(10AM EST – promoted by Nightprowlkitty)
This past weekend July 25, saw 3 major on line news publications, the New York Times , The Guardian UK, and Germany’s der Speigel publish the Afghanistan War Logs, 90,000+ documents from wikileaks, which show that the United States and NATO forces have been killing many more civilians in the Afghanistan occupation than has been previously acknowledged. The war of the air vs the ground explosives has also ramped up in neighboring Pakistan, where, since January 2009, according to the BBC, nearly 2,500 people have been killed by either American drone attacks or by Islamic or Pakistani ISI forces- and “extremists” have killed more than 1,700 in Pakistan. There have been more than 2000 Afghan casualties from roadside bombs. Adding up all the numbers and then some, there’s at least 7,000 dead from the war in this border region.
Using a theory I read about elsewhere, if each one of these deceased casualties has at least 6 surviving relatives, parents, siblings, and/or offspring, the United States has just created, with the aid of whatever factions they’re paying in Pakistan, at least 36,000 more angry people whose religious warrior culture teaches them that it’s okay to extract revenge upon the invading enemy.
The release of the wikileaks documents coincided as to occur before the American House of Congress voted on a war supplemental spending bill, which the Senate has taken domestic spending out of, which of course, passed anyway.
Now that the American public had no excuse for not knowing, what happened with the 111th Congress ?
Reps. Kucinich (OH 10) , Ron Paul (TX 14), and Bob Filner (CA 51) introduced a resolution directing the President to remove the US Armed Forces from Pakistan unless formal war was declared. On July 27, at 6pm, it failed by 38 to 372. Six Republicans voted Yea with thirty two Democrats.
Roll call #473, Republicans whom should be applauded for recognizing undeclared wars are not a good intrepretation of the Constitution:
John Campbell CA 48
John Duncan TN 2
Timothy Johnson IL 15
Walter Jones NC 3
Ron Paul TX 14
Dana Rohrabacher CA 46
Several members of the House Democratic progressive caucus merely voted “present” instead of yes or no. Eleven yes votes came from California and included both parties.
Yes votes, which said no to undeclared wars @ Pakistan, CA delegation, 9 Democrats
Woolsey, Miller, Lee, Stark, Lofgren, Farr, Napolitano, Sanchez, Filner
plus J. Campbell and D. Rohrabacher, Republicans
Another state with 6 votes against this, including a true bipartisan delegation was Illinois with 5 Democrats and Timothy Johnson of the 15th district. Texas was also true bipartisan with Paul (R) and Ortiz (D) voting aye.
New York had 5 Democrats vote yea, Towns, Clarke, Velaquez, Serrano, and Maffei. Missouri had 2, Clay and Cleaver.
North Carolina’s Republican Walter Jones of the 3rd district truly went against the mold by being the only one of his state delegation of either party to vote yea. So did John Duncan (R, TN 2) The Resolution Sponsor, Ohio’s Dennis Kucinich (D), of the 10th district was the only one of his state to vote yea also. So did McDermott of Washington state and Baldwin of Wisconsin, and Sires of New Jersey. Delahunt of Massachusetts, Edwards of Maryland, Lewis of Georgia, Grijalva of Arizona, Pingee of Maine, Ellison of Minnesota.
All of the above were doing their job in instructing the President that only the Congress is supposed to be able to declare war according to the Constitution.
This was followed by another vote, #474, on the Afghan War 2010 Supplemental funding, renamed the Senate Amendment to HR 4899, which passed, 308 to 114. http://www.govtrack.us/congres…
Even the title of the final bill was a perversion, it had started out as a “disaster relief and summer jobs bill,” then stripped of its original contents and turned into a war surge supplemental to ease its passage without having to go through reconciliation. Hence the seemingly wrong title on the roll call #474 for HR 4899 http://clerk.house.gov/evs/201…
I will let Rep. Judy Chu (D) of CA 32 explain why she and 114 other representatives, including 12 Republicans, voted against this.
