out on top during a talk show appearance or at a think-tank conference or on the floor of Congress.

Sharing the Burden?

We should be honest about this reality, especially on Memorial Day. Pretending that the burden of war has been equitably shared, and – worse still – that those killed died for a “noble cause,” as President George W. Bush likes to claim, does no honor to the thousands of U.S. troops killed and the tens of thousands maimed. It dishonors them. Worse, it all too often succeeds in infantilizing bereaved family members who cannot bring themselves to believe their government lied.

Who can blame parents for preferring to live the fiction that their sons and daughters were heroes who wittingly and willingly made the “ultimate sacrifice,” dying for a “noble cause,” especially when this fiction is frequently foisted on them by well-meaning but naïve clergy at funerals. For many it is impossible to live with the reality that a son or daughter died in vain. Far easier to buy into the official story and to leave clergy unchallenged as they gild the lilies around coffins and gravesites.

Not so for some courageous parents – Cindy Sheehan, for example, whose son Casey Sheehan was killed on April 4, 2004, in the Baghdad suburb of Sadr City. Cindy demonstrated uncommon grit when she led hundreds of friends to Crawford to lay siege to the Texas White House during the summer of 2005 trying to get President Bush to explain what “noble cause” Casey died for. She never got an answer. There is none.

But there are very few, like Cindy Sheehan, able to overcome a natural human resistance to the thought that their sons and daughters died for a lie – and then to challenge that lie. These few stalwarts make themselves face this harsh reality, the knowledge that the children whom they raised and sacrificed so much for were, in turn, sacrificed on the altar of political expediency, that their precious children were bit players in some ideological fantasy or pawns in a game of career maneuvering.

Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger is said to have described the military disdainfully as “just dumb stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy.” Whether or not those were his exact words, his policies and behavior certainly betrayed that attitude. It certainly seems to have prevailed among top American-flag-on-lapel-wearing officials of the Bush and Obama administrations, including armchair and field-chair generals whose sense of decency is blinded by the prospect of a shiny new star on their shoulders, if they just follow orders and send young soldiers into battle.

This bitter truth should raise its ugly head on Memorial Day but rarely does. It can be gleaned only with great difficulty from the mainstream media, since the media honchos continue to play an indispensable role in the smoke-and-mirrors dishonesty that hides their own guilt in helping Establishment Washington push “the fallen” from life to death.

We must judge the actions of our political and military leaders not by the pious words they will utter Monday in mourning those who “fell” far from the generals’ cushy safe seats in the Pentagon or somewhat closer to the comfy beds in air-conditioned field headquarters where a lucky general might be comforted in the arms of an admiring and enterprising biographer.

Many of the high-and-mighty delivering the approved speeches on Monday will glibly refer to and mourn “the fallen.” None are likely to mention the culpable policymakers and complicit generals who added to the fresh graves at Arlington National Cemetery and around the country.

Words, after all, are cheap; words about “the fallen” are dirt cheap – especially from the lips of politicians and pundits with no personal experience of war. The families of those sacrificed in Iraq and Afghanistan should not have to bear that indignity.

‘Successful Surges’

The so-called “surges” of troops into Iraq and Afghanistan were particularly gross examples of the way our soldiers have been played as pawns. Since the usual suspects are again coming out the woodwork of neocon think tanks to press for yet another “surge” in Iraq, some historical perspective should help.

Take, for example, the well-known – and speciously glorified – first “surge;” the one Bush resorted to in sending over 30,000 additional troops into Iraq in early 2007; and the not-to-be-outdone Obama “surge” of 30,000 into Afghanistan in early 2010. These marches of folly were the direct result of decisions by George W. Bush and Barack Obama to prioritize political expediency over the lives of U.S. troops.

Taking cynical advantage of the poverty draft, they let foot soldiers pay the “ultimate” price. That price was 1,000 U.S. troops killed in each of the two “surges.”

And the results? The returns are in. The bloody chaos these days in Iraq and the faltering war in Afghanistan were entirely predictable. They were indeed predicted by those of us able to spread some truth around via the Internet, while being mostly blacklisted by the fawning corporate media.

Yet, because the “successful surge” myth was so beloved in Official Washington, saving some face for the politicians and pundits who embraced and spread the lies that justified and sustained especially the Iraq War, the myth has become something of a touchstone for everyone aspiring to higher office or seeking a higher-paying gig in the mainstream media.

