The United States Misery Index
The misery index was initiated by economist Arthur Okun, an adviser to President Lyndon Johnson in the 1960′s is simply the unemployment rate added to the inflation rate.
A-Z Index of U.S. Governmental Departments and Agencies.
The AfPak Channel
Website devoted to the news of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Featuring Peter Bergen.
CREW- Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is a progressive watchdog group who’s stated mission is to “promote ethics and accountability in government and public life by targeting government officials – regardless of party affiliation – w
The website Wikileaks is all over the news for their leaking of 90,000 documents pertaining to the war in Afghanistan on their website. I have to admit that a while back I was played. I was made a fool by the U.S. government. As I was searching for material to write about I came across the articles that were trickling out at the time about how Pakistan was helping the Taliban. That was amazing to me that Pakistan had the balls to do that. For all the trouble they caused us and all the “help” we’ve given them. I was mad! But like an idiot I see a story at the same time about how Afghanistan “found” a trillion dollars worth of minerals in their country. I swallowed it hook line and sinker. (more…)
General Stanley McChrystal’s piece in the magazine Rolling Stone is being talked about in the media about all the “offensive” things that him and his aides say about the Obama administration. After reading the article it becomes clear that there is a hidden message between the lines. Afghanistan cannot be won. The war is un-winnable. It’s gone on longer than Vietnam and there is still no end in sight. The article in Rolling Stone is a great read and the media will love the quotes that bash Obama and make the General look like a sophmore on spring-break more than the leader of the greatest military in this world. To me the most offensive thing in it was the fact that the General drinks “Bud Light Lime”.
After reading it I don’t know if I like the guy or hate the guy. One thing is certain I respect the guy. Here is a comment from the article-
McChrystal dismissed the counterterrorism strategy being advocated by Vice President Joe Biden as “shortsighted,” saying it would lead to a state of “Chaos-istan.” The remarks earned him a smackdown from the president himself, who summoned the general to a terse private meeting aboard Air Force One.
I hate to admit it but Biden may be on to something. He envisions small groups of Special Forces and drone strikes. I hate Biden and think he’s a clown but the current strategy is not working.
He (Obama) ordered another 21,000 troops to Kabul, the largest increase since the war began in 2001. Taking the advice of both the Pentagon and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he also fired Gen. David McKiernan – then the U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan – and replaced him with a man he didn’t know and had met only briefly: Gen. Stanley McChrystal.
He accumulated more than 100 hours of demerits for drinking, partying and insubordination – a record that his classmates boasted made him a “century man.” (concerning McChrystal’s record at West Point)
Obama got his guy. McChrsytal. If Obama didn’t know what or who McChrystal was then shame on him. Just another indication of his amateur hour Presidency that we witness on a day by day basis.
According to sources familiar with the meeting, McChrystal thought Obama looked “uncomfortable and intimidated” by the roomful of military brass.
He should be. He knows that he’s in a room full of guys who have accomplished some major things. Some men and women who have sacrificed everything in their lives “to protect and defend the Constitution”. These are people Obama has no clue how to interact with. He knows they expect results from their underlings and when they say things lives hang in the balance. Obama is very unfamiliar with that.
Then, without ever using the words “victory” or “win,” Obama announced that he would send an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan, almost as many as McChrystal had requested. The president had thrown his weight, however hesitantly, behind the counterinsurgency crowd.
McChrystal wanted 40,000 troops. Obama sent 30,000. If your willing to send 30 why can’t you send 40? Obama wants to appear like he’s a hawk on this issue. The numbers show the truth. Either your all in or your not.
“It’s not going to look like a win, smell like a win or taste like a win,” says Maj. Gen. Bill Mayville, who serves as chief of operations for McChrystal. “This is going to end in an argument.”
This is what the Chief of Operations has to say. Very cryptic.
In private, Team McChrystal likes to talk shit about many of Obama’s top people on the diplomatic side. One aide calls Jim Jones, a retired four-star general and veteran of the Cold War, a “clown” who remains “stuck in 1985.” Politicians like McCain and Kerry, says another aide, “turn up, have a meeting with Karzai, criticize him at the airport press conference, then get back for the Sunday talk shows. Frankly, it’s not very helpful.”
That is pretty self explanatory. And disturbing.
“Fuck, when I came over here and heard that McChrystal was in charge, I thought we would get our fucking gun on,” says Hicks, who has served three tours of combat. “I get COIN. I get all that. McChrystal comes here, explains it, it makes sense. But then he goes away on his bird, and by the time his directives get passed down to us through Big Army, they’re all fucked up – either because somebody is trying to cover their ass, or because they just don’t understand it themselves. But we’re fucking losing this thing.”
