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Just How Sick is John McCain?

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Today's Stories

October 16, 2008

Jonathan Cook
The Acre Riots

Ayesha Ijaz Khan
Is Obama Playing to the Gallery? Or Has He Lost the Plot in South Asia?

October 15, 2008

Steve Conn
The Real Story of Troopergate

William P. O'Connor
The Legend of John McCain

Robert Weissman
The Partial Nationalization of US Banks: Public Ownership, But No Public Control

Jonathan M. Feldman
Before the Second Wave of Crisis: an Alternative to the Triple Failure

Ron Jacobs
The Politics of Race in America: Is a Vote For Obama a Vote Against Racism?

Conn Hallinan
Targeting Unions in Colombia

Justin Podur
The Financial Economy and Real Economy

Karl Grossman
The New Nuclear Navy

Dave Lindorff
Is the Government Really Turning Socialist?

Eric Walberg
The Quiet Russian

Martha Rosenberg
Of Blood and Eggs

Uri Avnery
A Fairy Tale

Monica Benderman
No More

Website of the Day
Contractor Misconduct Database


October 14, 2008

Robert Richter
McCain: War Hero or War Criminal?

Paul Craig Roberts
The Bailout and the Smell Test

Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
The Wall Street Coup and the Bailout Scam

Steve Conn
Made in Alaska: Fear of the Fringe

P. Sainath
The Race Could be Over, But Race Isn't

Gregory Elich
How the Nobel Peace Prize Was Won

Stephen Martin
A Tectonic Shift in Hegemony at the G7

Rev. William Alberts
Don't Blink Twice

Laura Carlsen
The Fall of the Bush Dynasty Plan

Joanne Mariner
The Uighurs Come to Washington

Howard Lisnoff
Left Behind: a Biden Fundraiser and the Children of Holyoke

David Macaray
A Tale of Two Unions

Website of the Day
Six Degrees of Hank Paulson

October 13, 2008

Alexander Cockburn
Farewell to Daniel Cassidy

Michael Hudson
Rescue for the Few, Debt Slavery for the Many

Patrick Cockburn
Pogrom Against Mosul's Christians

Chris Floyd
The God That Failed: the 30-Year Lie of the Market Cult

Fidel Castro
The Law of the Jungle: Racism, Obama and the Fall of the American Economy

Robert Weitzel
Olmert's Depths of Reality

Derek Wright
How Chrysler Killed My Uncle

Stephen Soldz
Guantánamo's SERE Standard Operating Procedures

David Michael Green
Greed is Not Good

Norman Solomon
Requiem for the Bailout: a Storyline

Charles R. Larson
Toni Morrison on Her Own Terms

Lisa Massaciuccoli
The Shoplifting Association of the Americas

Website of the Day
Arlo Guthrie: "I'm Changing My Name to Fannie Mae"


October 10 / 12, 2008

Alexander Cockburn
Is McCain a Lot Sicker Than We Know?