Campaigning Wednesday in New Hampshire, presidential aspirant Jeb Bush gave a short history lesson about his big brother’s attack on Iraq. Referring to the so-called Islamic State, Bush said, “ISIS didn’t exist when my brother was president. Al-Qaeda in Iraq was wiped out … the surge created a fragile but stable Iraq. …”

We’ve dealt with the details of the Iraq “surge” myth before – both before and after it was carried out. [See, for instance, Consortiumnews.com’s “Reviving the Successful Surge Myth”; “Gen. Keane on Iran Attack”; “Robert Gates: As Bad as Rumsfeld?”; and “Troop Surge Seen as Another Mistake.”]

But suffice it to say that Jeb Bush is distorting the history and should be ashamed. The truth is that al-Qaeda did not exist in Iraq before his brother launched an unprovoked invasion in 2003. “Al-Qaeda in Iraq” arose as a direct result of Bush’s war and occupation. Amid the bloody chaos, AQI’s leader, a Jordanian named Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, pioneered a particularly brutal form of terrorism, relishing videotaped decapitation of prisoners.

Zarqawi was eventually hunted down and killed not during the celebrated “surge” but in June 2006, months before Bush’s “surge” began. The so-called Sunni Awakening, essentially the buying off of many Sunni tribal leaders, also predated the “surge.” And the relative reduction in the Iraq War’s slaughter after the 2007 “surge” was mostly the result of the ethnic cleansing of Baghdad from a predominantly Sunni to a Shia city, tearing the fabric of Baghdad in two, and creating physical space that made it more difficult for the two bitter enemies to attack each other. In addition, Iran used its influence with the Shia to rein in their extremely violent militias.

Though weakened by Zarqawi’s death and the Sunni Awakening, AQI did not disappear, as Jeb Bush would like you to believe. It remained active and – when Saudi Arabia and the Sunni gulf states took aim at the secular regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria – AQI joined with other al-Qaeda affiliates, such as the Nusra Front, to spread their horrors across Syria. AQI rebranded itself “the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria” or simply “the Islamic State.”

The Islamic State split off from al-Qaeda over strategy but the various jihadist armies, including al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front, have now seized wide swaths of territory in Syria — and the Islamic State has returned with a vengeance to Iraq, grabbing major cities such as Mosul and Ramadi.

Jeb Bush doesn’t like to unspool all this history. He and other Iraq War backers prefer to pretend that the “surge” in Iraq had won the war and Obama threw the “victory” away by following through on George W. Bush’s withdrawal agreement with Maliki.

But the current crisis in Syria and Iraq is among the fateful consequences of the U.S./UK attack 12 years ago and particularly of the “surge” of 2007, which contributed greatly to Sunni-Shia violence, the opposite of what George W. Bush professed was the objective of the “surge,” to enable Iraq’s religious sects to reconcile.

Reconciliation, however, always took a back seat to the real purpose of the “surge” – buying time so Bush and Cheney could slip out of Washington in 2009 without having an obvious military defeat hanging around their necks and putting a huge stain on their legacies.

The political manipulation of the Iraq “surge” allowed Bush, Cheney and their allies to reframe the historical debate and shift the blame for the defeat onto Obama, recognizing that 1,000 more dead U.S. soldiers was a small price to pay for protecting the “Bush brand.” Now, Bush’s younger brother can cheerily march off to the campaign trail for 2016 pointing to the carcass of the Iraqi albatross hung around Obama’s shoulders.

Rout at Ramadi

Last weekend, less than a year after U.S.-trained and -equipped Iraqi forces ran away from the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, leaving the area and lots of U.S. arms and equipment to ISIS, something similar happened at Ramadi, the capital of the western province of Anbar. Despite heavy U.S. air strikes on ISIS, American-backed Iraqi security forces fled Ramadi, which is only 70 miles west of Baghdad, after a lightning assault by ISIS forces.

The ability of ISIS to strike just about everywhere in the area is reminiscent of the Tet offensive of January-February 1968 in Vietnam, which persuaded President Lyndon Johnson that that particular war was unwinnable. If there are materials left over in Saigon for reinforcing helicopter landing pads on the tops of buildings, it is not too early to bring them to Baghdad’s Green Zone, on the chance that U.S. embassy buildings may have a call for such materials in the not-too-distant future.

The headlong Iraqi government retreat from Ramadi had scarcely ended on Sunday when Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, described the fall of the city as “terribly significant” – which is correct – adding that more U.S. troops may be needed – which is insane. His appeal for more troops neatly fits one proverbial definition of insanity (attributed or misattributed to Albert Einstein): “doing the same thing over and over again [like every eight years?] but expecting different results.”

By Wednesday, as Jeb Bush was singing the praises of his brother’s “surge” in Iraq, McCain and his Senate colleague Lindsey Graham were publicly calling for a new “surge” of U.S. troops into Iraq. The senators urged President Obama to do what George W. Bush did in 2007 – replace the U.S. military leadership and dispatch additional troops to Iraq.

