Posts Tagged ‘military’

Just in case Bush and his Israeli followers start attacking Iran in the name of preemptively preventing a nuclear war, we should turn them in the direction of this NIE study (that’s National Intelligence Estimate, for the uninitiated). It’s not the full study, but it has all of the important conclusions.

The study says that:

We assess with high confidence that until fall 2003, Iranian military entities were
working under government direction to develop nuclear weapons.

• We judge with high confidence that the halt lasted at least several years. (Because of
intelligence gaps discussed elsewhere in this Estimate, however, DOE and the NIC
assess with only moderate confidence that the halt to those activities represents a halt
to Iran’s entire nuclear weapons program.)

• We assess with moderate confidence Tehran had not restarted its nuclear weapons
program as of mid-2007, but we do not know whether it currently intends to develop
nuclear weapons.

• We continue to assess with moderate-to-high confidence that Iran does not currently
have a nuclear weapon.
• Tehran’s decision to halt its nuclear weapons program suggests it is less determined
to develop nuclear weapons than we have been judging since 2005. Our assessment
that the program probably was halted primarily in response to international pressure
suggests Iran may be more vulnerable to influence on the issue than we judged
previously…

• We judge with moderate confidence that the earliest possible date Iran would be
technically capable of producing enough HEU for a weapon is late 2009, but that this
is very unlikely.

• We judge with moderate confidence Iran probably would be technically capable of
producing enough HEU for a weapon sometime during the 2010-2015 time frame.
(INR judges Iran is unlikely to achieve this capability before 2013 because of
foreseeable technical and programmatic problems.) All agencies recognize the
possibility that this capability may not be attained until after 2015.

D. Iranian entities are continuing to develop a range of technical capabilities that could
be applied to producing nuclear weapons, if a decision is made to do so. For example,
Iran’s civilian uranium enrichment program is continuing. We also assess with high
confidence that since fall 2003, Iran has been conducting research and development
projects with commercial and conventional military applications—some of which would
also be of limited use for nuclear weapons.

E. We do not have sufficient intelligence to judge confidently whether Tehran is willing
to maintain the halt of its nuclear weapons program indefinitely while it weighs its
options, or whether it will or already has set specific deadlines or criteria that will prompt
it to restart the program.

Now, while this is only an estimate, the assumptions based therein are surely enough for us, the public, to seriously question any assertion (or military action derived from said assertion) that Iran has nuclear weapons, for now. Now we have the power to cry fowl when the government tells us that Iran has the a-bomb, unlike the situation in Iraq.

Iran is certainly an interesting player on the world stage – but it doesn’t have the nuke yet.

And, after all, who are we to decide who gets and who doesn’t get the A-bomb? Isn’t it in Iran’s best interest to acquire the A-bomb for purely defensive purposes? Yes, I know their regime is crazy, but hasn’t it occurred to anyone that the a-bomb is the ultimate deterrent; no one would be crazy enough to attack them once they got a nuke under their control. As paradoxical as it may sound, they’re willing to risk invasion from Israel and the United States in order to acquire a bomb that would prevent these countries from invading them at all, assuming that they’re actually pursuing a nuke in the first place.

What do you think about Iran?


Share It

Share this post using del.icio.us del.icio.us  Share this post using Digg Digg  Share this post using Facebook Facebook  Share this post using Google Google 
Share this post using Live Spaces Live Spaces  Share this post using MySpace MySpace  Share this post using Newsvine Newsvine  Share this post using Reddit Reddit 
Share this post using StumbleUpon StumbleUpon  Share this post using Technorati Technorati  Share this post using Twitter Twitter  Share this post using Yahoo! My Web Yahoo! My Web 

Advertisements

Well, it’s official: according the MSNBC, all US forces will be out of Iraq by the time 2012 rolls around.

(from the BBC)

Under the deal, US troops will withdraw from the streets of Iraqi towns next year, leaving Iraq by the end of 2011.

