Justin Raimondo on Bill Meyer Show

Antiwar.com’s Editorial Director Justin Raimondo will be interviewed on the Bill Meyer Show Friday, June 18th at 8:10am Pacific/11:10am Eastern, for KMED, Medford, OR. The topic will be Mr. Raimondo’s recent column, Afghan Bling, regarding the curiously timed announcement on Afghanstan’s untapped mineral riches.

Listeners can enjoy the audio stream as well as a video feed from the host here.

Update: The archive of the interview can be heard here.

Counting Afghanistan Casualties…Through 15 Other Countries

Although several news outlets spent the day barking about the Afghanistan death toll crossing the 1,000 mark, the truth is that casualty counting is a little more complicated. Icasualties.org is where the media are grabbing that 1,000 figure. The Web site does report that that the death toll in “Operation Enduring Freedom” has crossed that many deaths, but with one caveat: “U.S. fatalities In and Around Afghanistan remain under this benchmark.”

Clicking one more link will take you to their actual toll for Afghanistan (including neighboring Pakistan and Uzbekistan), which is still 70 shy of the millennium mark. The rest of the servicemembers died in such far away countries as Cuba (Guantánamo Bay), Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Philippines, Seychelles, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkey, and Yemen.

Some have asked me why I care where they died, as it’s still one war. True, but that’s 15 other countries where our relatives, friends and neighbors are dying in this worldwide war. It may not bring them back to notice the details, but it underscores how absurdly spread out the war machine has gotten. And for what purpose?

Blackwater: When Not-So-Nice Guys Finish First

How’s this for a recipe that defies the seeming laws of common sense:

First, take Blackwater, otherwise known as “Xe,” a private security contractor that has been accused of abusive, hostile and violent behavior against the indigenous population of Iraq — including murder — not to mention corruption and intimidation of its employees, throughout the Iraq conflict. Then take the Afghan National Police, probably the most derided institution in all Afghanistan today for its legendary corruption and abuse of the Afghan population. Put them together and what do you get? Well, perhaps we don’t even want to know — but I’d bet money it don’t smell like “victory.”

Apparently the Department of Defense knows better. Laura Rozen over at Politico is reporting that Xe is poised to win a HUGE police training contract in Afghanistan:

Controversial defense contractor Blackwater, now known as Xe, is being told that it is likely to win a major contract to do police training mentoring and logistics in Afghanistan, a source tells POLITICO.

According to the well-informed source, U.S. authorities in Iraq including Gen. Stan McChrystal and US Ambasador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry had urged the Defense Department to issue the police training contract through DoD as opposed to through State/International Narcotics and Law Enforcement. DoD decided to use existing contract vehicles, where there are only five primes to use: Lockheed, Raytheon, Northrup, Arinc (owned by the Carlyle Group), and Blackwater.

None of them know anything about police training, the source said. Of those five, several decided not to bid, including Raytheon. Arinc’s parent company, Carlyle, got cold feet, was fearful that the contract could hurt the company’s reputation if people got killed. Lockheed was close to making a deal with DynCorp to do the police training, but decided against it. Instead it bid on the logistics part of the contract. (The contract has two parts- TORP 150 – police training; TORP 166 is logistics).

The only company to bid on both parts of the contract — the police training, and logistics parts — was Blackwater, the source said. Northrup decided to bid on the police training with MPRI.

I’m no expert, but if this war over there  is all about doing battle with the Taliban for the “hearts and minds” of the people, then hiring Blackwater –  whose name is so synonymous with arrogance and brutality that they had to change their own moniker –  to train the Afghan police might not be very good “strategic communications.”

UPDATE: Maybe when Blackwater gets the contract, they’ll give the Afghan police back their guns.

WHICH ‘safe haven,’ Mr. Obama?

If things run on schedule, Mr. Obama will announce tomorrow that he and his organization will be sending approximately 34,000 more U.S. troops to harass and sometimes kill men, women and children (as “collateral damage”) in Afghanistan.  And then he has to sell his unpopular decision. If previous statements are any guide, his main excuse will be “We have to deny al’Qaeda ‘safe haven’.” 

Question: “If you believe the official mythology,

1. “In what country did the 911 al’Qaeda pilots get ‘safe haven‘ to train

2. “In what country did the Madrid train bombers get ‘safe haven‘ to prepare?

3. “In what country did the London bombers get ‘safe haven‘?”

HINT: It’s NOT Afghanistan.

The answers to the three questions are:

 1. U.S.A.

 2. Spain

 3. England

How many troops will Mr. Obama send to THESE terrorist states to deny al’Qaeda ‘safe haven?’

By way of context, there are approximately 193 countries in the world, each of which can supply al’Qaeda with equivalent ‘safe haven.’

According to CIA and military intelligence sources, currently there aren’t 100 al’Qaeda operatives in all of Afghanistan.  So, Mr. Obama, what are your other excuses?

How idiots win hearts and minds – – –

ORZALA ASHRAF: What would you expect from those children who lost their feet or their arm or their mother or their father during that kind of bombing? What would you expect from them? Do you expect them to join the peace process? Do you expect them to say, “I have excused you”?… –Rethink Afghanistan: Filmmaker Robert Greenwald Launches Film Opposing Escalation of War

Hiroshima AND Nagasaki: The Inside Story

    At 8:16 on the morning of August 6, 1945, the world got a glimpse of its own mortality. At that moment, the city of Hiroshima was obliterated by a fireball that sent waves of searing heat, then a deafening concussion, across the landscape. Three days later, a second bomb hit Nagasaki. … [President Dwight D.] Eisenhower said in 1963 "It wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing."
    … Besides the Manhattan Project’s internal momentum was an external motive. Its leaders had to justify the $2 billion ($26 billion in today’s dollars) expense to Congress and the public… Byrnes…warned Roosevelt that political scandal would follow if it [the atomic bomb] was not used. … "How would you get Congress to appropriate money for atomic energy research [after the war] if you do not show results for the money which has been spent already?" …the U.S. had produced two types of bombs–one using uranium, the other plutonium. Whenever anyone suggested that the moment the bomb was dropped the war would be over, [bureaucrat] Groves countered, "Not until we drop two bombs on Japan." As [historian] Goldberg explains… "One bomb justified Oak Ridge, the second justified Hanford." Hiroshima was hit with the uranium bomb, nicknamed "Little Boy"; the plutonium bomb, "Fat Man," was used against Nagasaki.

From Why We Dropped The Bomb By William Lanouette, CIVILIZATION, The Magazine of the Library of Congress, January/February 1995

ADDENDUM (After 32 comments):

It’s hard for Americans who identify with the U.S. Government to accept the idea that that organization could have engaged in such horrendous acts — twice in three days — without pristine motives.

Here’s what Vietnam era U.S. Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara — who was part of Gen. Curtis LeMay’s command when the bombs were dropped — thought about it:

McNamara: “He, and I’d say I, were behaving as war criminals.