Jeffrey St. Clair /
Joshua Frank

Obama's Nuclear Ambition

Douglas Valentine
Mission CREEP: From John Mitchell to John McCain

Noam Chomsky
Exposing the Un-Democratic Face of Capitalism

Ralph Nader
The Derivatives Game

Syed Saleem Shahzad
Why the Neo-Taliban is Winning

Patrick Cockburn
War in the Time of Cholera

Paul Craig Roberts
A Possible Solution to the Economic Crisis

Mike Whitney
Run on the System

Peter Morici
The Deficit and the Damage Done

Christopher Ketcham
The End of the Economy

Stephen Martin
Shock and Awe in Economic Warfare

Chellis Glendinning
Wireless Mind, Gullible Mind

Saul Landau
All Guns, No Butter

Ahmad Faruqui
21 Days to Baghdad

Adam Turl
Sheriff Tom Dart vs. the Banksters

Serge Halimi
The Battle for the West

Anthony DiMaggio
Making a Killing: the Business of Elections

John Ross
The Sky is Falling on Mexico, Too

José M. Tirado
Meltdown in Iceland

Paul Krassner
Beat the Crowd in Denver: Cops and T-Shirts

David Macaray
Adventures in Unionism

Robert Fantina
Bankrupt and Belligerent

David Yearsley
The Playlist for Election 2008

Julian Clec'h
The Soap Washing Through Saudi Arabia

Adam Engel
Sexual Healing ... for the Planet

Phyllis Pollack
The Rolling Stones Go Home, Again

Missy Beattie
Going North: the Coming Nation of Alaska

Poets' Basement
Landau, Moser and Henson

Website of the Day
Sarah as Esther? New Video From Inside Palin's Church

October 9, 2008

Robert Bryce
From Enron to the Current Meltdown

David Vest
The Great Rescue of 2008: Could Whatever Follows Bush Be Even Worse?

Winslow T. Wheeler
Meltdown at the Pentagon

Andy Worthington
The Ordeal of the Wrongly Imprisoned Uighurs

Anthony DiMaggio
Obama the Subhuman

Helga Serrano /
Hector Tamayo

Ecuador Charts the Way

Dave Lindorff
When Money Flies

Mats Svensson
At the Checkpoint on the Day of Atonement

Rannie Amiri
The Time for Mordechai Vanunu is Now

Website of the Day
The Palestine Chronicle Needs (and Deserves) Your Support

October 8, 2008

Alexander Cockburn
Imbecilic Tedium

Linn Washington, Jr.
Palin's Racist Remark

Mike Whitney
To the Bunkers!

Deepak Tripathi
The West is Broke

George C. Wilson
Butter Over Guns? McCain and Obama on Defense Issues

Andy Worthington
Seized in Pakistan

Charles R. Larson
"I'm John McCain and I Approved This Lie"

Patrick Irelan
Ecuador's Choice

Matthew Koehler
Log, Baby, Log: Bailing Out the Timber Industry

Stanley Heller
Time to Design a New Economy

Daniel Gross
Working Class Hero: Alexandra Svoboda

Kimberly Hartke
Raw Milk and Civil Liberties

Website of the Day
Olivia Wilde Does It Early

October 7, 2008

Patrick Cockburn
Obama and McCain's Goofy Afghan Bluster

Gary Leupp
Seven Years in Afghanistan:
From "War on Terror" to
"War of Terror"

Uri Avnery
Olmert's Final Divorce
From "All of Eretz Israel"

P. Sainath
The Cop-Out Election
Major Candidates, Congress, Press, All Fail in the Big Crisis

Peter Morici
The Dow Tanks as Bank Bailout Fails to Restore Confidence

Conn Hallinan
The Great Game in the Caucasus:
Bad Moves by Uncle Sam

Martha Rosenberg
Training America's Youth
Today a Pheasant, Tomorrow Osama

Binoy Kampmark
Let's Talk About Extinction:
CERN and Halo

October 6, 2008

Paul Craig Roberts
A Futile Bailout as Darkness Falls on America

Mike Whitney
Still on the Edge of the Abyss

Tariq Ali
Goodbye to Grosvenor Square

Emily Horowitz
How People Tell Cops They're Guilty Even When They Aren't

Michael Hudson
What Did Jesus Say?
A Christian Perspective on the Paulson Bank Bailout

Ron Jacobs
Winter Soldiers and Washington's Wars


October 3 - 5, 2008

Alexander Cockburn
Creatures of Capital

Paul Craig Roberts
Why Paulson's Plan is a Fraud

Saul Landau
The Chutzpah of Hank Paulson

Jonathan Cook
The Souring of a West Bank Romance: Israel's Army and Settlers Fall Out

Andy Worthington
The Dark Heart of the Guantánamo Trials

Dave Marsh
Bono (Himself) Challenges Me to a Debate

Sasan Fayazmanesh
Using the IAEA to Spy on Iran

John Ross
Massacre in Morelia

Brian Cloughley
The Unacceptable Face of Capitalism

Wajahat Ali
Dueling Partners: an Interview with Tariq Ali on Pakistan

Robert Schwartz
A Serious Blow to the Rights of U.S. Workers: NLRB Limits Political Strikes

Alan Nasser
FDR's Response to the Plot to Overthrow Him: a Paradigm for Today's Democrats?