The decision will need to go before Iraq’s parliament for a final vote.

America’s National Security Council welcomed the cabinet’s vote, saying it was “an important and positive step” towards stability and security.

The pact is necessary to determine the role of US military forces in Iraq after their UN mandate expires on 31 December 2008.

In October, Iraq sent a new round of suggested changes to the draft Status of Forces Agreement (Sofa), to which the US responded.

Washington had previously said the pact was “final” and could not be amended.

The UK government, which has 4,100 troops in Iraq, is waiting for the US-Iraqi pact to be approved so they can use it as a template for their own bi-lateral deal.

Well, we had to take out our troops sometime, and 2012 seems reasonable, though I’d prefer that we pulled them out earlier. Still, I think this gives the Iraqi government more than enough time to clean up its act and prepare its troops to actually defend against terrorism.

At the same time, I’m not so sure I like this, considering that we have been using Iraq as a launching pad for attacks against Syria, in addition to using our bases in Afghanistan to conduct strikes in Pakistan. Keeping troops in Iraq for any longer amount of time means that it’s possible that we can conduct cross-border strikes into Syria again, and possibly Iran.

There’s no question that we need our troops out, but it looks like Iraq is an eternal damned-if-we-do, damned-if-we-don’t situation. The truth is, we really don’t know what kind of hell we’ll unleash once all of our troops leave the country, and we won’t know for sure until January 1st, 2012.


Share It

Share this post using del.icio.us del.icio.us  Share this post using Digg Digg  Share this post using Facebook Facebook  Share this post using Google Google 
Share this post using Live Spaces Live Spaces  Share this post using MySpace MySpace  Share this post using Newsvine Newsvine  Share this post using Reddit Reddit 
Share this post using StumbleUpon StumbleUpon  Share this post using Technorati Technorati  Share this post using Twitter Twitter  Share this post using Yahoo! My Web Yahoo! My Web 

In the wake of the financial crisis that’s engulfing the world right now, there have been many on the Left that proclaim that capitalism will cease to exist, since it alone (in their deluded eyes) has caused this collapse.

I’m astonished at their ignorance and lack of gratitude for the monetary system that has, singlehandedly (well, along with the establishment of the United States), lifted much of the world out of poverty and into a culture of freedom, free from the monarchs and Communists.

These Leftists spout useless drivel about how it’s capitalism’s fault that people are losing their jobs, that it’s capitalism’s fault that the banks did ill-advised lending, that it’s capitalism’s fault that people are in poverty in undeveloped countries, that it’s capitalism’s fault for somehow putting a gun to the head of our legislators and “making” them institute a $700 billion bailout for these banks. It’s not capitalism’s fault, and I can guarantee that those people who lost jobs wouldn’t have had them in the first place without it, that the banks would commit more fraud without it, and there would be more government intervention without it.

And then they say that capitalism is not moral; that it doesn’t give people living wages and it makes them poor. Except, naturally, they forget that capitalism has lifted hundreds of thousands of people out of poverty and into work, that it allowed people like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs to make millions with a vision for the future and the drive needed to make that dream a reality. Capitalism has let people make money with their work and their skill. It allows the individual to pursue the course that they want (economically), and they are rewarded for their competence – nothing more, nothing less.

It is these hypocrites that do not know what they’re saying when they say, “Capitalism must go!”, because they, truly, don’t have an idea of what capitalism is. They scream that the capitalist system must go, but they have no idea what economic system to put in its place; it is this fact that makes these people ignorant and nothing more than sheep. They don’t understand that, in eliminating capitalism, you must erect something with the structure of socialism (perhaps even Communism) in its place, which would surely destroy the framework of this country and all the worlds’ economies. Surely, if we’re going to remove capitalism, where capital is held and moved primarily by the private sector, we must consolidate it within the public sector – giving more control of the economy to the state.

