Berto Jongman: The Costs of War — Human Costs, Economic Costss, Social + Political Costs with Alternatives and Recommendations

Berto Jongman

Berto Jongman

Over 350,000 Killed by Violence, $4.4 Trillion Spent and Obligated

The wars begun in 2001 have been tremendously painful for millions of people in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan, and the United States, and economically costly as well. Each additional month and year of war adds to that toll. Moreover, the human costs of these conflicts will reverberate for years to come in each of those four countries. There is no turning the page on the wars with the end of hostilities, and there is even more need as a result to understand what those wars’ consequences are and will be.

The goal of the Costs of War Project has been to outline a broad understanding of the domestic and international costs and consequences of those wars. A team of 30 economists, anthropologists, political scientists, legal experts, and physicians were assembled to do this analysis. Their research papers are posted and summarized on this website.

We asked:

  • What have been the wars’ costs in human and economic terms?
  • How have these wars changed the social and political landscape of the United States and the countries where the wars have been waged?
  • What have been the public health consequences of the wars?
  • What will be the long term legacy of these conflicts for veterans?
  • What is the long term economic effect of these wars likely to be?
  • Were and are there alternative less costly and more effective ways to prevent further terror attacks?

Some of the project’s findings:

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Aug 16

Berto Jongman: Citizens in Brazil Take Over Their Story

Berto Jongman

Berto Jongman

How social media gives new voice to Brazil’s protests

Street protests continue to rock Brazil and, frustrated by mainstream media coverage, a new group of citizen journalists is using digital tools to tell a different side of the story

EXTRACT

But the battles are not just being waged on the street. Angered by what they see as a misrepresentation of the issues by traditional media, new independent media collectives and networks have emerged over the past year. Armed with smartphones, digital cameras, and apps such as Twitcasting and Twitcam that allow them to broadcast live online, they are presenting their own version of events. Some of them are reaching a huge audience across the country and are now looking to expand their reach internationally.

One such group is the Mídia Ninja, a self-styled loose collective of citizen journalists, which first emerged during last summer’s protests. They are keen to present an alternative narrative to the mainstream media by reporting live from the frontline.

Read full article.

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Apr 28

4th Media: America’s Threat-Centric [Lie-Based] Education System: Out of Date and Out of Time

4th media croppedAmerica’s Threat-Centric [Lie-Based] Education System: Out of Date and Out of Time

“History is a story. That’s why we fight over history. We make sense of ourselves, the world and ourselves in the world through the struggle to tell the truth through stories. Facts have to be contextualised to become the truth. And that truth is a struggle that is constantly fought over. It is not given. And telling stories helps to create debate about that truth. That is why working people should tell their stories. Truth is a class issue. I would appeal to all your readers, especially to young ones, to make their own political films; shoot interviews, especially with older comrades, and dare to express themselves on the screen. Film making is for everybody. I would be looking at the new technologies. They are disruptive and a problem in capitalist society…That’s why they want to close down the Internet if they can. Politicians don’t like allowing people to communicate anonymously with each other. They want to restrain freedom … But still for a while there is a window of opportunity and freedom. They monitor you, but don’t yet stop you. That will come, of course…[But] it’s where people ought to be, where creative people and political people ought to be.” Tony Garnett interviewed by the editors of WSWS

How can young people be encouraged and coached to narrate a “true” history of their lives and times in the world—and the events, people and geography that influence them—for the bulk of their literate existence (i.e., 21st Century literate to include visual and technological literacy)?

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Oct 28

NIGHTWATCH: China Spanks US, US Attacks Afghan Convoy Against All Existing Rules of Engagement

China-US: The official Chinese news agency Xinhua published today a signed commentary about the failure of “Pax Americana.” Excerpts follow.

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Oct 15

Chuck Spinney: When a KGB President Lectures the USA — And Holds the Moral High Ground…Say What?

Chuck Spinney

Chuck Spinney

Who Benefits From America’s State of Perpetual War?