David Ker Thomson
The Case for Drunk Driving

Peter Morici
Gone in 30 Days: U.S. Loses 159,000 Jobs in September

William Blum
When is a Holocaust Not a Holocaust?

William S. Lind
War on Two Fronts: Without Railroads

Michael Donnelly
The Ghost of Gen. McClellan

Thom Rutledge
On Presidential "Rule"

Manuel Garcia, Jr.
Science and the 2008 Presidential Elections: a Survey of the Candidates

Dave Lindorff
Calling the Problem Early

Cindy Ellen Hill
Waging a Sustainable Peace?

Paul Krassner
Dying to Get High: the Side Effects of Medical Marijuana

Daniel White
Vietnam's Masterspy

Poets' Basement
Corseri, Absher, Gibbons and Jenkins

Website of the Weekend
How We Lost Glen Canyon: a Legal Chronology

October 2, 2008

Paul Craig Roberts
Can a Bailout Succeed?

Joe Bageant
Speaking in the Tongues of Brokers: the Bailout in Plain English

Ralph Nader
Soulmates in Deregulation

Mike Whitney
Why the Bailout Stinks

Madis Senner
When Push Comes to Pull: How a Foreign Banker Invasion Sent the Markets Reeling

Winslow T. Wheeler
Congress as Usual:the Crisis Will Pass, But This Bunch Will Remain the Same

William Blum
A Boy's Game: the Origins of the Financial Crisis

P. Sainath
Wall Street Transforms Presidential Race

Website of the Day
McCain's Meltdown in Des Moines

October 1 , 2008

Glen Ford
The Last Hold Up

Steven Conn
Trashing Sarah Palin: the Boomerang Effect

Alan Maass / Lee Sustar
Why Not a Bailout for the Rest of Us?

Kenneth Couesbouc
The Blame Game: When Wall Street Pigs Sprout Wings

Stan Goff
How the Republicans Can Win (And Deserve It)

Adolfo Gilly
Racism, Domination and Bolivia

Rannie Amiri
Bombs in the Levant

Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
The Recurring Myth of Peak Oil

Adam W. Parsons
Food and Markets

Dave Lindorff
Bums' Rush to the Bailout: Where are the Hearings?

Douglas Valentine
The Bush Continuity Plan?

Adrien Rain Burke
The Party's Over: an Open Letter to Nancy Pelosi

Website of the Day
Sarah Palin's Beauty Pageant


September 30, 2008

Pam Martens
What Wall Street Hoped to Win

Chris Floyd
The Shadow of the Pitchfork: Elite Panic on Wall Street

Stephen Martin
A Biological Walk Down Wall Street

Deepak Tripathi
A Bitter Harvest in Afghanistan

Mark Engler
Bad Money

Jonathan Cook
The Attack on Zeev Sternhell: Has Israel Become a Breeding Ground for Jewish Settler Terrorism?

Dave Lindorff
The Power of No

Manuel Garcia, Jr.
Time for a General Strike?

Ahmad Faruqui
In Cold Blood: Buried Alive in Pakistan

John Chuckman
Will the Bride Wear White? As Rome Burns, Bristol Palin Prepares to Tie the Knot with Mr. "Sex on Skates"

David Macaray
Blaming the Labor Unions

Fatemeh Keshavarz
What Obama Could Have Said

Website of the Day
538: a Cognitive Map of American Politics

September 29, 2008

Mike Whitney
Black Monday

Jeff Gibbs
"Just Say No!" to Reverse Robin Hood

Paul Craig Roberts
Why America Should Listen to Ahmadinejad

Peter Morici
The Bailout and the Economy

Tim Wise
Racism as Reflex

John Walsh
Sarah Palin is a Rotten Mom

Uri Avnery
Israeli Fascism: Yes, It Can Happen Here

Alan Farago
Hell to Pay: the Financial Collapse and the Housing Market

Andy Worthington
Is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed Running the 9/11 Trials?