But Washington Post pundit David Ignatius, even though a fan of the earlier two surges, is not yet on board for this one. In a column published also on Wednesday, Ignatius warned that Washington should not abandon its current strategy:

“This is still Iraq’s war, not America’s. But President Barack Obama must reassure Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi that the U.S. has his back — and at the same time give him a reality check: If al-Abadi and his Shiite allies don’t do more to empower Sunnis, his country will splinter. Ramadi is a precursor — of either a turnaround by al-Abadi’s forces, or an Iraqi defeat.”

Ignatius’s urgent tone is warranted. But what he suggests is precisely what the U.S. made a lame attempt to do with then-Prime Minister Maliki in early 2007. Yet, President Bush squandered U.S. leverage by sending 30,000 troops to show he “had Maliki’s back,” freeing Maliki to accelerate his attempts to marginalize, rather than accommodate, Sunni interests.

Perhaps Ignatius now remembers how the “surge” he championed in 2007 greatly exacerbated tensions between Shia and Sunni contributing to the chaos now prevailing in Iraq and spreading across Syria and elsewhere. But Ignatius is well connected and a bellwether; if he ends up advocating another “surge,” take shelter.

Keane and Kagan Ask For a Mulligan

The architects of Bush’s 2007 “surge” of 30,000 troops into Iraq, former Army General Jack Keane and American Enterprise Institute neocon strategist Frederick Kagan, in testimony Thursday to the Senate Armed Services Committee, warned strongly that, without a “surge” of some 15,000 to 20,000 U.S. troops, ISIS will win in Iraq.

“We are losing this war,” warned Keane, who previously served as Vice Chief of Staff of the Army. “ISIS is on the offense, with the ability to attack at will, anyplace, anytime. … Air power will not defeat ISIS.” Keane stressed that the U.S. and its allies have “no ground force, which is the defeat mechanism.”

Not given to understatement, Kagan called ISIS “one of the most evil organizations that has ever existed. … This is not a group that maybe we can negotiate with down the road someday. This is a group that is committed to the destruction of everything decent in the world.” He called for “15-20,000 U.S. troops on the ground to provide the necessary enablers, advisers and so forth,” and added: “Anything less than that is simply unserious.”

(By the way, Frederick Kagan is the brother of neocon-star Robert Kagan, whose Project for the New American Century began pushing for the invasion of Iraq in 1998 and finally got its way in 2003. Robert Kagan is the husband of Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, who oversaw the 2014 coup that brought “regime change” and bloody chaos to Ukraine. The Ukraine crisis also prompted Robert Kagan to urge a major increase in U.S. military spending. [For details, see Consortiumnews.com’s “A Family Business of Perpetual War.”] )

What is perhaps most striking, however, is the casualness with which the likes of Frederick Kagan, Jack Keane, and other Iraq War enthusiasts advocate dispatching tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers to fight and die in what would almost certainly be another futile undertaking. You might even wonder why people like Kagan are invited to testify before Congress given their abysmal records.

But that would miss the true charm of the Iraq “surge” in 2007 and its significance in salvaging the reputations of folks like Kagan, not to mention George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. From their perspective, the “surge” was a great success. Bush and Cheney could swagger from the West Wing into the western sunset on Jan. 20, 2009.

As author Steve Coll has put it, “The decision [to surge] at a minimum guaranteed that his [Bush’s] presidency would not end with a defeat in history’s eyes. By committing to the surge [the President] was certain to at least achieve a stalemate.”

According to Bob Woodward, Bush told key Republicans in late 2005 that he would not withdraw from Iraq, “even if Laura and [first-dog] Barney are the only ones supporting me.” Woodward made it clear that Bush was well aware in fall 2006 that the U.S. was losing. Suddenly, with some fancy footwork, it became Laura, Barney – and new Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Gen. David Petraeus along with 30,000 more U.S. soldiers making sure that the short-term fix was in.

The fact that about 1,000 U.S. soldiers returned in caskets was the principal price paid for that short-term “surge” fix. Their “ultimate sacrifice” will be mourned by their friends, families and countrymen on Memorial Day even as many of the same politicians and pundits will be casually pontificating about dispatching more young men and women as cannon fodder into the same misguided war.

It has been difficult drafting this downer, this historical counter-narrative, on the eve of Memorial Day. It seems to me necessary, though, to expose the dramatis personae who played such key roles in getting more and more people killed. Sad to say, none of the high officials mentioned here, as well as those on the relevant Congressional committees, are affected in any immediate way by the carnage in Ramadi, Tikrit or outside the gate to the Green Zone in Baghdad.

