Joseph Palermo: After nine years of war the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan lacks support at home and is widely recognized as a drain on the domestic economy in a time of severe economic contraction. The billions of dollars in U.S. economic assistance to the Hamid Karzai government has created an unsustainable class of Afghans who are dependent upon the American largesse and military presence that would be impossible to sustain by local taxes. It is a puppet government that wouldn’t last a day without American arms and money.
Ivan Eland: With the justified firing of Gen. Stanley McChrystal and his replacement with Iraq water-walker David Petraeus, it’s as if people are hoping for a second coming of Jesus in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, the replacement may be similar to the second coming of the water-walking Joe Gibbs as coach of the Washington Redskins.
Ivan Eland: The sad truth is that if Iran wants a nuclear weapon, it will likely eventually get one. So the United States should quit wasting valuable political capital beseeching, threatening, and horse-trading with China, Russia, and other UN Security Council members to incrementally ratchet up likely futile multilateral economic sanctions against I
T. Christian Miller: Officially, military figures show that about 115,000 soldiers have suffered mild traumatic brain injury since 2002. But we talked to military doctors and reviewed unpublished studies that suggest far more soldiers could have sustained such wounds. While most recovery quickly, estimates suggest that between 5 percent to 15 percent go on to develop cognitive problems.
Ivan Eland: Just as he must have been pleased with Bush’s invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq generating more Islamist radicalism, bin Laden would like to bait the United States into attacking its affiliate local groups around the world for the same reason. Foolishly, Obama is obliging him.
Carl Bloice: The purpose in this case is to underscore the contention that the cruel blockade of Gaza is to prevent the smuggling of arms and weapons-making material into the enclave. It is not and never has been. The aim of the blockade is to make life miserable for the 1.4 million Palestinians there in the hope of undermining the Hamas government, which was duly elected four years ago. Gaza is being held for ransom. That’s collective punishment and it’s against international law.
GAry Coseri: The Zionist state demands the right to exist as a Zionist state—a non-signatory of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, bristling with nuclear weapons. Did Yahweh come out of the clouds and declare that this state alone can break all the rules of international decorum with impunity, without censure?
John Peeler: But suppose there were no violence by the activists, just a refusal to comply with what they held to be an illegal seizure of their ships in support of an illegal blockade and an illegal occupation. The Israeli government and military are manifestly completely unprepared for that. They know only how to respond to Palestinian violence with disproportionate force.
Jim Fuller: Israel’s perpetual claims to victimhood, and a supposedly resulting right to brutalize the people of Gaza, Lebanon, and any other peoples it chooses, have worn through at last, at least in the finally opened eyes of a large and growing minority in this country. The claim is a tactic, not a truth.
Congressional Candidate Marcy Winograd (CA-36) questions why her opponent Jane Harman chooses to remain silent in the aftermath of an Israeli assault on the Free Gaza flotilla carrying 10,000 tons of humanitarian aid to over a million Palestinians imprisoned in Gaza.
Winograd stops concert to condemn the actions of the attackers of the flotilla carrying aid to Palestinians in Gaza.
Patrick Henningsen: Just as every cracking wooden fence requires a white wash, so every unsavoury event needs a good cover-up. After the massacre, it’s reported that the Coalition Soldiers removed the bullets from the walls, plastered over the bullet holes, and then tied the hands of the dead victims behind their backs and gagged them.
Ivan Eland: The U.S. government’s inability to distinguish between al-Qaeda, with global ambitions, and the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban, with their local goals, has merely made more enemies, including those who would begin attacking the United States. How are Americans being made safer by this war?
Ivan Eland: Although the Iraqi constitution creates a fairly decentralized state, the most worrisome development for Iraqi unity is Barzani’s increasing demands. Barzani’s electoral gains—and because of Iraq’s post-election political stalemate, his ability to be a king-maker in selecting Iraq’s next prime minister—make him and the Kurds more strident in their quest for autonomy, or maybe even independence, and to grab the ethnically-mixed but oil-rich city of Kirkuk.
David Love: And as far as the U.S. is concerned, a laissez-faire policy of shoulder shrugging has not worked in the Mideast, and neither has the appearance of siding with one party over another. Obama realizes that if there is any hope for stability in the region, he must deal with the Israel-Palestine conflict. Hotheads and peddlers of extremism have a vested interest in the status quo, and would like nothing more than to derail any attempts to transform today’s sad state of affairs.
Ivan Eland: Unfortunately for the United States in Afghanistan, however, the label of “foreign occupier” is an albatross the U.S. will likely never be able to shake or mitigate. Although the Taliban is often brutal (but may now be toning this down in its own realization that it must win greater public support) and unpopular, so is the U.S. occupation and the corrupt client government of Hamid Karzai.
Whether people support Malalai Joya, or passionately disagree with her, few would challenge her right to speak – and it is this right that is being ignored, with impunity, by an administration whose actions indicate no will to respect the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which it is a party.
Ira Chernus: Sometimes, as the Breaking the Silence report indicates, the level of brutality grows beyond comprehension: a five-year-old child beaten; a nine year old who “posed no danger” shot to death; another child with both arms and both legs intentionally broken. The Yediot Aharonoth article offers a series of such horrifying incidents. When the full report is available on the Breaking the Silence website, it will be surely include even more heart-breaking tales.
Joseph Palermo: What the United Kingdom is dealing with is the hangover of the crimes of George W. Bush, crimes that have been conveniently swept under the rug on this side of the pond. Blair was Bush’s poodle and now he finds himself in the hot seat defending the actions of his former master. Seeing a former Prime Minister grilled is a wonderful thing. We’d never see a U.S. president in a similar predicament because, ironically, the president is now more of a monarch than any executive in Britain.
Ira Chernus: On this Martin Luther King Day, then, American Jews face a choice. They can dwell on one casual, misinformed, easily misinterpreted remark that King made and use it to justify continued Israeli intransigence and violence. Or they can remember the words in which he summed up a lifetime of nonviolence, on the last night of his life — “I’m not fearing any man!” — and call on their own government to demand at least a start toward ending the conflict: a genuine halt to all settlement expansion.
Ira Chernus: In tough political times, Israeli leaders know that they always hold one winning card, if they know how to play it right: the fear card. The same anxiety-driven “rally round the flag” effect that works in so many nations — as we saw vividly in the U.S. after the 9/11 attack — has a well-proven track record in Israel.