(The Guardian, November 29, 2009): Donald Rumsfeld had the chance when he was US defence secretary in December 2001 to make sure Osama bin Laden was killed or captured, but let him slip through his hands, a Senate report has found.The blame ultimately lies on U.S. political leaders for the catastrophic damage that the people of Afghanistan have suffered in the last nine years. Meanwhile, public support is at the cut-throat stage, as in, there is no going back to September 12, 2001, when the majority of Americans were unaware of the traitors who controlled their government, and merely wanted the bastards dead. Simply dead, they said. The objective wasn't hard: Find Bin Laden, and kill him. But the poster of "Bin Laden Wanted: Dead or Alive"that Bush drew for the world was a total fiction. The Bush administration didn't want Bin Laden dead, because a dead Bin Laden is a dead enemy, and a dead enemy means no war.
The report by the Senate foreign relations committee is damning of the way George Bush's administration conducted the aftermath of its bombing campaign in Afghanistan, saying it amounted to a "lost opportunity". It states that as a result of allowing the al-Qaida leader to flee from his Tora Bora stronghold into Pakistan, Americans were left more vulnerable to terrorism, and the foundations were laid for today's protracted Afghan insurgency. It also lays blame for the July 2005 London bombings on a failure to kill the al-Qaida leaders at Tora Bora.
The U.S. government was never interested in capturing Bin Laden, or in liberating the Afghan people from the Taliban, their former Cold War pals. Bush, and Obama are not in the pursuit of ending international terrorism, but of crushing human freedom, and political self-determination by the Afghan people, the American people, the people of the Middle East, and the people of the world.
As Juan Cole pointed out last month, more than half of the American people believe the war in Afghanistan is lost, and not worth the cost:
"This Rasmussen poll shows a mood even more pessimistic than another recent sounding by ABC & the Washington Post, which found that 53% of Americans think the war is not worth its cost.The painful truth about Afghanistan is that it is not a war of necessity. Afghanistan, like Iraq, is not a defensive war, but a war of aggression. As Prof. David Ray Griffin wrote in the article, "Did 9/11 Justify the War in Afghanistan?," the September 11 terrorist attacks do not justify U.S. presence in Afghanistan, or anywhere else in the Middle East. America's national security interest is not served in the long run by fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan. And in what can only be described as an act of grave betrayal, the current American government, and the mainstream media are kicking the can of truth down the road of national ruin.
Nearly half in the Rasmussen poll also say that they think Afghanistan is very important to US security and over 80% think it is at least somewhat important. It is hard to understand how the fifth poorest country in the world, a virtual failed state, can pose a security threat to the United States."
In the over 90,000 leaked documents that was published by WikiLeaks last Sunday, July 25, there are zero historical revelations, but that does not make the docs any less significant. They are a timely reminder of the daily horror of war, and in a society that has been desensitized by brutal acts of violence, it is encouraging to see the success of an organization that pulls back the curtain, and forces us to see the lies, the murder, the treason, and the brutality. The work of Assange and WikiLeaks is beyond monumental. It is heaven sent. It is a much needed breath of fresh air in a room full of lies, and spies.
Spencer Ackerman of Wired writes that the WikiLeaks docs are "a real-time account of how the U.S. let Afghanistan rot." Perhaps, what's most surprising about the leaked docs is what they don't show, such as the breakdown of troop morale. Last year saw the highest suicide rate in the army's history, and much of the suffering by American soldiers has been suppressed by the 24/7 cycle of bullshit on television news.
I've tried reading the documents, but they're so boring to read. The traces of Siegfried Sassoon's ghost are not in any of these war diaries, that's for sure. Just one glance at some of the nitty-gritty details and you can tell that the greatest fact about the Afghanistan war is how boring, and futile it is. American soldiers were trained to do battle with giants, but they're forced to play hide-and-seek with rats.
If you want to know what war is like, read Homer, Thucydides, or Tolstoy, don't read the WikiLeaks docs. All they reveal is that the Afghanistan war is not a war, and Obama is not Pericles. War is not nation-building; it is nation-destroying. War does not liberate people, it enslaves them. War is not executed based on a timetable; it is anything goes, whatever comes its way, and whenever it does. A real war is not classified by an incompetent military bureaucracy into fifty different categories, it is fought by guys who are good at killing people, you know, at literally taking their hearts, and minds. Like the Taliban. They're fighting a real war. America is fighting a pretend war. And you can't win a pretend war, it's like a bad movie that you can't wait to end, and then walk out of the theatre to ask for your money back.
What angers me is that we have sit through it all. Let's roll the credits to this nightmarish movie. We know how it ends. It ends with mass death, and mass suffering. It ends with the heads of traitors in the gutter, limbless children, and crying widows. So what are we waiting for? D-Day? There won't ever be a D-Day in the War on Terrorism because it is not a real war. That needs to be repeated two thousand and one times. It is a war based on lies and deception for endless profits, and conquest. It is purely a money-making enterprise for the National Security State, and a corporate sludge fund for politically connected war profiteers, and pentagon bureaucrats. They want a century of warfare. And only they are yielding profits from this war, America itself has been ruined because of it. The only country that is reaping any benefit from the war on terror is Israel because the entire West has jumped on the bandwagon against the exaggerated threat of Islamic extremism, which has allowed Israel to demonize its Palestinian subjects without criticism from the world for the past nine years. A billion people of the human race have essentially been accused of being "terrorists" and there seems to be no end to their suffering.