David Michael Green
Where's the Repudiation?

Carl Finamore
Capitalism on Steroids; Labor on Tranquilizers

Iris Keltz
Postcards from the DNC

Bill Hatch
Take This Shrimp Slayer!

Website of the Day
Tina Fey as Palin, Round Two

September 27 / 28, 2008

Alexander Cockburn
How McCain Blew It

Linn Washington, Jr.
Alaska's Blacks and Palin: a Strained Relationship

Christopher Ketcham
An Israeli Trojan Horse

Mike Whitney
The People vs. the Banksters

Kevin Alexander Gray Race in the Race: Is Obama Shining Us On?

Anthony DiMaggio
The Unspoken War: Pakistan, the Media and Nuclear Weapons

Mary Lynn Cramer
Their Assets; Our Debts: How Economic Crises Are Overcome

Marc Levy /
Susan Erony

War Jokes Wanted: No Laughing Matter

Stan Cox
Livestock of Mass Destruction: Germ Labs in the Heartland

Saul Landau
Election Drizzle

Ali Khan
Meltdown in American Markets: an Islamic Perspective

David Rosen
The Great Fear: the Sexual Politics of Sarah Palin

Todd Alan Price
Bailing Out the Foes of Public Eduction

Matts Svensson
The Red and White Bird in Gaza

Ron Jacobs
Pakistan Through the Eyes of a Native Son

Robert Fantina
McCain and the Economy

Richard Rhames
Hank-ering for a Bailout

David Krieger
The U.S.-India Nuclear Proliferation Deal

Seth Sandronsky
Rethinking Charter Schools

Charles R. Larson
Dear Mrs. Abacha: a Nigerian Email Romance

Kim Nicolini
Sadism in the Desert

Poets' Basement
La Morticella, Holt, Moser and Buknatski

Website of the Day
The Great Schlep

September 26, 2008

Moshe Adler
Bailing Out Wall Street Won't Save Main Street

Bill Quigley
The U.S. War on Unarmed Working Mothers

Jonathan Cook
When Archaeology Becomes a Curse

Manuel Garcia, Jr.
Visions of Pinpoint Control: the Romance of Laser Weapons

Madis Senner
Why the Bailout will Fail

Brian Cloughley
US Raids in Pakistan: Violations of Sovereignty

Niranjan Ramakrishnan
Oh, Henry!

Joanne Mariner
Passport Fraud and Torture

Dan La Botz
The Financial Crisis: a View from the Left

David Macaray
Ralph's Management Indicted by Federal Grand Jury

Website of the Day
Nader and Obama Girl at the Office

September 25, 2008

Michael Hudson
The Insanity of the $700 Billion Giveaway

Sharon Smith
Democrats and Corporate Bailouts

Ralph Nader
Who Will Show Some Backbone Against the Bailout?

Christopher Ketcham
The Economy of Dead Sperm (or What I Learned From My Race-Car Grandpa Who Had No Bankers)

Eric Toussaint
Is Another Third World Debt Crisis in the Offing?

Robert Weissman
Getting Wall Street Pay Reform Right

David Estabrook
A Better Bailout Plan

Nikolas Kozloff
The Voyage of the SS Peter the Great

Steve Early
The High Price of Purple Dissent

Judith Scherr
Blue Helmets in Haiti

Laray Polk
South Ossetia and Abkhazia: Notes from the Inside

Website of the Day
Letterman Spanks McCain

September 24, 2008

Paul Craig Roberts
The Bitter Fruits of Deregulation

Nikolas Kozloff
Palin at the UN: a Tutorial from Uribe

Robert Weissman
The Financial Crisis: How and Why Congress Should Play for Time

Andy Worthington
The Guantánamo Trials: Govt. Says Six Years Not Long Enough to Prepare Evidence

Steve Conn
Will Nader's Warning be Acknowledged in the Presidential Debates?