The soldiers serving over there are left feeling vulnerable and feeling like they are fighting with one hand tied behind their backs. Would you want to fight the Taliban with one hand tied behind your back? Notice the words “we’re losing this fucking thing.” It’s not being said by a member of Code Pink.
“It’s all very cynical, politically,” says Marc Sageman, a former CIA case officer who has extensive experience in the region. “Afghanistan is not in our vital interest – there’s nothing for us there.”
I would assume that all the members of Al-Qaeda who were participants in 9/11 have been captured or killed except for the big two. Zarquairi and Bin Laden. Who are we fighting now? Taliban? Afghans? What do we gain by staying there?
Celeste Ward, a senior defense analyst at the RAND Corporation who served as a political adviser to U.S. commanders in Iraq in 2006. “That’s the game we’re in right now. What we need, for strategic purposes, is to create the perception that we didn’t get run off. The facts on the ground are not great, and are not going to become great in the near future.”
Is that what this is all about? War for war’s sake. Keep throwing men, machines and money into the meat grinder in some satanic game of chicken? Are we trying to avoid another Saigon? Is it a sin for a country to realize that a war is a lost cause? When America left Vietnam did America survive after that? Yes. We did our damage to Al Qaeda and we killed a lot of enemies over there. How many more young Americans have to lose arms and legs and lives for us to get the message that Afghanistan is a sewer not worth our effort?
“There’s a possibility we could ask for another surge of U.S. forces next summer if we see success here,” a senior military official in Kabul tells me.
If that is the case then re-instate the draft. It’s too much to keep asking people who volunteer to serve to have to be in a un-winnable situation. If it’s so important to America then all Americans should have to step up to the plate. And start the draft with the children of the highest tax brackets first. None of this poor and black go first garbage. Then we will see how committed our country is to Afghanistan.
“Winning hearts and minds in COIN is a coldblooded thing,” McChrystal says, citing an oft-repeated maxim that you can’t kill your way out of Afghanistan. “The Russians killed 1 million Afghans, and that didn’t work.”
I can say honestly if Afghans can’t decide or won’t decide if they want to support America or the Taliban then they need to get what’s coming to them when the Taliban role back in country en mass. There should be NO DEBATE about winning hearts and minds. If they can’t decide if THEY want to risk their lives to save their own country or they would prefer the Taliban then we need to leave.
As for McChrystals’ comment that “The Russians killed 1 million Afghans and that didn’t work.” Well it’s not like they fought Russia alone. They had tremendous support from America in the form of weapons and manpower and money from the Middle East. Take away America’s stinger missiles and it’s a different war. We all know that Pakistan is helping the Taliban. If that is not a sign of how messed up the situation is then what is?
There is a reason that President Obama studiously avoids using the word “victory” when he talks about Afghanistan. Winning, it would seem, is not really possible. Not even with Stanley McChrystal in charge.
All the major media will drone on and on about McCrystals’ comments that are disparaging to Obama and his advisors but the serious subject matter is the question of “Can America win this war?” “How long do we have to be there?” “How much will it continue to cost?” “How many more lives of Americans do we have to deliver to Afghanistan for victory? “Do we even know what victory is?”
I like war just as much as the next average American. I supported Iraq and I still think it was poorly executed but strategically sound. It took out Saddam Hussein and put Iran in a tough position. But even that war wasn’t won til the Iraqi’s got a taste of Al Qaeda in their neighborhoods, turned on them and literally chased them out of An-Bar province, and the surrounding provinces.
When do the Afghani’s decide what they want? Only then will America understand what they will get. Either go in full throttle or get out. No in-betweens. We can’t keep our troops in Afghanistan to die a death of a thousand cuts. If you feel that I’m being a lefty or a liberal, then sign up your son or daughter, and we can debate who’s a patriot another day.
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Like the old bag lady that dies living a life of poverty and squalor only to find out she had millions in the bank. So are the fortunes of Afghanistan. Government officials told the New York Times that they believe there is up to $1 Trillion dollars worth of minerals buried in Afghanistan and the mother lode in lithium. Lithium is used in Blackberry’s, laptops, and cell phones. Basically the most important mineral of the next century and Afghanistan is loaded with it. Things just got interesting.
I was speaking with a friend yesterday asking him how he felt about the war in Afghanistan. He told me “If we knew what winning is, then yeah, we should try and win.” We were talking in the context of the War on Terror. This discovery changes everything. The find was made by the Pentagon and American geologists and the future of Afghanistan just got either brighter or darker. Brighter for the fact that the country has such huge potential to become a mega-mining country capable of employing and caring for it’s citizens. Darker for the fact that the country was basically left alone because they had “nothing” of value to other nations. All that has changed. China, Pakistan, India, Russia, and the United States all want these minerals. Who is going to get rich off them? Time will tell. But the stakes in Asia have risen considerably.