It is this that reveals the true hypocrisy of these fools. These are probably the same people who (correctly) say that our government has grossly mishandled and misled us into two wars, the government that is putting most of its money into feeding the military-industrial complex in doing so, and is corrupt to the core. But, in destroying capitalism, these people are advocating letting the very same government run our economy, giving out handouts as they wish. How does that make any sense? Our main legislative body has a single-digit approval rating, and these imbeciles think that we should give them more control over the country?

This is why capitalism cannot and will not fall: the citizenry will wake up and realize that more (bad) government isn’t the remedy to the situation. In fact, it’s more poison.


Share It

Share this post using del.icio.us del.icio.us  Share this post using Digg Digg  Share this post using Facebook Facebook  Share this post using Google Google 
Share this post using Live Spaces Live Spaces  Share this post using MySpace MySpace  Share this post using Newsvine Newsvine  Share this post using Reddit Reddit 
Share this post using StumbleUpon StumbleUpon  Share this post using Technorati Technorati  Share this post using Twitter Twitter  Share this post using Yahoo! My Web Yahoo! My Web 

The BBC reports:

More than 20 people have been killed in two suspected US missile attacks in northwest Pakistan near the border with Afghanistan, security officials said.

About 15, including an al-Qaeda leader, were killed in an attack near the village of Mirali, North Waziristan.

In a second attack, seven people were killed in South Waziristan.

The US military has not commented. It has launched many missile strikes from Afghanistan against suspected militant targets recently.

Officials named the al-Qaeda leader in Mirali as Abu Akash, believed to be Iraqi.

Local officials told the BBC that at 2030 (1430 GMT), a drone fired two missiles and destroyed the target – a house in the Esori area about 30km from the town of Mirali.

Are you kidding me? Refer to yesterday’s post. By conducting attacks on other nations’ soil, we are doing nothing but helping al-Qaeda & Co. with their recruiting. We are, in an attempt to destroy them, becoming like them, except with full-fledged state sponsorship and a professional military. These attacks are doing nothing but helping them justify their anti-Western ideology.

When will we learn?

Share!

add to del.icio.us :: Add to Blinkslist :: add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank :: post to facebook

Within the past two months, we have launched two attacks to capture al-Qaeda leaders in other countries’ (that is, countries that aren’t named Iraq and Afghanistan) territory. Yes, I realize that we were potentially going after high value targets, but that doesn’t justify going into a sovereign nation’s territory and killing innocent civilians in order to track down a terrorist. Our government seems to forge that this is the real world, and that there are actual international laws to be complied with. To not do so, obviously, will have implications.

That is, if other countries, including our allies, are willing to call us out on it.

Here’s what I find most unsettling about our actions in the Middle East: Russia invades Georgia because of Georgia’s human rights abuses in Georgia’s own unethical invasion of their own territory (see here), and our leaders are up in arms, saying that Russia has no business invading a sovereign nation and we are all Georgians and all that other nonsense. (Let’s also note that Barack Obama jumped on that bandwagon as well, pandering to those whose primary source of news is cable television, which accounts for 70% of the population, if I were to estimate that figure.)

But we send troops into Pakistan and Syria to pursue our own agenda, capturing al-Qaeda members, without the consent of said countries. How is this not different than Russia’s “invasion of Georgia”, except on a much smaller scale? Violating a sovereign country’s territory is crime enough, no matter the size of the invasion.

Take this hypothetical, for example: suppose we received word that Russia launched a helicopter raid in the US, trying to track down a criminal ex-KGB officer, who killed innocent civilians, and so on. In the process of the raid, they killed a few innocent Americans. What’s more, the Russians failed to release an official statement regarding the attack, or its violation of the United States’s border security.

Would we not retaliate against the Russians, citing their unlawful “invasion”, even though the raid would only consist of a number of troops in the double digits (at most!)? Wouldn’t America be up in arms that Russia killed civilians? Wouldn’t we whine to our allies in the European Union and the UN that Russia broke international law? Of course we would. Now, when the Syrian foreign minister accuses us of using “criminal and terrorist aggression”, we know exactly where he’s coming from. If we were in his shoes, we’d think the same exact thing.