Karyn Strickler
The $700,000,000,000 Power Punch

Diane Farsetta
Stealth Marketers Gone Wild

Dennis Loo
Poisoned Legacy

John Halle
Wealth Tax Now!

Khalil Nakhleh
Palestinians Under the Occupation

Website of the Day
Nader: Debate Crasher

September 23, 2008

Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr.
Bail Out on This Bailout

Michael Hudson
Henry Paulson and the New Yazoo Land Scandal

Tariq Ali
Why was the Marriott Targeted?

Patrick Dyer
A Death Row Visit with Troy A. Davis

Franklin Lamb
Hezbollah and the Palestinians

Joshua Frank
Oppose Barack Obama? How Dare Thee!

Alan Farago
Pushing the Referees: How the Financial Crisis Occurred

Dave Lindorff
The Bailout Will Kill the Dollar

Tanya M. Kerssen /
Roger Burbach
Bolivia's Popular Upheaval

Harvey Wasserman
Nuclear Power Liabilities Dwarf Bush's Wall Street Bailout

Website of the Day
Hammered by the Irish: the Video

September 22, 2008

Michael Hudson
The Paulson-Bernanke Bank Bailout Plan: Will the Cure be Worse Than the Crisis?

Mike Whitney
Mushroom Clouds Over Wall Street

Christopher Ketcham
Let It Collapse!

Ron Jacobs
The Predators' Bailou

Anne-Marie McManus
Lost in the Rhetoric of Crisis

Robert Weitzel
The Twin Terrors of the Holy Land
: a Sexy Fundamentalist and a White-Haired Zionist

Wajahat Ali
An Interview with Howard Dean

John Ross
A New Cold War Comes to Latin America

Steve Breyman
Does the U.S. Really Need Cluster Bombs?

Patrick Bond
On the Bellies of the Filth

Uri Avnery
Fly, Tzipora, Fly

Carl J. Mayer
An Open Letter to Michael Moore (AKA God's Pen Pal): Whatever Happened to Voting Your Conscience?

Website of the Day
Stop the Execution of Troy Anthony Davis

September 20 / 21, 2008

Alexander Cockburn
Is This the Stake Through Neoliberalism's Heart?

Michael Hudson
America's Own Kleptocracy

Pam Martens
The Wall Street Model: Unintelligent Design

Lila Rajiva
Putting Lipstick on an AIG

Mike Whitney
Full-Spectrum Breakdown

Richard Rhames
A Bailout to Nowhere

Bill Moyers /
Michael Winship
The NY Yankees and the U.S. Economy

Bill and Kathleen Christison
The Making of Recent U.S. Middle East Policies: a New Study of Neocon Influence

Susan Block
Palin as Venus in Furs: the Dominatrix Politics of Drilling and Killing

Robert Fantina
Republicans and Subpoenas: Never the Twain Shall Meet

Heidi Walters
Hung Up on Route 36: an 18-Wheeler and a Nuclear Cask

David Yearsley
Germany's Lost Organs: When Bigger Was Better

Raymond J. Lawrence
The Politics of Tribulation: Sarah Palin and the Rapture

David Rosen
One Billion Pills Later: Viagra at 10

David Michael Green
Living in Sarah Palin's America

Anthony Papa
Imprisoned Voters and the Elections

Niranjan Ramakrishnan
Freddie, Fannie, Daddy, Nanny

Howard Lisnoff
When We Notice the Homeless

John Goekler
Leaving Every Child Behind

Missy Beattie

Dave Zirin
Leave Josh Howard Alone

Charles R. Larson
Holden Caulfield, Rest in Peace

Tim Matson
Too Big for His Birches: Woodlot Economics

Susie Day
Attack of the Angry Fetus

Poets' Basement
Corseri, Gibbons, Jenkins and Ford

Website of the Weekend
Dylan & Baez: Deportees

September 19, 2008

Steven T. Banko
McCain's Passion Play

Mike Whitney
The Point of No Return

Michael Hudson
The Dow Jones' Wonderfully Cheesy Addition

William Kaufman
Shattering the Glass-Steagall Act: the Bi-Partisan Origins of the Financial Crisis

Brenda Norrell
The Fall of Lehman Bros.: Blowback for Black Mesa?