Today’s legislation cut $10 billion in funding to prevent teacher layoffs, $1 billion for summer youth employment, $5 billion for Pell grants and $701 million for border security, all of which were offset and budget-neutral, from the previous version of the appropriation bill. It provides $37.12 billion in war funding that has not been paid for and will increase the national debt.
“Today I voted against extending and expanding the Afghan War because I’m tired of seeing investments in American jobs, education and security become the victims of friendly-fire,” said Chu. “The vote to finance this war on the backs of future generations, while cutting programs to increase those same generations’ earning power and educational attainment is a tragic one. Removing almost $17 billion in paid-for, budget-neutral investments in teachers, students and border security, while pushing through over $37 billion in war spending that only adds to the debt without making us more secure is a mistake. If we continue down this path, this war’s biggest casualty will be our children’s futures.”
The Senate ALSO cut the Dept of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affair’s settlement payment on the Cobell case, a very long standing (14 years) mineral royalties for Indian tribes dispute, and the settlement to the African American farmers who had won another discrimination judgement against the USDA.
Majority Leader Reid may be complaining, but it’s the Democratic majority Senate which just chopped $3.4 billion out of the bill for the Cobell settlement, by amending it, 46 to 51. http://www.indiancountrytoday….
They also conveniently cut $1.2 billion out that was to settle the black farmer’s lawsuit. Shirley Sherrod, the USDA worker who was swiftboated by Brietbart and subsequently fired by Ag Sec Vilsack, then apologized to, had also won a $13 million dollar settlement last year. http://www.philly.com/inquirer…
This was why Fox News and the neocon conservative astroturf groups like the Republican “21 project” had been carefully setting up the NAACP and Shirley Sherrod to be slimed, for weeks.
And yet our government just misplaced nearly twice that amount in Iraq.
BAGHDAD – A U.S. audit has found that the Pentagon cannot account for more than 95 percent of $9.1 billion in Iraq reconstruction money, spotlighting Iraqi complaints that there is little to show for the massive funds pumped into their cash-strapped, war-ravaged nation.
Not to mention Afghanistan
The failure to properly manage billions in reconstruction funds has also hobbled the U.S.-led effort in Afghanistan. About $60 billion has poured into Afghanistan since 2001 in hopes of bringing electricity, clean water, jobs, roads, and education to the crippled country. http://www.philly.com/inquirer…
Nearly nine years after the start of the war, they paint a gloomy picture. They portray Afghan security forces as the hapless victims of Taliban attacks. ……
And they show that the war in northern Afghanistan, where German troops are stationed, is becoming increasingly perilous. The number of warnings about possible Taliban attacks in the region — fuelled by support from Pakistan — has increased dramatically in the past year.
The documents offer a window into the war in the Hindu Kush — one which promises to change the way we think about the ongoing violence in Afghanistan.
Despite repeated requests, the White House refused to provide any comment in time for the deadline of the printed edition of SPIEGEL. On Saturday evening, however, a White House official finally provided written answers to select questions about the content of the reports obtained, but refused to grant an interview….. Rhodes said: “We strongly condemn the disclosure of classified information by individuals and organizations that put the lives of the US and partner service members at risk and threatens our national security.”
The editors in chief of SPIEGEL, the New York Times and the Guardian have agreed that they would not publish especially sensitive information in the classified material — like the names of the US military’s Afghan informants or information that could create additional security risks for soldiers stationed in Afghanistan. The publishers were unanimous in their belief that there is a justified public interest in the material because it provides a more thorough understanding of a war that continues today after almost nine years.
Although President Obama used the leaked documents to rationalize his Afghanistan surge strategy (which includes droning Pakistan), as I thought he would, and downplayed the fact that the Pentagon is searching for and intends to criminally prosecute the leakers, instead asking the House to pass the Senate version of the war funding supplemental, which they did, he’s letting others do the dirty work for him of pretending to be outraged while …. talking about it anyway.