And perhaps that’s one of the key points here. It is not most of us, but rather our soldiers and the soldiers and civilians of Iraq, Afghanistan and God knows where else who are Lazarus at the gate. And, as Benjamin Franklin once said, “Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.”


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in Washington, DC. During his career as a CIA analyst, he prepared and briefed the President’s Daily Brief and chaired National Intelligence Estimates. He is a member of the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).




  1. dubinsky
    May 25, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    to try to lump Afghanistan in with Iraq shows the limits of McGovern’s worth and honesty.

  2. Shutter
    May 25, 2015 at 5:19 pm

    “Vice Presidents Dick Cheney and Joe Biden, for example, each managed to pile up five exemptions. This means, of course, that they brought zero military experience to the job; and this, in turn, may explain a whole lot — particularly given their bosses’ own lack of military experience.”

    I’ve heard this over and over again, usually intended to mean that being in the military is a learning process to better understand proper use and deployment of military forces. To me, thats missing the point entirely. Being in the military means exposure to the military mind, its limitations, its inherent biases and especially to the stupefyingly dumb ideas that descend on the average inductee/draftee by the hour is what really counts. In an amazingly short time, the recruit learns what a shithole of festering idiots he has fallen into . Later in life, that experience comes in mighty handy when listening to some pompous Colonel or General yammer on about what country to invade next and being able to smell the bullshit from a thousand miles off.

  3. Synoia
    May 25, 2015 at 5:21 pm

    Ramada was a rout because the young Iraqi’s in the Iraqi army have no reason to die for Maliki.

    What reason is there for any young Iraqi to die for Iraq, instead of surviving for his family?

  4. Synoia
    May 25, 2015 at 5:22 pm

    Oh you again. Ghoul, War profiteer or NeoCon troll?

  5. dubinsky
    May 25, 2015 at 5:28 pm

    liberal and former hippie and philosophy student

  6. Synoia
    May 25, 2015 at 5:55 pm

    You support the destruction and death in the ME, and claim to be a liberal?

    Did you learn nothing of the Vietnam war, or anything of the prior century’s colonial wars? Summed up as needless suffering and death.

    Rule and rulers are not about any ideal rule or rulers, such are few and far between, read “The History of the English Speaking Peoples” for a review. What we get is an absence of civil war for a period, followed by civil war or invasion, and followed again by what we hope is another civil war free period.

    If there is no clear fix, a stable government, for an invasion at the outset, then don’t invade. Invading requires a clear understand of what the “fix” is to be. The Establishment of Stable government, is not evident as a result of recent Imperial Actions.

    Imperial actions rarely have good consequences. Especially for the local populace, so setting the seeds for the next imperial overreach.

    You seem to call for Invasion and consequent Civil War, the US’ specialty because the US is a poor colonial administrator, as an alternative to an oppressive peace. .

    Here I believe your intentions are mistaken.

  7. Harold Osler
    May 25, 2015 at 7:17 pm

    As much as I loathe the cheap sentiment everywhere today–I hate this even more. What is it about some people that they just can’t let something be as it is without adding their “Oh, but this is why it’s horrible”. It’s why no one listens to you.

  8. May 25, 2015 at 8:30 pm

    The history of American liberals’ eagerness to engage in wars does not make his claim to liberalism odd, IMO.

  9. angryspittle
    May 25, 2015 at 8:34 pm

    Since 1945 not a single American serviceman has died in defense of the United States, the Constitution, freedom, democracy, or any other goddamn reason that they were tricked into believing they were fighting for. They were sacrificed upon that alter of corporate profit, the war profiteers, the arms makers and resource grabs. Most of the damn fighting going on right now around the world would not be happening if these ghouls were producing tractors and jigsaws rather than AR15’s or AK47’s, bombs, rockets, missiles, tanks and the other tools of carnage and mayhem. The people making profits by feeding that shit into these areas have no interest in peace because war is their prosperity and individual soldiers are merely cannon fodder for their greed.

  10. dubinsky
    May 25, 2015 at 9:04 pm

    what part of my insistence on a distinction between the invasion of Afghanistan and the illegal and immoral immoral invasion of Iraq don’t you understand, Sy?

  11. dubinsky
    May 25, 2015 at 9:05 pm

    I’ve never been eager to have the country go to war.

  12. May 25, 2015 at 9:16 pm

    Yet you applaud, and bend over backwards to justify, all of its meddling in a very select set of geopolitically “important” – to monopoly capital and the MIC(empire) – countries…

  13. dubinsky
    May 25, 2015 at 9:18 pm

    “meddling” ain’t making war.

    we went to war in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    the first was justified and warranted. the second not.