In theory all Americans must feel like the Afghan’s owe America much of the opportunity to exploit these resources. We have invested a ton of money and blood into this country and have seen very little in return. Afghanistan can use these resources to help stand up on their own two feet and re-pay the favor to America for liberating it from the Taliban, investing in their soldiers and infrastructure.Most likely what will happen is that Afghanistan will use western loans to develop the mining operations and with those profits take care of their citizens and spend the rest on American military hardware and paying back the bankers who loaned them the money. The mined lithium will be used for the batteries in the future cars of the next century.
Conspiracy believers will now put this discovery into perspective. Out with the old theory of trans-Afganistan pipelines funneling oil and gas to the nations of India and China as America’s motivation for being there. Now it will be all about the minerals and the “knowledge” that the U.S. government knew it was there all along. It will take many, many years for this discovery to be developed and manufactured into a viable economic capability for Afghanistan. But once it is, as one government official stated, Afghanistan could become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium”.
Afghanistan record store of the 1950's
Afghanistan wasn’t always a country filled with rocks for houses and women covered in burqua’s. It was much more. It was human. And with this discovery it gives the Afghanistan people the opportunity and the wherewithal to make it a country of whatever the people want it to be. To be an Afghanistan that can go from rags to riches.
The country not only has lithium but it also has large deposits of niobium, a soft metal used in producing superconducting steel, rare earth elements and large gold deposits in Pashtun areas of southern Afghanistan. I personally was wondering why the Pakistani’s were helping the Taliban. Now I know. As they said in the old west “thers’ gold in dem darn hills!!” Absolutely true. And us silly Americans thought they were looking for Osama Bin Laden in those caves all this time. Silly us. To the Afghans we say,” We have shown you our goodwill now let us become partners in a new future for Afghanistan. Let us help you achieve your potential.” To the other countries of the world,simply put,”Stay the hell out of Afghanistan. You had no desire to be there before. Don’t come around now.” And to the Pakistanis’. You’ve done nothing but destabilize this country for the last 20 years. Check yourself before you wreck yourself. Leave our “friend” alone.
And to my friend. This changes everything. We are never leaving Afghanistan. Not for a long, long time. We’ve invested way too much.
On January 21 the New York Times printed an article about the United States providing un-manned drones to the Pakistan military to help battle Al-Qaeda along its porous northern border. Since that time Pakistan has been killing or capturing Al-Qaeda terrorists at a breathtaking pace. The article mentions- “The CIA reportedly succeeded in killing the head of the Pakistani Taliban — the most recent in a flurry of drone attacks the agency has launched in South Asia and the Middle East. Another strike in Pakistan reportedly took out one of the FBI’s most wanted terrorists; another in Pakistan took out a master bomb-maker for the al Qaeda affiliate in the Philippines, Abu Sayyaf; and a strike in Yemen targeted a senior military leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the group behind the Christmas Day attack (his fate has yet to be determined).”
2010 is becoming known as The Year of the Drone as top-level Al Qaeda leaders have been rolled up into caskets or jail cells. What took so long? Since the Al-Qaeda attack on the C.I.A. on January 7, 3 major Al-Qaeda officials have been killed. Now the news that Pakistan police may have captured the American Taliban Adam Gadhan. Since the C.I.A. personal were attacked it appears that the war has gone into overdrive or has it been since the U.S. “gave’ Pakistan the drone technology?
To me it appears quite clear that a deal has been made. Pakistan in return for some of the best technology America has to offer is rounding up Taliban and Al-Qaeda. Did they know where they were at the whole time? Are the results gained from time and experience or are the Pakistanis playing a global game of poker and using the Al Qaeda members as chips to throw in the pot. I think if you read between the lines it’s quite clear. Now America is going to send Pakistan “smart bomb kits“. I will bet big money that in return for the smart bomb kits Pakistan is going to come up with some big fish. If the lower level leadership is worth drones. Is the top-tier worth smart bombs? Pakistan seems to be fully cooperating with the United States now. It appears that as America makes friends, with its technology, Osama bin Laden is losing his friends. One drone strike at a time.
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56Rebels presents some material that could bring you some insight into what is happening in Afghanistan. Great photos of Afghanistan, Pakistan, the U.S. Military fighting the Taliban. And a rare and behind the scenes video of the Taliban setting up to kill Americans.