Bookmark

add to del.icio.us :: Add to Blinkslist :: add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank :: post to facebook

After finally reading Orwell’s much celebrated dystopian story 1984, I put some pieces together and determined that Orwell’s version of the future was similar to ours in many aspects — which is ironic considering the Party shown in 1984 was communist and the Bush administration is anything but.

In 1984 (a take on the horrors of Stalinist Russia), the Party controls everything, especially the people who are in the party (everyone who is not a “prole”, or worker, is part of the Party). There are telescreens, or two way televisions, in every home, used to spy on the people. The leader, Big Brother, is made out to be a loving, God like figure, when really, he runs a police state. A man by the name of Goldstein is blamed for everything that goes wrong in Oceania (the country the story is set in), and is reportedly heading a conspiracy with the aim of bringing down the Party. The protagonist, Winston, a member of the party, has a job in which he edits historical documents and photgraphs so they meet the demands of the Party. The main practice to keep the Party in power is doublethink, or holding two contrary positions and accepting both as the truth. And, lastly, in 1984, there is what seems to be a never-ending war against a constantly changing opponent, in order to keep people producing goods to be used in said war. Sound familiar?

Here’s a comparison between the Party and our administration:

…the Party controls everything: The Bush administration, without doubt. When you’ve got cronies like Monica Goodling and Alberto Gonzalez hiring and dismissing people just because they weren’t republicans, you know that a Party’s got a grip on internal affairs, crushing outside voices. It’s well known that almost everyone in a position of power in the Bush administration is a devout neoconservative.

There are telescreens used to spy on the people: Well, we don’t have telescreens, but CCTV use in Britain is growing wildly popular, though, admittedly, the cameras don’t catch criminals nearly as effectively as the telescreens did in 1984. CCTV use is, however, a small but important step towards telescreen-like surveillance.

Big Brother: Admittedly, we don’t have an equivalent to Big Brother, in fact it’s startlingly the opposite of that kind of love because Bush is the most hated president since Nixon.

Goldstein blamed for everything: Osama Bin Laden is the definitive scapegoat for this administration, and by linking him with 9/11, he was the administration’s excuse to invade Afghanistan and take away our rights using the Patriot Act and illegal wiretapping by the NSA. Now, unlike Goldstein, Bin Laden’s ideals are somehow worse than the acts perpetuated by this administration.

Winston edits historical documents to serve the party line: How about the Bin Laden “confession tape” or the Habbush letter exposed in Ron Suskind’s book? This administration has been willing to fabricate documents or tapes (in this case) in order to start a war with the ever changing enemy. When we couldn’t find a good reason to invade Afghanistan, it was convenient that Bin Laden was there and an all too convenient coincidence that troops found the confession tape soon after we invaded. We couldn’t find WMDs in Iraq, so we fabricated a letter to say that there were weapons. We have tried to rewrite the past in an effort to control the future just like the Party in Orwell’s book.

Use of Doublethink, or holding two contradictory ideas as truth: This one is the most prevalent and scary out of the similarities. John McCain practiced doublethink when he said, “In the 21st century, nations don’t invade other nations,” when he has repeated many times that he wants to invade Iran. Our president is guilty of doublethink as well: this week he said, “I don’t see America as having problems.” Oh really, Dubya? Let’s look at your State of the Union address from 2006…

Congress did not act last year on my proposal to save Social Security — (applause) — yet the rising cost of entitlements is a problem that is not going away. (Applause.) And every year we fail to act, the situation gets worse.

So tonight, I ask you to join me in creating a commission to examine the full impact of baby boom retirements on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. This commission should include members of Congress of both parties, and offer bipartisan solutions. We need to put aside partisan politics and work together and get this problem solved.

Keeping America competitive requires affordable energy. And here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world.