  14. May 25, 2015 at 9:36 pm

    The first was only justified if you adhere to MSM propaganda. Besides, neither Hamburg, California, Florida, or the KSA were bombed… http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/09/16/911-the-saudi-connection/

    Bush rejects Taliban offer to hand Bin Laden overhttp://www.theguardian.com/world/2001/oct/14/afghanistan.terrorism5

    Meddling has been the stepping stone to wars, direct or proxy. The resulting costs and carnage ought to offend anyone’s sensibilities, dub.

  15. dubinsky
    May 25, 2015 at 9:52 pm

    somehow I felt that bombing NYC and DC was plenty of justification…….


    and do try to actually read the things to which you link.

    after more than a year of UN demands that the Taliban hand over bin Laden to the US prior to 9/11,,,,,,, a Taliban offer to DISCUSS a handover to some Islamic third country was a lousy joke.

  16. danny j
    May 25, 2015 at 10:22 pm

    When did Afghanistan bomb NYC and DC?

    BTW: Are you claiming those WERE bombs?

    You know the US created the monstrous Taliban by funding and arming the Mujahideen and then leaving the country to descend into “tribal warlord” failed state status once we achieved our Realpolitik objective.

    You know Afghanistan had nothing to do with 9/11.

    You know the funding to the mostly Saudi terrorists claimed to be responsible for 9/11 came from Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

    Maybe you really did want to “just do something” out of revenge. I knew people who died that day, and I was pissed, too. But all these years later, even you must realize that invading Afghanistan was not the “something” to do.

    For bonus points, why did Richard Clarke tell Clinton NOT to lob some cruise missiles at bin Laden’s hunting party in Afghanistan back in 1999?

  17. dubinsky
    May 25, 2015 at 10:26 pm

    some day in september of 2001….and yes, large airplanes heavily laden with aviation fuel make for rather powerful bombs

  18. May 25, 2015 at 10:33 pm

    Precisely the point why so many do not believe the official narrative, minus the 28 pages.

    Gross negligence, if not worse when taking PNAC into account.

    Mohabbat went to Kandahar and communicated the news of imminent bombing to the Taliban. They asked him to set up a meeting with US officials to arrange the circumstances of their handover of Osama. On November 2, 2000, less than a week before the US election, Mohabbat arranged a face-to-face meeting, in that same Sheraton hotel in Frankfurt, between Taliban leaders and a US government team.

    After a rocky start on the first day of the Frankfurt session, Mohabbat says the Taliban realized the gravity of US threats and outlined various ways bin Laden could be dealt with. He could be turned over to the EU, killed by the Taliban, or made available as a target for Cruise missiles. In the end, Mohabbat says, the Taliban promised the “unconditional surrender of bin Laden” . “We all agreed,” Mohabbat tells CounterPunch, “the best way was to gather Osama and all his lieutenants in one location and the US would send one or two Cruise missiles.”…

    Kabir Mohabbat’s final trip to Afghanistan on the US government payroll took place on September 3, 2001. On September 11 Mohabbat acted as translator for some of the Taliban leadership in Kabul as they watched tv coverage of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Four days later the US State Department asked Mohabbat to set up a meeting with the Taliban. Mohabbat says the Taliban were flown to Quetta in two C-130s. There they agreed to the three demands sought by the US team: 1. Immediate handover of bin Laden; 2. Extradition of foreigners in Al Qaeda who were wanted in their home countries; 3. shut-down of bin Laden’s bases and training camps. Mohabbat says the Taliban agreed to all three demands.

    This meeting in Quetta was reported in carefully vague terms by Pizzey on September 25, where Mohabbat was mentioned by name. He tells us that the Bush administration was far more exercised by this story than by any other event in the whole delayed and ultimately abandoned schedule of killing Osama.

    On October 18, Mohabbat tells us, he was invited to the US embassy in Islamabad and told that “there was light at the end of the tunnel for him”, which translated into an invitation to occupy the role later assigned to Karzai. Mohabbat declined, saying he had no desire for the role of puppet and probable fall guy.

    A few days later the Pizzey story was aired and Mohabbat drew the ire of the Bush administration where he already had an enemy in the form of Zalmay Khalilzad, appointed on September 22 as the US special envoy to Afghanistan. After giving him a dressing down, US officials told Mohabbat the game had changed, and he should tell the Taliban the new terms: surrender or be killed. Mohabbat declined to be the bearer of this news and went off the US government payroll.

    Towards the end of that same month of October, 2001 Mohabbat was successfully negotiating with the Taliban for the release of Heather Mercer (acting in a private capacity at the request of her father) when the Taliban once again said they would hand over Osama Bin Laden unconditionally. Mohabbat tells us he relayed the offer to David Donahue, the US consulate general in Islamabad. He was told, in his words,that “the train had moved”. Shortly thereafter the US bombing of Afghanistan began.

