Friday, April 16, 2021
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So You Thought We Were Winding Down Our Wars?

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With the United States having already removed its combat troops from Iraq with great fanfare, and obliged by agreement to withdraw all remaining forces by the end of 2011, and since President Obama has repeatedly assured us the draw-down of troops in Afghanistan will indeed begin in July 2011 as well, it is understandable that you might have assumed that American military adventures in foreign lands were being sharply curtailed, at the very least in Iraq and Afghanistan. You would, however, be wrong, as has been unequivocally made obvious in a not-so-tongue-in-cheek article by Tom Englehardt and Nick Turse from Tomdispatch.com, reprinted in AlterNet recently.

If we are leaving both Iraq and Afghanistan in 2011, why are we spending additional millions and millions of dollars building additional military facilities there, most of which will not even be finished by the end of 2011?  "Construction is slated to begin on at least three $100 million air base projects" which will not be completed until long after July 2011 (at Shindand Air Base for Special Operations, at the Marine base at Camp Dwyer for Special Operations, both in Iraq, and at Mazar-e Sharif in northern Afghanistan) plus there are requests for another $1.3 billion additional 2011 fiscal funds for military construction "pending before Congress." Englehardt and Turse are here quoting from Walter Pincus of The Washington Post.  

There’s a Mosque at the Pentagon, Oh My!

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For all the anti-Muslim bigots out there - Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, and the whole crazy lot of 'em - read this and enjoy as their heads explode from cognitive dissonance overload!
Navy imam Chaplain Abuhena M. Saifulislam lifted his voice to God as he called to prayer more than 100 Department of Defense employees Monday at a celebration of Ramadan at the Pentagon.

God is most great, sang the lieutenant commander and Islamic leader, in Arabic, as iftar - the end of the daily fast began.

Uniformed military personnel, civilians and family members faced Mecca and knelt on adorned prayer rugs chanting their prayers in quiet invocation to Allah.

Wait, a mosque? Inside the Pentagon? Which was attacked on 9/11? That's ok, but a cultural center on private property, several blocks from "Ground Zero" in NY City, must be "refudiated?" Yeah, right, gotcha! As Salon Magazine snarkily writes, "Yes, Muslims have infiltrated the Pentagon for their nefarious, prayerful purposes -- daring to practice their religion inside the building where 184 people died on Sept. 11, 2001. They haven't even had the sensitivity to move two blocks, let alone a mile, away from that sacred site."

Commence exploding Islamophobe heads!

P.S. Of course, the Pentagon is located in commie-controlled Arlington, after all, so what else would you expect? Heh.

Mutiny Among the Military

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UPDATE: This was first published in bluecommonwealth.com over a year ago; in view of the Rolling Stone article I am re-printing it now. At the time, I was concerned about the politicization of the military by President Bush, and the growing power of the military-industrial complex under his administration, coupled with a virulent anti-Obama group of rising younger officers. Today we see the results. Note unedited e-mails circulating among younger officers.

One week after his inauguration Barack Obama is facing the first security test of America and his presidency, and the attack is coming not from sinister jihadist cave-dwellers, but from the Pentagon and a disgruntled cabal of both retired and active-duty top-ranking military officers. Included in the group are General David Petraeus (author of the "Surge" in Iraq, named CENTCOM Commander by Bush in October 2008), General Ray Odierno (replaced Petraeus as top commander in Iraq), General Jack Keane, US Army, ret. (Vice-Chief of Staff of the Army 1999-2003), a network of senior (and some not-so-senior) military officers, and very possibly Robert Gates (Secretary of Defense, held over from the Bush administration by Obama). Frustrated by President Obama's determination to withdraw troops from Iraq, there is evidence they are mounting a public relations campaign to trivialize and intimidate Obama into doing as they want, in what amounts to acts of insubordination, thereby creating a constitutional crisis.