An Examination of Gen. Colin Powell’s Bloody Legacy

But the 2003 speech was not the first time General Powell had falsely alleged Iraq had WMDs. In 1991, during the Persian Gulf War, the U.S. bombed Iraq’s only baby formula factory. At the time, General Powell said, quote, “It is not an infant formula factory. … It was a biological weapons facility, of that we are sure,” he said. Well, U.N. investigators later confirmed the bombed factory was in fact making baby formula.

While many in Iraq consider Powell to be a war criminal, just like they consider George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, Powell has long been celebrated at home. Colin Powell was born in Harlem in 1937. His parents had both immigrated from Jamaica. He was educated in public schools, including City College of New York, before he joined the military through ROTC. He served two tours in Vietnam. He was later accused of helping to whitewash the My Lai massacre, when U.S. soldiers slaughtered up to 500 villagers, most of them women and children and the elderly. While investigating an account of the massacre filed by a soldier, Powell wrote, quote, “In direct refutation of this portrayal is the fact that relations between American soldiers and the Vietnamese people are excellent,” he said.

Powell spent 35 years in the military, rising to chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In the 1980s, he helped shape U.S. military policy in Latin America at a time when U.S.-backed forces killed hundreds of thousands of people in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala and other countries. Powell also helped oversee the U.S. invasion of Panama and the Persian Gulf War.

— source | Oct 19, 2021

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If US Had that $6.4 Trillion we wasted on Iraq and Afghanistan

Wouldn’t it be nice if the richest country in the world had some resources stored up to deal with the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and the worst health crisis since the 1918 Influenza Pandemic that killed 600,000 Americans? I mean, we had a $21 trillion a year economy.

George W. Bush and his administration squandered $6.4 trillion on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. With regard to Iraq, that was a war of choice. Iraq had not attacked the United States. Iraq’s secular government feared and hunted down al-Qaeda. Bush just didn’t like the looks of Iraq and decided to whack it.

The US was in a rare moment of global ascendancy. We had won the Cold War. The former Soviet Union was supine. There were no peer rivals in the whole world. The US could have wound down its arms industries, slashed the Pentagon budget, and invested in science and technology and educating the American public in creativity and critical thinking. Late in the Clinton administration we even had a slight budget surplus.

And then Bush pissed it all away. He actually borrowed a lot of the money for his wars, so you and I had to pay interest on their costs. It was sort of like being forced to buy a burned out building and pay interest on the mortgage for the rest of your life. Then he had the bright idea to lift financial regulation, allowing banks and even General Motors (?) to wrap up bad mortgages into securities and sell them like pigs in a poke to unsuspecting investors until that little ponzi scheme collapsed big time.

— source | Juan Cole | May 11, 2020

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The Worst Countries for Women (Afghanistan Isn’t on the List)

Concern-trolling over the dismal plight of women in Afghanistan is powerfully appealing to liberals who look for reasons for the United States to maintain a military presence there. If and when the Taliban return to power, the warmongers argue, the bad old days of stonings, burqas and girls banned from school will come back—and it’ll be our fault because we didn’t stick around.

Outrage over women’s inequality is often only ginned up in the service of some other aim, like invading Afghanistan or banning transwomen from high school girls’ sports teams. Scratch the thin veneer of phony feminism and the true agenda, which has nothing to do with women or girls, is quickly exposed.

You may be surprised to learn that, according to a U.S. News & World Report analysis of data provided by the United Nations, Afghanistan isn’t among the ten worst countries for women. Which nations do have the worst gender inequality?

— source | Ted Rall | Jul 22, 2021

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U.S. Budgetary Costs: $8 Trillion

U.S. BUDGETARY COSTS The vast economic impact of the U.S. post-9/11 wars goes beyond the Pentagon’s “Overseas Contigency Operations” (War) budget. This chart and the attached paper estimate the more comprehensive budgetary costs of the wars. Posted on September 1, 2021.

— source costs of war | Sep 2021

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Corporate America Cashed In on 9/11

The costs and consequences of America’s 21st-century wars have by now been well-documented—a staggering $8 trillion in expenditures and more than 380,000 civilian deaths, as calculated by Brown University’s Costs of War project. The question of who has benefited most from such an orgy of military spending has, unfortunately, received far less attention.