    In December Mohabbat was in Pakistan following with wry amusement the assault on Osama bin Laden’s supposed mountain redoubt in Tora Bora, in the mountains bordering Pakistan. At the time he said, he informed US embassy officials the attack was a waste of time. Taliban leaders had told him that Bin Laden was nowhere near Tora Bora but in Waziristan. Knowing that the US was monitoring his cell phone traffic, Osama had sent a decoy to Tora Bora….

    From the documents he’s supplied us and from his detailed account we regard Kabir Mohabbat’s story as credible and are glad to make public his story of the truly incredible failure of the Bush administration to accept the Taliban’s offer to eliminate Bin Laden. As a consequence of this failure more than 3,000 Americans and thousands of Afghans died. Mohabbat himself narrowly escaped death on two occasions when Al Qaeda, apprised of his role, tried to kill him. In Kabul in February, 2001, a bomb was detonated in his hotel in Kabul. Later that year, in July, a hand grenade thrown in his room in a hotel in Kandahar failed to explode.

    He told his story to the 9/11 Commission (whose main concern, he tells us, was that he not divulge his testimony to anyone else), also to the 9/11 Families who were pursuing a lawsuit based on the assumption of US intelligence blunders by the FBI and CIA. He says his statements were not much use to the families since his judgment was, and still remains, that it was not intelligence failures that allowed the 9/11 attacks, but criminal negligence by the Bush administration.


  19. dubinsky
    May 25, 2015 at 10:44 pm

    counterpunch ‘s story is the usual few nuggets of half-truths sprinkled on top of stale horseshart

  20. danny j
    May 25, 2015 at 11:06 pm

    What Afghanis were flying those planes?

    Don’t bother trying to pretend you’re correct. As usual, I was just posting so others could see what a foolish claim you’d made.

  21. dubinsky
    May 25, 2015 at 11:17 pm

    danny, old boy. juvenile sophistry is not for grown-ups.

    the al qaeda HQ and training camps for transnational terror were in Afghanistan and the Taliban gave them sanctuary and scope to operate those camps.

    were you intelligent, wise and decent you could go read the several UN Security Council Resolutions directed to the taliban prior to 9/11.

    but you aren’t and wont.

  22. Screwtape
    May 25, 2015 at 11:50 pm

    Seems likely to me than when this is all over Iraq will no longer exist, and three smaller countries will be carved out of it. Reason enough for Iraqi troops to “demur,” if they also see that future.

  23. May 26, 2015 at 1:18 am

    So what are your sources?

    Daily State Department Talking Points and Marching Orders to the Press??

    Wolf Blitzer?

  24. dubinsky
    May 26, 2015 at 1:31 am



    start with that.

    public announcements by the Taliban that were recorded count for a whole lot more than secret exploratory contacts that sought to avoid actually turning bin Laden over to the US…even after the bombs started dropping in Afghanistan the Taliban were still trying to find a way out of a direct handover.

    Omar and bin Laden had sealed their alliance with a marriage of two of their children…and Pashtunwali makes turning bin Laden over to “infidels” rather a problem.

  25. May 26, 2015 at 1:36 am

    Imagine if every time we gave sanctuary to actors of terrorism and the country against whom the act was committed had the right to bomb the crap out of the US…

    As for UN resolutions, I’d say that they were deeply unethical and illegal, something many senior UN officials agree with.

  26. dubinsky
    May 26, 2015 at 1:41 am

    name any senior UN officials who called the resolutions illegal, please.

    I would enjoy looking into that

  27. May 26, 2015 at 1:46 am

    Without Evidence, the Taliban Refuses to Turn Over bin Laden is the title of one of the articles.

    Easily resolvable had the US produced evidence. Bush and the Cheney Gang had no more than the direct evidence they had when they claimed WMD in Iraq.

    If you believe anything from that scum administration, you’ll believe anything and anyone in positions of government authority. And you will do your bestest to ignore that “That’s not the way the world really works anymore.” that “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors … and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

  28. May 26, 2015 at 1:48 am

    “The following month the BBC reported that the list produced by the UN of officials against whom the sanctions were to be applied was inaccurate and failed to contain any military commanders.[19] Senior UN officials said that the sanctions were completely inappropriate due to the chaos they were causing to the relief missions at a time of a famine.[20]

    Shortly thereafter the Taliban showed signs of willingness to strike a deal concerning bin Laden[21] in spite of the political damage it would cause them.[22] They had also substantially reduced the cultivation of opium poppies.

    Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Thomas Hammarberg has stated he believes the “arbitrary procedures for terrorist black-listing must now be changed”. He stated that he believes the measures have affected a number of rights of the targeted individuals, including the right to privacy, the right to property, the right of association, the right to travel or freedom of movement, and there has been no possibility to appeal or even know all the reasons for the blacklisting, eliminating the right to an effective remedy and due process.[25]
    UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights Martin Scheinin stated that “terrorist listing procedures did not meet due process requirements of fair trial”. He suggested “introducing an independent review body composed of independent experts, which would be part of the Security Council’s decision-making procedure” or even to abolish the 1267 Committee and move the question of listing to the Counter-Terrorism Committee’s jurisdiction, on the basis of resolution 1373 (2001).[26]
    Canadian Federal Court Judge Russel Zinn wrote in a judgement about the case of Abousfian Abdelrazik (who was listed in 2006), “I add my name to those who view the 1267 Committee regime as a denial of basic legal remedies and as untenable under the principles of international human rights. There is nothing in the listing or de-listing procedure that recognizes the principles of natural justice or that provides for basic procedural fairness…. (…) It can hardly be said that the 1267 Committee process meets the requirement of independence and impartiality when, as appears may be the case involving Mr. Abdelrazik, the nation requesting the listing is one of the members of the body that decides whether to list or, equally as important, to de-list a person. The accuser is also the judge.””
    – wiki


    Legal Analysis
    US Campaign Against Afghanistan Not Self-Defense Under International Law

    Is Bush’s War Illegal? Let Us Count the Ways
    The Illegalities of Bush’s War on Afghanistan

  29. dubinsky
    May 26, 2015 at 2:03 am

    sorry ape, but these criticisms aren’t of the UN resolutions asking, and then demanding , that the Taliban turn over bin Laden to the US…….

    and crap from Foley about the legality of the invasion of Afghanistan is also not opinion from an official of the UN but from an ass of an attorney talking about the legality of war rather than of the resolutions requiring production of bin Laden.

    Francis Boyle is …..not respected as a scholar. he’s an advocate without scruple

  30. May 26, 2015 at 2:43 am

    As I’ve said; you’re a Rovian authoritarian sycophant submissive whose ignorance of the history of empires is matched by the exceptional arrogance attending this indispensable nation’s (every other nation is- dispensable) “good” and right-salutin’ soldiers.

  31. dubinsky
    May 26, 2015 at 3:03 am

    you can say it till you shh1t yourself, but it’s still a childish and absurd misrepresentation of my comments and opinions.

    I fully believe you to possess an active intelligence capable of more honest argumentation.

  32. May 26, 2015 at 3:34 am

    Harold, having served myself, I abhor War in all it’s insidious forms, and, will continue to expose it’s horror, each and everyday, sorry that it seems to offend your fragile sensibilites…!

  33. May 26, 2015 at 4:43 am

    I fully believe you to possess an active intelligence capable of more honest argumentation.

    Pot, meet Kettle…!

    All you spew is MSM TPs, dub…!

    The Infernal Cocktail Party Corruption of Washington’s Elite Media

  34. JamesJoyce
    May 26, 2015 at 8:10 am

    Neocons are fascists. History is making this point quite clear. Those who stick to talking points, like a Good German will never get it.

    Being brainwashed to accept lies has costs. We just have yet to realize those costs being conned by corporate fascists addicted to power.

  35. JamesJoyce
    May 26, 2015 at 8:25 am

    Neocons are fascist….

  36. JamesJoyce
    May 26, 2015 at 8:37 am

    So is the sun in the center of the solar system, or do we believe in garbage offered by discredited fascists????


    Worth and honesty do not affix to Richard Cheney!

  37. JamesJoyce
    May 26, 2015 at 8:39 am


    “What is Salfism?”

    “Salafis are fundamentalists who believe in a return to the original ways of Islam. The word ‘Salafi’ comes from the Arabic phrase, ‘as-salaf as-saliheen’, which refers to the first three generations of Muslims (starting with the Companions of the Prophet), otherwise known as the Pious Predecessors.”

    This is a con job!

  38. JCC0
    May 26, 2015 at 9:06 am

    Classic Trolling, dubinsky, you are answering his question with personal attacks instead of facts.

    By the way, just so you know, no Afghans were flying that plane and the operation was primarily funded by various members and friends of the Saudi Govt. These are known facts.

  39. dubinsky
    May 26, 2015 at 10:34 am

    ” Pot, meet Kettle…!”