Putin Lectures Obama

by FRANKLIN C. SPINNEY, COUNTERPUNCH, SEPTEMBER 12, 2013

That our Noble Peace Prize winning President and the Congress needed a rational lecture [also attached below] on the need for a little common sense in foreign policy, from a graduate of the KGB, says a lot about about the degraded nature of domestic politics in the United States.

Domestic politics do not end at the water’s edge, as the foreign policy elite would like us to believe. On the contrary, any nation’s foreign policy is always a reflection of its domestic politics. (see for example, Robert Dallek’s insightful history, The American Style of Foreign Policy: Cultural Politics and Foreign Affairs.) The political soap opera surrounding Obama’s quest to bomb Syria is a case in point. Two thirds of the American people opposed the war, yet elites have been debating how to ignore the will of the people. These domestic politics are the real subject of Putin’s lecture. Implicitly, his lecture is also about the democratic duty of American citizens to reign in the elites claiming falsely to be acting in their name.

Should a former KGB agent be giving advice to the people of a constitutional democracy?

Think about the pathway that ‘democracy’ has travelled on over the last twelve years: On September 11, 2001, the entire world was on the side of the United States. In fact one of the largest, if not the largest, of the world wide demonstrations in support of the United States was a mass vigil in Tehran, Iran — a country we promptly denounced as being part of an axis of evil. Twelve years later, America is increasingly isolated, its leadership elites having used 9-11 as a pretext to fabricate rationales for invading Afghanistan and Iraq and for bombing Libya, Yemen, Pakistan, and Somalia. Now Syria is in the crosshairs for reasons that are questionable, to put it charitably, and once again, the elites are fabricating stories to get their way.

America is in a state of perpetual war with large parts of the Muslim world. America is viewed by more and more people around the world, including some of its non-Muslim allies, as a self-righteous, narcissistic super power that believes its exceptional status gives it the right to bomb and bully anyone it deems to be a ‘threat’ to its interests or moral values.

Putin’s subliminal message may well be: Look, we ended the Cold War; now, at long last, is it not time for America to undergo a national introspection of its own and end its state of perpetual war, before it further destabilizes even larger swathes of the world?

Perhaps we, as the owners of our government, should be asking ourselves questions like –

How did our country land itself in a state of perpetual war?

Is our President, a man who excited the world, including Syria,* with promises to change in America’s behaviour, the cause of the problem evoking Putin’s lecture? Or is Mr. Obama merely a front man presiding over a deeper, more profound set of domestic political distortions? Is he a protector of an increasingly dysfunctional, distinctly un-American status quo domestic political apparat that benefits the richest one percent at the expense of the masses?

How and why did the American people allow their elites and political representatives — Republicans and Democrats alike — to exploit 9-11 in an arbitrary way to place our nation on a grotesque moral pathway into a shameful state of mismatches between the (1) values we profess to uphold and others expect us to uphold, (2) those values we actually hold dear as demonstrated by our actions, and (3) the conditions in the world we have to contend with?

But most importantly, with respect to domestic politics of America’s state of perpetual war, Cui Bono?

———————

*I was in Levantine, Syria in the summer of 2008, and the excitement on the street over Obama’s possible election and the promise it held for the Middle East was palpable and infectious.

Franklin “Chuck” Spinney is a former military analyst for the Pentagon and a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, published by AK Press.

——[Putin's Lecture below the line]—–

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Sep 13

4th Media Et Al: Syria Round-Up 3.0

4th media cropped4th Media:  Syria Will Never Give in Even If There is World War III : Taken Every Measure to Retaliate, If hit by US-led Military Strike

Berto Jongman:  Meet the Syrian Islamist Organization Controlling Senator McCain’s Agenda

Berto Jongman

Berto Jongman

Berto Jongman:  Syria: wish you were here

Berto Jongman:  The Human Cost of the Syrian Civil War

David Swanson:  Congressman Robert Hurt (R., Va.) Not Convinced by Case to Attack Syria

Jon Rappaport:  War in Syria: Evidence? We don’t need no stinkin’ evidence

Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius:  U.S. Considering Using Military To Train Syria Rebels

Paul Craig Roberts:  How to Stop Obama’s Military Aggression Against Syria

Paul Craig Roberts:  Pat Buchanan asks: Just Whose War Is This?

