Antiwar.com’s Week in Review | October 28, 2011
IN THIS ISSUE
- Mission accomplished in Libya?
- Surge in Af-Pak isn’t working
- The continuing role, post-Iraq
- The empire turns to Africa
- Assorted news from the empire
- What’s new at the blog?
- Antiwar Radio
- Support Antiwar.com!
Mission Accomplished in Libya?
Both NATO and the United Nations declared an end to the mission in Libya. National Transitional Council (NTC) chairman Mustafa Abdul Jalil had requested earlier that NATO continue its bombing campaign through at least the end of December and add "military advisers" on the ground. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said if it is formally requested, the alliance could "assist" the new Libyan government, particularly in the areas of defense and security.
Even as the NTC promises a devotion to democracy and the rule of law – promising, for example, to prosecute Gadhafi’s executioners – many see NATO forces being pulled back into the country, pointing to a nascent civil war, war crimes by NTC fighters, unsecured stockpiles of weapons, and undemocratic tendencies in the leadership.
Not Going Washington’s Way in Af-Pak
Official claims that U.S.-trained Afghan forces will soon take control of security are outlandish – and probably just for public consumption in an election season – especially since it was only last month that Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, the U.S. commander responsible for training those Afghan forces, said that not a single Afghan army battalion can operate without assistance from U.S. or allied units. Additionally, the insurgency is as strong as ever after it launched a series of coordinated attacks this week.
Further confrontation between the U.S. and Pakistan over the latter’s alleged ties to Afghan insurgents continued this week. Violence, ostensibly aimed at the Haqqani network near the Khyber, escalated along the border, causing tens of thousands of refugees. A pair of U.S. drone strikes against North and South Waziristan killed at least 11 people this week, including Khan Mohammed, a previously unknown "deputy leader" of Maulvi Nazir’s Taliban faction.
Promising a Continuing Presence in the Region
U.S. presidential candidates and government officials in practically lined up this week to condemn the "withdrawal" from Iraq. At the same time, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta assured critics that the U.S. is keeping massive numbers of combat troops in the region, including tens of thousands in tiny Kuwait. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said people shouldn’t mistake the withdrawal from Iraq for an end to the U.S. presence in the region. Meanwhile, the media largely ignored news that ongoing U.S. training programs in Iraq are immensely wasteful and inefficient and that ordinary Iraqis can barely wait for a U.S. exit.
Somalia and the Escalating U.S. Role in Africa
U.S. drones joined the Kenyan and African Union soldiers’ war in Somalia this week. As the carnage from the Kenyan invasion of Somalia became clear and the Somali president announced his opposition to the attacks, it was revealed that the most recent fighting, particularly in southern Somalia, is drastically worsening an already dire humanitarian situation for millions of innocent Somalis.
American military intervention throughout Africa is a growing phenomenon. Since the creation of Africa Command in 2007, weak and unorganized militant groups throughout the continent have become an increasingly relevant threat, Americans are told. The use of drones, military advisers, small elite ground forces, and support for obedient dictatorships has so far made up the approach. But the increasing focus augurs well for the American empire and poorly for both Americans and Africans.
Assorted News From the Empire
- Speaking on a visit to Indonesia, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said the U.S. "remains a Pacific power" and vowed that the U.S. would "continue to strengthen our presence in this part of the world."
- Syria’s military is increasingly divided, and a nascent armed mutiny is leading many to predict Bashar al-Assad’s imminent ouster.
- The Pentagon assured Americans that the Uganda deployment won’t be open- ended, estimating the mission to last several months.
- Tens of billions of dollars created by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and shipped to Iraq to fund the war have been lost or stolen.
- Congress is trying to avoid the trigger mechanism in the debt deal that would cut the defense budget if the supercommittee doesn’t propose to cut $1.5 trillion over a decade.
- The Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan has decided to not reveal its findings to the public for another two decades, despite its stated purposes of investigating and exposing government waste.
What’s New at the Blog?
Jason Ditz pointed out that the talk of the Libya intervention as a successful new template is just a bunch of spin, and he discussed the shameful media lies about Iran’s nuclear capability. L. Reichard White pushed back against the claim that Obama’s Iraq withdrawal was based on his campaign promises. Brian Beyer fretted over the ability of pro-war progressives to applaud Obama’s hawkish foreign policy and presented an embedded journalist’s alternative view of what happened in Libya. Matt Barganier debunked the myth that Democratic control over this past decade would have avoided the Iraq War.
John Glaser discussed early reports of NTC war crimes, demonstrated the falsehoods embedded within the R2P doctrine of humanitarian intervention, noted Obama’s quiet but brutal expansion of the empire in Honduras, railed against increasing U.S. support for the tyranny in Uzbekistan, reminded readers of the old adage that when goods don’t cross borders, soldiers will, drew a distinction between America’s overt military withdrawal and the covert military surge, and revealed the lies behind the defense industry’s warnings about unemployment if the Pentagon budget is cut.
Justin Raimondo wrote about Lindsey Graham’s unceasing support for war, why governments make war, and how imperialism is corrupting the soul of America. Philip Giraldi speculated on the cynicism of the prospect of Obama winning the peace vote. Ivan Eland remarked on the unusual withdrawal from Iraq as a good, albeit unintended, outcome. Kelley B. Vlahos analyzed what looks like growing antiwar sentiment in the "Occupy" movements and the country as a whole.
Scott Horton had on Glenn Greenwald to talk about his new book, With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful. Kevin Zeese was on to discuss the unfair treatment of Bradley Manning and his mission at Come Home America. Gareth Porter explained the truth behind the so-called withdrawal from Iraq. Luc Côté described the reality of life in America’s post-9/11 torture prisons. Sheldon Richman was on to discuss the illegality of Obama’s Libya intervention and the potential for blowback. Jason Ditz provided news updates on Libya, Somalia, and Tunisia. Will Grigg talked about the American empire and the rising police state being employed against "Occupy" protesters. John Glaser analyzed the U.S. suppression of the Arab Spring and Obama’s cozying up to Uzbekistan. And James Bovard was on the show to discuss the tenth anniversary of the PATRIOT Act.
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