Is a Child Not a Child?
may have been worthwhile to mention in the article that Omar Khadr is accused
of throwing a grenade that killed an American soldier and injured others; perhaps
by doing a little research of their own your readers could come up with the
rest of the information that should have been in the article and which would
help them better form a judgment as to whether or why this individual should
have been detained.
~ Robert Borland
I've written at
length previously about the charges against Omar: how he is accused of throwing
a grenade that killed a U.S. soldier, and how there appears to be a good case
that the U.S. authorities either suppressed evidence – or altered evidence
after the fact – which indicated that Omar may not actually have been responsible
for throwing the grenade. (There's a whole article about his background if you
link in the first line).
The issue at stake
here is not why he was detained; it is about his age at the time he was seized,
and the refusal of both the U.S. and Canadian governments to meet their commitments
under the UN's Optional Protocol. But even putting aside Omar's age for a moment,
if you want to raise the issue of Omar's capture, perhaps you could explain
to me why it is that, having been caught in a military context, during an ongoing
military occupation, Omar was not regarded as an Enemy Prisoner of War, and
protected from "cruel and inhuman treatment" and coercive interrogations, according
to the rules laid down in the Geneva Conventions, and was regarded as a terrorist
instead. Is it really acceptable, in Bush and Cheney's Brave New World, for
U.S. soldiers in a military context to be soldiers, but for anyone who opposes
them to be labeled a terrorist?
the 'Amber Light' Turned Green?
always bothers me about this kind of article is that all these matters are military
secrets and the people who deal with them don't simply blab them to their favorite
barman or worse yet, to journalists. Those who do blab secrets simply never
get to be "senior Pentagon officials"! I am therefore always inclined
to assume that this sort of pseudo-confidential information is a plant and is,
essentially, U.S./Israeli military propaganda designed to keep the pot simmering,
so to speak, in the hope that the Iranians will get scared and make a mistake.
If even little ol' me smells a rat, what are the chances that the Iranians,
with several thousand years of successfully playing international power politics
behind them, are likely to be fooled?
~ Michael Kenny
dear reader, you have not spent several decades in various "policy implementing"
positions in our nation's capitol. Some of us have a pretty good idea who that
"senior Pentagon official" is, know how he came to be there and remains
there, and think we know why he "blabbed." If "we" thought
it was idle chitchat, I wouldn't have written the column. I encourage you to
reread a column I wrote on 14 September 2002, entitled "No
nukes in Iraq – what then?" and others like it.
several imbecilities in Buchanan's piece, "Liquidating the Empire,"
I was particularly struck by his comment, "Where Ike spent 9 percent of
GDP on defense, Reagan 6 percent, we spend 4 percent."
Of course Ike
was waging the huge Korean War. And Reagan, under the sway of notorious prevaricators
Rumsfeld and Cheney and Wolfowitz, was boosting defense spending to counter
a grossly exaggerated, "imminent" threat from the then-collapsing
USSR. (See Robert Parry's repeated dissections of this "hidden history,"
Dubious Praise for Reagan," and see also the Atlantic Monthly's
good piece, "Reagan
and the Russians.")
But Buchanan must
be a sucker for government fictions if he really believes we currently spend
a mere 4% of GDP on defense. It's more like 10%, and the evidence for this comes
from "right-wing sources," not the "anti-American left."
First up is Paul
B. Farrell's piece, "America's
Outrageous War Economy!" You'll find it at the Wall Street Journal-maintained
Web site, marketwatch.com.
Farrell says we're
spending $1.4 Trillion on defense per year. We have a $13 Trillion dollar economy.
You do the math. 10% is conservative!
O.K., so maybe
Farrell hates America.
Very well, then,
lets turn to Robert Higgs, Ph.D., whose piece, "The
Trillion-Dollar Defense Budget Is Already Here" was published by the
libertarian Independent Institute on March 15, 2007. Higgs unmasks our true
defense costs. Ex-Afghanistan, ex-Iraq and ex-Homeland Security Department,
the basic tab, as of 17 months ago, is $1Trillion per year. Add those "supplemental"
costs – two ongoing wars and Homeland Security – and we're at $1.4
Trillion + today, easy. That's about $10,000 per American worker, per year.
But don't be surprised
that "conservatives," particularly self-described, and proud, "fiscal
conservatives" tout the official total. It's how they justify chastising
the poor, infirm and elderly to be "more reasonable" about the assets
they drain from the feds. Those squandered resources, they argue, could be better
spent on boosting our "flagging" defense!
right in on this theme, ticking off scads of new "threats" for which
our military-industrial, protection racketeers clamor to protect us against,
for a small fee, of course. To his credit, Buchanan says that we need to retreat
from the role of Toppo Coppo. But the reasons he gives are not that we have
no business being in that line of work in the first place, but that we need
to quit because we can't afford to do it anymore!
But, the fact
is we can afford adequate defense. For let's just look at who our potential
"real" enemies might be... – Russia and China. Combined, they
spend something in the vicinity of $100 Billion/year on defense. And if you
add up all the money the entire rest of the world spends on defense, it's some
~$500–600 Billion. We scarcely need to be spending at least twice what
everyone combined spends, if not three times as much!
It's our ever-expanding
defense budget that poses the greatest threat to our national security. For
it's no longer about defending us from any likely, or even possible, threat
anymore. It's about saving corrupt defense contractors, legislators and lobbyists
from the unemployment line and the prison cell. And, of course, it's about bringing
home the (borrowed) bacon, too!
~ Gary L. Aguilar,
Palled Around with Terrorists, Too
acknowledged erroneously placing Gulbuddin Hekmatyar in the White House;
there are other errors in the piece as well. Hekmatyar and Ahmad Shah Massoud
received roughly 19-20% of arms shipments. There did exist Pakistani Army and
ISI opposition to Massoud due to his collaboration with the Soviet 40th Army.
Also, the story that Hekmatyar threw acid in the faces of women who refused
to wear the veil, has been discredited. Vitaly Mitrokhin, a KGB archivist who
defected to the West and wrote The KGB in Afghanistan, claims this story
was KGB "active measures" or disinformation. This was done, according
to Mitrokhin, due to the fact that Hekmatyar was the most effective anti-Soviet
fighter. Milt Bearden, former CIA station chief in Islamabad said this story
was "classic KGB disinformation."
~ Bruce G. Richardson