Paul Craig Roberts

Paul Craig Roberts

Paul Craig Roberts:  US Government Stands Revealed to the World as a Collection of War Criminals and Liars

See Also:

Berto Jongman Et Al: Syria Round-Up 2.0

 

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Sep 6

Ioannis Koskinas & Kamal Alam: Reconciliation foolosophy: Fishing without bait

Cianni Koskinas

Cianni Koskinas

使用谷歌翻译在下一列的顶部。

गूगल अगले स्तंभ के शीर्ष पर अनुवाद का प्रयोग करें.

Google sonraki sütunun üstünde Çevir kullanın.

Используйте Google Translate на вершине соседней колонке.

گوگل اگلے کالم میں سب سے اوپر ترجمہ کا استعمال کریں.

Kamal Aman

Kamal Alam

Reconciliation foolosophy: Fishing without bait

By Ioannis Koskinas, Kamal Alam

Foreign Policy, 14 June 2013

The United States, Afghan, Qatari, and Pakistani governments have all voiced their support for the opening of a Taliban office in Doha in order to promote peace negotiations.  Some consider transforming the Taliban from an armed insurgency into a legitimate political group to be the critical first step in the Afghan peace process. However, to date, reconciliation efforts have stalled and focus more on rhetoric rather than substance.

There is no concrete evidence that Taliban leadership is either worn down or desperate to reach a peace agreement.  Attempting to secure his legacy as a peacemaker, Afghan President Hamid Karzai wants to reach an agreement before the end of his term in April 2014. Because the Taliban have also cooperated somewhat with this principle of reconciliation, it is not immediately clear why the current approach has achieved nothing.

Viet-Nam Viet-Cong Redux

Viet-Nam Viet-Cong Redux

The answer is that the Doha peace process has been riddled with unrealistic expectations, and remains hopelessly inconsistent.  Such reconciliation efforts without strategy and clear objectives reflect a hook without bait – while encouraging, these talks are doomed to fail without significant reform.  Only with realistic expectations, a coherent strategy, national solidarity, and lots of patience, will reconciliation stand a chance of materializing.

Where We’ve Been Thus Far

The reconciliation offer requires three specific things from the Taliban: ending violence, breaking ties with al-Qaeda, and accepting the Afghan Constitution. The fourth, less advertised condition is the acceptance of a residual ISAF element in Afghanistan post-2014. At a recent summit in London, British, Afghan and Pakistani leaders set a six-month timeline to reach a peace settlement.

But substantive results are unlikely to emerge until after the 2014 Afghan Presidential elections. This is the single most important date in the reconciliation process and will set the tone for future debate.  A six-month deadline to reach an agreement is not only unrealistic, but also damaging to the credibility of the process.

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Sep 2

Gianni Koshinas: What Afghanistan Needs After 2014: A lighter, smarter, long-term commitment

Cianni Koskinas

Cianni Koskinas

使用谷歌翻译在下一列的顶部。

गूगल अगले स्तंभ के शीर्ष पर अनुवाद का प्रयोग करें.

Google sonraki sütunun üstünde Çevir kullanın.

Используйте Google Translate на вершине соседней колонке.

گوگل اگلے کالم میں سب سے اوپر ترجمہ کا استعمال کریں.

What Afghanistan Needs After 2014:  A lighter, smarter, long-term commitment

Gianni Koshinas

Foreign Policy, 12 February 2013

Maintaining a large military presence in Afghanistan is not in the strategic interests of either the U.S. or the Afghan government. It does not help the United States accomplish its long-term goal of countering terrorism from the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, nor its short-term goal of helping Afghanistan achieve stability and self-reliance in fighting insurgency. It is also economically unsustainable. However, retaining a smaller, lighter, residual presence in Afghanistan is critical to U.S. strategy and vital to core U.S. interests.