Corporations large and small have left the financial feast of that post-9/11 surge in military spending with genuinely staggering sums in hand. After all, Pentagon spending has totaled an almost unimaginable $14 trillion-plus since the start of the Afghan War in 2001, up to one-half of which (catch a breath here) went directly to defense contractors.
“The Purse is Now Open”: The Post-9/11 Flood of Military Contracts

The political climate created by the Global War on Terror (GWOT), as Bush administration officials quickly dubbed it, set the stage for humongous increases in the Pentagon budget. In the first year after the 9/11 attacks and the invasion of Afghanistan, defense spending rose by more than 10 percent and that was just the beginning. It would, in fact, increase annually for the next decade, which was unprecedented in American history. The Pentagon budget peaked in 2010 at the highest level since World War II—over $800 billion, substantially more than the country spent on its forces at the height of the Korean or Vietnam Wars or during President Ronald Reagan’s vaunted military buildup of the 1980s.

— source | William D. Hartung | Sep 24, 2021

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The Names You’ll Never Know

As a parting shot, on its way out of Afghanistan, the United States military launched a drone attack that the Pentagon called a “righteous strike.” The final missile fired during 20 years of occupation, that August 29th airstrike averted an Islamic State car-bomb attack on the last American troops at Kabul’s airport. At least, that’s what the Pentagon told the world.

Within two weeks, a New York Times investigation would dismantle that official narrative. Seven days later, even the Pentagon admitted it. Instead of killing an ISIS suicide bomber, the United States had slaughtered 10 civilians: Zemari Ahmadi, a longtime worker for a U.S. aid group; three of his children, Zamir, 20, Faisal, 16, and Farzad, 10; Ahmadi’s cousin Naser, 30; three children of Ahmadi’s brother Romal, Arwin, 7, Benyamin, 6, and Hayat, 2; and two 3-year-old girls, Malika and Somaya.

The names of the dead from the Kabul strike are as important as they are rare. So many civilians have been obliterated, incinerated, or — as in the August 29th attack — “shredded” in America’s forever wars. Who in the United States remembers them? Who here ever knew of them in the first place? Twenty years after 9/11, with the Afghan War

— source | Nick Turse | Sep 26, 2021

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U.S. War Ushered in “Another Dark Age” for Women

Our plans are, basically, it’s a global rising for and with the women of Afghanistan. It was really called for by the women on the ground. We met with them a month ago by Zoom. All of our activists around the world had a long, long three-hour discussion with them. And we just asked, “What can women and men around the world do to support what is going on and support resistance inside the country?” And what they said is, the most powerful thing we could do is express and show solidarity, rise with the women, who are powerful, who need the backing of the world, not through bombs, not through interventions, but through solidarity. And they gave us a list of demands, which are the demands that we are rising for with them.

And what’s really thrilling to see is that this has taken off, and there will be risings all over the world, from Bangladesh to the Philippines, all over Africa, in Guatemala, in Madrid, in Italy. So, this is really — I really do believe that one of the powers we have right now is to express our global solidarity with the women and with the people of Afghanistan, who have a right to self-determination. And they have had that right for many years and have never been given it.

— source | Sep 24, 2021

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BBC producer’s ties to UK intelligence follow ‘Mayday’ White Helmets whitewash

White Helmets founder James Le Mesurier falling to his death from the top floor of his Istanbul home in uncertain circumstances in November 2019 created a myriad of extremely serious problems for a great many powerful people.

At the time, the White Helmets’ intimate ties to jihadist groups were being probed and publicized ever-more widely, and the group’s – and Le Mesurier’s – seemingly central role in the staging of phony chemical attacks and sabotage of subsequent Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons investigations into the alleged incidents was becoming increasingly apparent. Mere days before his death, Le Mesurier even confessed to the overseas governments funding his company Mayday – and by extension the White Helmets – that widespread allegations of financial impropriety on his part were true.

To clean up the mess that Le Mesurier’s plunge left, a rehabilitative, exculpatory narrative was rubber-stamped by the BBC. It arrived by way of a 15-part podcast series, Mayday, that elevated the White Helmets’ British founder to the status of a secular

— source | Kit Klarenberg | Apr 7, 2021

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