We are living the deformed dream of monsters, and sociopaths. We are not living according to the truth. The whole world has been manipulated by dark magicians. This whole era is play-acting. U.S. soldiers are pretend liberators, U.S. politicians are pretend statesmen, and the U.S. president is a pretend Commander-in-Chief. And the press is a pretend press. And the people are a pretend people.
At the Oslo Freedom Forum this year, Julian Assange spoke about the world of lies that we have been living in since 9/11, and what we can do to change it. He said that we must dismiss the illusion that the West is free. It is not. Censorship exists in the West, and it is not justified by concerns for national security. Assange:
"Censorship in the West is used to legitimise censorship in other countries, and abuses in the West of Enlightenment ideals, which we should all hold dear, and the corrosion of those ideals not only impoverishes Western countries, it is also used as an excuse for terrible abuses in other countries."The mission of WikiLeaks is to lift the veil of state secrecy, and promote human rights, freedom of speech, and public debate around the world, but most importantly in the West because if the West is lost, then the World is also lost. Assange is a freedom information fighter, and a crusader for public knowledge. His presence in the world at this critical hour is a hopeful sign that humanity may get out the woods of the tyranny of state secrecy. At the end of his address at Oslo, Assange said that we must stop state abuses in their infancy, or else they may become too large to fix later on:
"So, in this broader framework of what we do, it is to try and build a historical record, an intellectual record, of how civilization actually works in practice, now, from the inside, everywhere, in every country around the World. Because all our decisions, individual decisions, our political decisions, are based upon what we know. Humanity is nothing but what we know and what we have. And what we have can be replaced, and degrades quickly. And what we know is everything, and it is our limit of what we can be. So before we embark on any particular political stratagem, we first have to know where we are because, if we do not know where we are, it is impossible for us to know where we are going. Likewise, it is impossible to correct abuses unless we know that they are going on. So I ask you to think about the words of Machiavelli; think about them in their negative, when he said,Assange's words are admirable, and timely. He is a great spokesman for the truth, and is heroically spreading the importance of public knowledge of state deeds to everywhere in the West. Defense Secretary Robert Gates's comment that Assange has "blood on his hands" reveals the U.S. government for what it truly is; a lying, treasonous, terrorist state.
“Thus it happens in matters of state, for knowing a far-off, which is only given a prudent man to do, the evils that are brewing, they are easily cured, but when, for want of such knowledge, they are allowed to grow until everyone can recognize them, there is no longer any remedy to be found.”
So secret planning is secret, usually, for a reason: because, if it is abusive, it is opposed. So it is our task to find secret abusive plans and expose them where they can be opposed before they are implemented. Because if they are exposed by the implementation, by people suffering from that abuse, then the abuse has already occurred and it is too late."
Arthur Silber has written some of the best stuff on WikiLeaks. In his essay, "Wikileaks, Resistance, Genuine Heroes, and Breaking the Goddamned Rules (II)," Silber writes:
"Consider what the United States government stands for at the moment. I will summarize very briefly. The U.S. government is engaged in the occupation of Iraq, while it wages a war in Afghanistan. The U.S. intentionally seeks to broaden the war into Pakistan (and has already done so to a significant extent), and it continues to threaten Iran militarily. Simultaneously, the U.S. has launched operations in at least 75 countries, and made "[p]lans ... for preemptive or retaliatory strikes in numerous places around the world."The recent success of WikiLeaks has made me more hopeful about the future of the West, and all of humanity. But knowledge isn't everything, what matters more is what we do with the knowledge that we have. I hope we can change the world with the truth, and put the terrorist traitors to bed.
The U.S. government also continues and even expands the Bush administration's policies with regard to torture as a "legitimate" State instrument, as it continues and even expands the Bush administration's comprehensive assault on civil liberties at home. And the U.S. government ceaselessly works to impoverish and brutalize the majority of Americans in countless other ways, as it forcibly transfers countless billions of dollars from "ordinary" Americans to the already massively wealthy ruling elite.
The United States government does all of this "legally." All of this monstrous behavior is approved by the "sanctity" of "the law" and by "the rules." Some of us argue that most or all of these actions are in fact criminal; indeed, under legal provisions that the U.S. government employs to condemn others, certain of these actions are criminal. But that is not the story told by our rulers. They consistently maintain that all of these actions are legal, moral, and entirely just.
That isn't all. The State seeks to protect itself from all criticism and challenge by surrounding itself with an intricate and almost impenetrable web of laws, rules and regulations. The State arrives at its decisions on the basis of alleged "secret" information, which is not to be shared with the likes of us. It fashions and implements its policies on the basis of special, superior expertise, which "ordinary" Americans cannot hope to share or understand. All of this is a lie, of course; see the second part of this recent article, concerning "The Claim to 'Special' Knowledge and Expertise."
If you seek to challenge the death grip of the authoritarian-corporatist-militarist State in a serious way, you will necessarily have to break the goddamned rules. As I have argued, the point of "the law" and "the rules" is to protect the ruling class and to restrict your range of action so severely that it approaches the vanishing point. If we challenge the State only within the bounds of what is permitted by the State itself, the challenge will be trivial and utterly insignificant. The State allows such challenges so that "the people" can delude themselves, again, that their "voices" are being heard.
This is not the route followed by Wikileaks. Wikileaks steps outside the boundaries established by the State altogether: it dispenses with the restrictions of "secrecy" and access limited to the already powerful. Wikileaks' approach is the embodiment of justice. It takes the repeated proclamations that the United States is a "representative democracy" and that its government is "our" government, and says in effect: You contend that you act in the name of the people. Then the people surely have the right to know what you're doing. This is what you're doing."