    ” MSM TPs”

    perhaps I’m not capable of that level of startling originality of thought and expression, tut, and I’m jes’ reduced to sticking to the facks


  40. dubinsky
    May 26, 2015 at 10:46 am

    somehow I thought that pointing out that al Qaeda was based and centered in Afghanistan and operating under the protection of the de facto rulers of Afghanistan was rather significant……and of greater import than was the national origin of the people sent to carry out the hijackings and murders of 9/11.

    further, I referenced the position of the UN Security Council.

    you seem to be overlooking the argument …for some reason…. and that ain’t good.

  41. Watt4Bob
    May 26, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    People will obviously not only vote against their own interests, but follow unto death those who neither respect nor value them.

  42. Aldous Huxley
    May 26, 2015 at 3:23 pm

    I certainly agree that the USA has done too much meddling, but pointing to the ‘taliban over to hand over bin laden’ is fallacious. the Taliban’s offer wasn’t serious. As you source points out, they put so many conditions on that offer. Any president would be nuts to take such an offer seriously.

    Mohabbat didn’t have the clout to fulfill his promises made in the negotiations.

  43. danny j
    May 27, 2015 at 7:51 pm

    OMG! Really? bin Laden’s al Qaeda had “training camps” in Afghanistan?

    Gosh, I’d never heard that before. I guess your son’s media connections must have made you privy to information that only every single corporate media outlet told the whole world.

    Since you missed the bonus points question. “Anti-Terrorism Czar” Richard Clarke told President Clinton not to lob cruise missiles at the known Afghan hunting camp location of bin Laden in 1998/1999 because he knew bin Laden was with some of Clarke’s Emirates Royal Family friends.

    Of course, bin Laden was SO hard to find that only ABC and CNN were able to do in-person TV interviews with him AFTER he declared jihad against the US. So, invading a whole country was obviously the only way to go.



    Not to mention that invading Afghanistan obviously didn’t kill bin Laden or destroy al Qaeda, so even if it was reasonable to destroy an entire country to “dead or alive” them it failed. And this despite the Taliban offering repeated to arrest or even kill bin Laden both before and after 9/11…. as had Sudan earlier.

  44. danny j
    May 27, 2015 at 7:55 pm

    When Sudan offered to turn bin Laden over to Clinton, why did he refuse and instead go along with Sudan deporting him to Afghanistan?

  45. Southern
    May 27, 2015 at 8:20 pm

    Afghanistan also offered to hand him over with just one condition, that the US provide some evidence of his involvement for the crimes he was accused of.

    Bush rejects Taliban offer to hand Bin Laden over [Oct 2001.]


    My bad, just noticed someone already posted the same link.

  46. dubinsky
    May 27, 2015 at 8:43 pm

    my cousin was involved in a car collision and his face was severely cut by glass. when they got him to the hospital, a surgeon spent hours suturing him and applied more than 200 stitches…but he still required further surgery to minimize the damage to his face.
    …. so obviously, the suturing wasn’t the way to go.

    I just love following your reasoning ///// I love novelty.

    thank you so so much

  47. dubinsky
    May 27, 2015 at 8:51 pm

    it was because Clinton was so caught up with dealing with reality that he slighted his obligation to be more proactive in engaging with the not-quite-real community.


  48. dubinsky
    May 28, 2015 at 1:32 am

    doesn’t matter…….it’s still remains an offer to DISCUSS handing him over (as is clearly proclaimed in the freakin story, Southern)

    and discussions didn’t mean much at all a month after 9/11.

  49. dubinsky
    May 28, 2015 at 3:36 am

    ” Now Considering your claim on AJ some time ago that your son is a investigative journalist with a Pulitzer to boot…….”

    and he used to work right here at fdl, my addlepated friend, back when there were intelligent and talented journalists, rather than ignorant and slow-witted amateurs tutting about.

    here’s a picture of kid w/Pulitzer if you scroll down


  50. Southern
    May 28, 2015 at 4:14 am

    This is the thing, I say, you’re unable to prove your claim — You frequently make claims but you do not back them up with solid and verifiable evidence — Posting a picture is only as good as Kiev’s social media claims about MH17

    Dub – Will the ”kid” actually verify that you are …. shock horror… his dad ?

  51. dubinsky
    May 28, 2015 at 4:22 am

    yeah he will, but he’s really only taking his mother’s word for it……as am I.
    all he’s sure of is that she and I raised him as he never demanded DNA testing.

    how about you? was your mother ever able to be sure of who your father was and did you ever meet him?

  52. Southern
    May 28, 2015 at 4:45 am

    There you go then, You just proved that your claim is not supported by any means.

  53. dubinsky
    May 28, 2015 at 4:50 am

    could be that your parents preferred it that way

  54. Southern
    May 28, 2015 at 5:06 am

    Feel free to drop in to Mosquito cloud some time, I somehow doubt that you’d have the balls.

    All those big words and still no show… Coward.