So, Mr. Bush, I assume that when you say America doesn’t have problems, you mean we’re not addicted to oil anymore and you’ve fixed social security right? There are other examples of doublethink as well: our National Security Agency violates the security of the American people, our Department of Defense attacks other nations, and the Department of Justice has had its fair share of corrupt officials (see lawyer firing scandal). This is not unlike 1984 in which the Ministry of Love tortures and kills, the Ministry of Peace fights wars, and the Ministry of Truth lies.

A never-ending war against a constantly changing opponent: This is the war on terror. In 1984, Oceania is always at war with one of two countries, Eurasia or Eastasia, and that constantly changes. Whoever Oceania is currently at war with, however, has always been the enemy according to the party, though they change who it is on a weekly basis. First, with our government, we thought the enemy was Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda. Then we invaded Afghanistan and switched our focus to getting rid of the oppressive Taliban regime. Once that was done, we pinned Iraq as the enemy, saying Saddam Hussein was ready to use his non-existent WMD’s on us. After toppling Hussein’s government, it occurred to us that there would be an insurgency, and Al Qaeda in Iraq joined the party. Well, now that we’ve lowered the violence in Iraq, the administration has painted Iran as the enemy, saying things like Ahmadinejad said that he would, “wipe Israel off the map.” NOT TRUE. And, in light of last week’s events, Russia’s being painted by the media as “big, bad Leroy Brown” again.

But, you ask, why make all the 1984 links? Why did the Party in 1984 do it?

The thing is that nobody knows, and we’re lucky that we can vote somebody different into office that won’t be as horrid as the Administration. However, O’Brien, a government agent in 1984, says power is not a means, but an end. So, are we just ruled by a bunch of power mongers?

EDIT: Turns out we are — except we, the people, in our fear of another attack, have given up our rights to people who’d exploit them in the name of security. Thus, part of the responsibility is laid on the people who kept Bush in office — the people who supported him. This doesn’t justify the Administration’s actions, but we forget we voted him in twice at times.

Check for the conclusion of the series: Part 5 – The Future tomorrow. Remember to bookmark on delicious, stumble, and digg this post using the buttons below.
add to del.icio.us :: Add to Blinkslist :: add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank :: post to facebook

Can you say, “proxy war”? Original Article

President George W Bush has said the US will use military aircraft and naval forces to deliver aid to Georgia following its conflict with Russia.

Speaking in Washington, he expressed concern about reports of continuing Russian action in Georgia, and urged Russia to respect a ceasefire accord. Mr Bush hinted that Russia could be jeopardising its international ties.

Mr Bush said Russia’s actions had “raised serious questions about its intentions in Georgia and the region”.

“To begin to repair the damage to its relations with the United States, Europe and other nations, and to begin restoring its place in the world, Russia must keep its word and act to end this crisis.”

He said he had ordered a series of steps to demonstrate “solidarity with the Georgian people”, including sending Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to Tbilisi later this week, and launching a “vigorous and ongoing” humanitarian mission.
A C-17 aircraft with humanitarian supplies was already on its way to Georgia, Mr Bush said, and in the following days military aircraft and naval forces would deliver humanitarian and medical supplies.

…Tbilisi’s schools and nurseries were crammed with refugees, many of whom were angry with their leaders for dragging them into a conflict with Russia.

Pardon me for saying, but haven’t we learned that proxy states (a la Afghanistan in the Cold War era) always end up backfiring? Georgia got what it deserved, if you read the early reports, since it was the one committing atrocities first. They launched a tank attack on the South Ossetian capital and hit it with airstrikes. It was not Georgia, but Russia who appealed to the UN Security Council to discuss a way to curb the violence. It was not Georgia, but Russia who tried to inform the international community of the atrocities. I am not supporting Russia because they, arguably, have done worse compared to Georgia, but it was the Georgians, with US weaponry and training, that made this house of cards collapse, not the Russians!