927. That’s the number of soldiers who have died in Afghanistan according to Washingtonpost.com- Fallen Heroes Project as of today. That’s almost 1000. Every life lost impacts a mother, a father, a brother, a sister, or even a son or daughter. And according to the powers that be we can expect a surge of casulties to increase as our planned troop levels increase. Not too appealing. Every American knows why we are there. And I have a plan to get us out or at least keep our troops out of the crosshairs.
Now to win in Afghanistan we need to set clear goals . I was under the impression that we went to Afghanistan to kill Osama Bin Laden and drive out the Taliban who were harboring him. Eight years later and we have no trace or intelligence that leads us to believe we know where he is at. Is he in the Swat Valley? Maybe he is and maybe he’s not. America had our chance to kill him at Tora Bora and the powers that be were either too incompetent or were not interested in letting America’s Boogie Man get taken out of the picture for any myriad of reasons.
Vice President Joe Biden likes to throw out some bizarre mathematics when he says “we have $1 invested in Pakistan for every $30 we have invested in Afghanistan”. Joe Biden would like to see that number reversed.With reasons that range from “that’s where Al-Qaeda is” or that “Pakistan is the country with nukes” and that endangers America more than Afghanistan. Well Joe your wrong. Afghanistan needs that much because they have nothing. Zilch. Zero. Pakistan is getting more than enough money. They have an economy. They can even afford nuclear weapons. You know those pointy things that demolish a city. Yeah, they have them and fighter planes. So excuse me if I don’t think that we should have to buy them billions of dollars of weapons and equipment so the Afghans can beat back the Taliban with prayer rugs. According to Joe Biden’s philosophy we should give all the college funding money to rich white kids. Why? Because their the ones who go to college. We need to build up Afghanistan period. Pakistan is playing us. I’m not saying that they haven’t done a good job in the War on Terror. They caught Khalid-Sheik Mohammed, the mastermind behind 9/11, and other Al-Qaeda cronies. Back during the Cold War nations knew that if you went to America and told them you had Communists in your country and needed help the money would pour in. That is the same situation with Pakistan. They will do just enough to make us happy but not enough to destroy the problem because big money is to tied to their struggle with Al-Qaeda. Once AQ is done, so is the gravy train.We must continue funding Afghanistan.
Every talking head on television loves to come on the screen and sprout off “Afghanistan is ruled by warlords”. And? That is a bonus. A country ruled by lords of war. Because we are fighting a war. The game is to get the “warlords” to fight our enemy. Basically in a nutshell what we need to do is give these “warlords” an incentive to keep their territory free from Taliban and Al-Qaeda. How? Real simple. There is an old Afghan saying,” you can’t buy an Afghan. You can only rent him”. Now what we need to do is make these warlords rich by having them deliver peace. We need to have our CIA/Military figure out who has muscle in that country. Who can protect civilians and keep peace and quiet. Who are the political and military Alpha-males. Once we identify these people we need to make them this offer. If you can get roads paved and built in your area we will give you x amount of dollars. For every school and clinic that opens and does not get destroyed or harmed. We will give you x amount of dollars. For every IED or soldier that gets harmed in your territory you will forfeit a percentage of your monthly income that you generated by the roads, schools, and clinics. For every Al-Qaeda you capture or kill you will be rewarded. You can get more bees with honey.
Buy up the poppy crop. We are continously told that the poppy crop is funding the insurgency or the Taliban/Al-Qaeda. Ok. We know the farmers are going to grow the poppies. We have to accept that. In return we buy up the crop so that our enemies can’t use it for funding. Once we have it we then destroy it. Now the farmers have a customer in us and not an adversary. And the Taliban will have to find another way to make money.
Finally use Americans as the backup for the Warlords. If the Warlords are having problems with Taliban and Al-Qaeda they can ask for help and it will not hurt their financial bottom line. We need to know where and who the insurgents are then we can destroy them. To have our soldiers playing Kabul Policeman is ridiculous. Afghans need to learn to protect their country. We have bought them enough time. Now we are there to help. But to drive from town to town and get blown up by I.E.D.’s is only going to lose the war. We need to make progress every day and every hour. Progress is a semblence of normalcy.
These are just some ideas that I feel could help. Afghanistan is an empire killer. But America does not fall into the trap that other countries have in the past. We do not want to own Afghanistan. We want them to be able, so that when we leave, they can beat back the Taliban. Without a Taliban then there is possibly no free hand for Al-Qaeda to build camps and re-start up the process that was before America came. No Taliban in Afghanistan. No Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. And then when we look at Afghanistan we can see cleary that we have won.
I'm 34 years old. Politically I am a moderate. I believe firmly in Free Speech. Any comments are allowed. I do not censor. I only moderate for SPAM. You can contact me directly at 56Rebels@gmail.com