Keeanga-Yamatta Taylor
The New Rhetoric of Racism: Why Won't Obama Call It Out?

Clifton Ross
Bolivia: Cleaning Up the Bull Ring

Dave Lindorff
Hang On to Your Wallets: the Government's About to Rescue Us!

Cynthia McKinney
Seize the Time!

Susan Hurlich
Storm Survivors: a Dispatch from Cuba

Michael Donnelly
Let's Hand It All Over to the Democrats (They Helped Create This Mess)

Website of the Day
The Crisis Explained

September 18, 2008

Benjamin Dangl
The Machine Gun and the Meeting Table

Harvey Wasserman
The Senate's Drill, Drill, Drill Scam

Susan Abulhawa
The Lobby Has Spoken: Biden and Israel

Robert Weissman
After the Fall: the Financial Re-Regulatory Agenda

Anne-Marie McManus
McCain's Cinderella: the Fetishization of Sarah Palin

Corey D. B. Walker
The Poverty of 21st Century Progressivism

William S. Lind
Senator O'Bush: Why Obama is Wrong on Iran and Afghanistan

Ron Jacobs
Washington's False Logic of Torture

Dave Lindorff
American and China: Joined at the Hip

Binoy Kampmark
How Damien Hirst Got Away With It

Website of the Day
An Invisible Army

September 17, 2008

Stephen Conn
Palin and the Politics of Big Oil

Forrest Hylton
Reactionary Rampage in Bolivia

Patrick Cockburn
Petraeus Leaves Iraq

Gregory Elich
Inside North Korea

Ralph Nader
How the U.S. Auto Industry Wrecked Itself

Franklin Lamb
The Palestinians of Shabra-Shatila

Pam Martens
The Gang's All Here: Bush, McCain and the Old Iran/Contra Team

Dave Lindorff
The End of the Blue Chip Economy

Peter Morici
The Damage Deepens

Stanley Heller
The Killing of Count Folke Bernadotte

Douglas Valentine
Rambling David Foster Wallace

Website of the Day
Free Cindy McCain!

September 16, 2008

Paul Craig Roberts
US Economy: Rudderless and Reeling from Direct Hits

Tiphaine Dickson
Citizen Palin: Why Sarah Palin Quoted Westbrook Pegler

Stan Goff
America is Now Rome: an Open Letter to Christian Troops in Iraq and Afghanistan

Uri Avnery
Tzipi's Choice

Michael Winship
Lipstick on Polar Bears

Jeff Halper
Warehousing Palestinians

Patrick Irelan
Bolivia Versus the Empire

Oscar Gonzalez
Who's Dumber? Ike's Refugees or Wall Street's?

Binoy Kampmark
Cheney and His Records

Fatemeh Keshavarz
Muslims are at Peace with You

Sen. Russ Feingold
Restoring the Rule of Law

Website of the Day
The Next Great Rock Band?

September 15, 2008

Mike Whitney
The Tumbrils Roll at Dawn

Peter Morici
Toxic Lehman

Patrick Cockburn
Take Another Look at the Surge

Charles R. Larson
The Maverick Has No Clothes

Jonathan Cook
The Expulsion of Palestinians from Jaffa

Nikolas Kozloff
Racist Rhetoric in Bolivia

Roger Burbach
Morales Confronts the Insurrection: Bolivia and the Echoes of Allende

Helen Redmond
Where's the Health Care Bailout?