Additionally, U.S. strategy in Afghanistan must be based on a vision that goes out decades: Considering only short-term goals amounts to strategic myopia, unworthy of the sacrifices made by almost 2,200 U.S. service members in Afghanistan alone.

A Case for Lighter, Smarter, Long-term Residual Presence

With Osama Bin Laden dead and al-Qaeda’s capabilities diminished in the Af-Pak region, the immediate threat of attacks on the U.S. from the region has greatly diminished.  But the ingredients that could help Al Qaeda regenerate in the next decade remain, and thus the mission endures.

In fact, the “surge” of U.S. troops in Afghanistan in 2009 had little to do with bin Laden; rather, it was an attempt to rescue the failing mission of stabilizing Afghanistan. Bin Laden was hunted and killed not by the surge, but by a small, specialized group, the likes of which I argue should remain in Afghanistan to monitor and guard against the long-term threat of terrorist cells.

More importantly, a comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy must include the training of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) to counter domestic threats. But this will take significantly longer than estimates suggest.  As such, the U.S. must alter its stated strategy in Afghanistan to consider the training and equipping of the ANSF a key element of its plan to counter threats, and support Afghanistan in its domestic fight against terrorists that, left unchecked, could re-emerge. The numbers of trainers must be kept low and should not be outsourced to contractors.  Currently, the only elements specifically designed to counter insurgencies are the U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF). Considering the nuanced task, the training force should be predominantly SOF.

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Sep 2

Berto Jongman: Ahmed Kashid on Why, and What, You Should Know About Central Asia

Berto Jongman

Berto Jongman

EXTRACT:

China and Central Asia

None of the works under review provides the full answers to these questions, although Alexander Cooley’s book, Great Games, Local Rules, comes closest. They all agree on the unprecedented rise of China’s influence in Central Asia. Marlène Laruelle and Sébastien Peyrouse, scholars at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., demonstrate in The Chinese Question in Central Asia that China is already the dominant economic power in the region.

Click on Image to Enlarge

Click on Image to Enlarge

China has also taken care of one vital strategic interest since 1991: making sure that the Uighurs, China’s largest Muslim ethnic group who live in the western province of Xinjiang, do not seriously threaten to become independent and that the hundreds of thousands of Uighurs who live in Central Asia do not help them do so. During the 1950s large numbers of Uighurs fled the Maoist regime to seek shelter in Soviet Central Asia where they were relatively well treated.

After 1991 China put immense pressure on the three Central Asian states that border Xinjiang—Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan—to tightly restrict all Uighur political activity on their soil. China offered sweeteners such as resolving the border disputes that had plagued Chinese–Soviet relations in Central Asia for decades. Within a decade the borders between China and the Central Asian states were demarcated and settled, allowing for China’s rapid economic involvement in the region.

Still, Uighur nationalism and Islamic militancy have continued to mount in Xinjiang, as China has inundated the province with Han Chinese and severely repressed the Muslims. While the Uighur populations in Central Asia have been largely silenced, some Uighurs have been training and fighting with the Taliban in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

During the past decade China has invested heavily in Central Asia. Laruelle and Peyrouse write that

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Sep 2

Berto Jongman: What Do Afghan Insurgents Want?

Berto Jongman

Berto Jongman

Understanding Afghan Insurgents – Motivations, Goals, and the Reconciliation and Reintegration Process

Who Are They? What Do They Want? Why Do They Fight?

This paper presents the results of 78 in-depth interviews conducted with self-identified Afghan insurgents. If the interviewees are indeed representative of broader Taliban sentiments, then the future of Afghanistan is grim. It appears that only the return of a ‘pious’ Islamic government will satisfy them.

Author: Andrew Garfield, Alicia Boyd

Series: FPRI Monographs and Essays Issue: 3

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Aug 7