The Wall Street Journal, haven for Too Big to Fail and Too Arrogant to Care, first accused wikileaks of endangering Afghan civilians, then claimed there was really bad stuff in there that our enemies really needed to check out, (!!!) but then claimed that other publishers (never themselves, of course) shouldn’t be prosecuted, but merely censor themselves for the good of the public attitude
7/29/2010 WSJ calls wikileaks “bastards”
But they are of considerable interest to America’s avowed enemies and strategic competitors such as Russia and China.
“If I had gotten this trove on the Taliban or al Qaeda, I would have called this priceless,” says former CIA director Michael Hayden. “If I’m head of the Russian intelligence, I’m getting my best English speakers and saying: ‘Read every document, and I want you to tell me, how good are these guys? What are their approaches, their strengths, their weaknesses and their blind spots?'”
If American voters come to believe that newspapers or websites are cavalier about putting U.S. soldiers or allies at risk against our enemies, politicians will follow the public mood. The press will put its own freedom in jeopardy.
Which brings up the next question- after 9 years and 286 billion dollars dumped into this, $31 billion a year, why DON’T they know what the Taliban or the dregs of al Qaeda are doing in such a small and supposedly impoverished country ? And aren’t we supposed to have secured it by this point so that the population is not getting murdered ? http://costofwar.com/
Contrast this to this op ed written by Robert Grenier, former CIA chief of station in Islamabad, Pakistan during the late Clinton – early Bush years of 1999 to 2002, and former director of the CIA’s counter terrorism center. Also note the sort of strange place I found it- Al Jazeera in English. Grenier does not think that the wikileaks Afghanistan War logs reveal anything classified as “secret,” and is another person who is shrugging their literal shoulders and acting like “okay, we knew that the Pakastani ISI is playing both sides, nothing new here.”
US needs lesson in secret keeping Tues 7/27/10
All in all, however, from available accounts – and political embarrassment with the Pakistanis aside – there seems to be very little in this material which would genuinely constitute “serious damage” to US national security – the definition of an appropriately-classified “secret” document.
It must also have a potentially chilling effect on US military report writers themselves, who now have reason to believe that they are in fact writing for a general, global audience. It cannot be a boost to greater clarity or candor for them to suppose that what they are writing is likely to come into the hands of those motivated to present such information in a tendentious and negative context.
The US system is built upon checks and balances. Where potentially sensitive national security information in the US is concerned, however, it often seems that the only effective check on what is published is the judgment and discretion of the publishers themselves.
For that perhaps small subset of illegitimately revealed information which is of genuine national security concern and should remain secret, the US needs to devise an impartial system for determining what leaked information meets those criteria, and taking effective action in such cases against those who violate the public trust: That would be the leakers, and not the publishers.
Reading this, it certainly sounds like the NATO Triumvirate of Times, Guardian, & Speigel ran all of what was offered past the CIA first as to not get themselves in trouble.
And this brings us to everybody’s favorite reasonable, moderate Republican, Senator Graham of South Carolina, the go- to Republican Senator, whenever the allegedly Democratic majority Senate needs to indulge its inner cravings for more Bipartisanshipthingee, who patiently helps write Bipartisanshipthingee Senate bills on things like “climate,” which are then deep sixed because of his deep concern, who now wants to criminally prosecute the wikileaks site and its owner, Julian Assange.
Graham, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a reserve military lawyer, seemed to go further than other GOP colleagues by calling for the prosecution of Wikileaks itself, and not just the source of the leaks.
“I’m willing to prosecute anybody who led to undermining the war effort,” Graham said during an appearance on Fox News.
“As far as I know, there’s no immunity for a website to be able to pass on documents,” Graham added, responding “yes” when asked directly if the website should be prosecuted.
Obviously the NYT, Guardian UK, and der Speigel have websites.
Which war would that be, again ? The one on teachers, minority farmers, or the one on schoolchildren ?