And what are we doing? Giving the Georgians “humanitarian aid” will invariably mean “food, water, and more guns”, and the latter’s unacceptable. More guns/training for Georgia will just lead to later efforts to take South Ossetia under government control, and start the whole conflict all over again. The solution is to give South Ossetia back to the Russians, since the Ossetians’ separatist ways are what compelled Georgian forces to invade and “restore order”

When Bush talks about “Russia’s intentions in the region”, what does he mean? Are we bound to get the rest of NATO in a conflict with Russia which would invariably mean WWIII?

I remind all my readers to stumble, digg, or bookmark (delicious) this post using the buttons below.

add to del.icio.us :: Add to Blinkslist :: add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank :: post to facebook

We started with 9/11 and the invasion of Afghanistan, and continued with our leaders taking away our freedom.

Before starting his War on Terror, George Bush said that the war on terror began with Al Qaeda but did not end with them, saying that the War was “global”. Unfortunately, there are far too many countries that are plagued by terrorism, and to deploy soldiers in every country would spread our forces thinner than they already are. The “War on Terror” should be renamed “War on Terrorist groups that have the ability to attack us” or “War on Al-Qaeda. But the name “War on Terror[ism]” is much too broad. If we’re really waging a global war on terror, why aren’t we fighting the FARC or the ELN in Colombia? Why aren’t we fighting the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka? Why aren’t we fighting the dozens of extremist groups in Pakistan and India?

Because they aren’t going to attack us. That’s why this “War on Terror” name is a sham. We’re just fighting for our own sake, and in my book, that’s okay, as long as we come out and say that. But for the U.S., the most arrogant nation in the world, to play the knight in shining armor and say that they’re going to vanquish evil from the land, while only protecting their own interests in unacceptable.

In the terrorist attacks since 9/11 that were not in the Middle East, at least 12,000 people were injured or killed. The major sites: Russia, Colombia, Pakistan, India, Philippines, and Sri Lanka. Of those, U.S. troops only reside in the Philippines in extremely limited numbers as a part of Operation Enduring Freedom. Again I ask: why did we say that we were having a global war on terror when we’re not really doing so? I understand the focus is on the Middle East, but there is plenty of terrorism elsewhere. So, we’re in this war for a very long time (until the end of time, essentially), and that will prove very costly.

Why not just combat terrorism using law enforcement? If Rumsfeld had paid attention to the threat of Al Qaeda, we could have prevented the 9/11 attacks — we had identified the ringleader of the hijackers, Mohammed Atta more than a year before September 11. Said an article:

Weldon said that in September 2000, the unit recommended on three separate occasions that its information on the hijackers be given to the FBI “so they could bring that cell in and take out the terrorists.” However, Weldon said Pentagon lawyers rejected the recommendation, arguing that Atta and the others were in the country legally so information on them could not be shared with law enforcement.

So, if law enforcement had been allowed to do its job then, we could’ve prevented the tragedy. Law enforcement prevents terrorism or any other crime, not military action.

It’s time for our government to realize that you can’t “fight” terrorism like a real war, because they aren’t sponsored by any flag and they don’t have any land you can take over. We’re fighting an ideology, and that’s why this thing won’t end. Let’s recall the words of John F. Kennedy:

A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on. Ideas have endurance without death.

The idea of radical Islamic terrorism in an effort to bring down the West won’t “die”, and since they are not explicitly sponsored by any state, we can not hope to end it or any other kind of terrorism. Take Nazism for instance. The Allies were able to defeat Nazi Germany because we were fighting the country, not necessarily Nazism itself. Even though we defeated the Nazis in World War II, there are still Nazis today. Why? Because ideas never die. The idea that the West is evil and must be destroyed, as in radical Islamofascism, will continue to be held by somebody who can then spread the idea, making more terrorism, unless we can somehow brainwash every human on the planet. And we all know that won’t happen.

Check back for Part 4 – Orwell’s 1984 and the War tomorrow!

add to del.icio.us :: Add to Blinkslist :: add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank :: post to facebook