David Michael Green
The Democrats Do Poland

David Macaray
The Boeing Strike

Ralph Nader
Remembering Peter Camejo

Website of the Day
The Ballad of Sarah Palin



October 16, 2008

Or Has He Lost the Plot in South Asia

Is Obama Playing to the Gallery?


According to a report in The Sunday Times on October 5, 2008, Britain’s most senior military commander in Afghanistan, Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith, warned that the war against the Taliban cannot be won and that the public should be prepared, not for a “decisive military victory,” but for “a deal with the Taliban”.  Shortly thereafter, on October 9, US Defence Secretary, Robert Gates, hinted that the US would be prepared to pursue reconciliation with the Taliban, if the Afghan government chose to support them.  Secret talks in trying to achieve a political reconciliation have already begun on the Saudi-British initiative, and according to reliable sources in Pakistan, initial dialogue was held in Saudi Arabia between 24 and 27 September.

What seems like the beginning of the US exit strategy from Afghanistan appears diametrically opposed to the rhetoric one hears from both presidential candidates, John McCain and Barack Obama.  McCain, inheritor of the Bush legacy and with his penchant for wars, is of course prepared to follow Osama Bin Laden “to the gates of hell”.  Obama, reasonable as he appears on other matters, argues nevertheless that “McCain won’t even follow him to his cave in Afghanistan”.

Looking at all this from the outside in, makes one cringe at the hollowness of both messages.  The reality is that Osama, if he is still alive, has not managed another attack on US soil.  Isn’t that good enough? 

What the war in Afghanistan has accomplished, on the other hand, is a destabilized nuclear Pakistan, where suicide bombings have become rampant, and a manifold increase in anti-Americanism throughout the region.  Much like the invasion of Iraq, the fight in Afghanistan was also viewed as one where an occupying alien force was trying to subjugate the local population.  Nobody in South Asia made the connection between 9/11 and the need to attack Afghanistan.  For them, it became a war of independence, independence from the Americans, like independence from the Russians in the eighties, and the British before that.  This is why Brigadier Carleton-Smith has finally realized that this war cannot be won.  When the local population decided that the invading force was not welcome, the Taliban, despicable as they may be, became the rallying point for all those who valued sovereignty and national independence.

Obama made a mistake when he said that he would take unilateral action against Pakistan if he had actionable intelligence on terrorist safe havens, but instead of retracting the statement, as he did with the “bitter” comment about rural voters, he stuck to it and dug a further hole for himself.  Since a question on Pakistan has become a staple in presidential debates, Obama reiterated his position even while he stressed that the US needs to take other allies on board in key foreign policy decisions.

In case Senator Obama missed it, US heavy-handedness through September with strikes and ground incursions in Pakistan not only irked the Pakistanis but also prompted an immediate distancing of other NATO allies from US policy.  France condemned the violation of Pakistani sovereignty and other NATO members decided they would not participate in such military adventures, leaving the US to play the bad guy part on its own yet again. 

What followed was the killing and maiming of several women and children, provoking a media blitzkrieg and public outrage on the Pakistan government’s continued support of the US war on terror.  Are we allies or enemies, Pakistanis asked.  As a result of the outcry, the Pakistani military, historically allied closely with the US, cautioned the US on a potential blockage of supply routes to Afghanistan, advocated by many within Pakistan, and fought alongside the tribes in the northern parts of Pakistan to deflect US drones and also shoot down a spy plane, which the US insists had crashed, but Pakistani reports say otherwise.

Pakistan is in a much worse predicament than the US.  The war on terror has been far more costly to it than it has to the US.  Pakistan has lost more soldiers than the US and its civilians have paid with their lives and infrastructure.  The Marriott bombing in Islamabad last month, killing close to sixty civilians and completely destroying the hotel, was one in a series of suicide bombings that are becoming everyday occurrences for Pakistani civilians.  Although the vast majority of Pakistanis recognize the severe terrorism problem and would be ecstatic to have the terrorists eliminated so they can live in peace again, they feel that the US and NATO presence in Afghanistan exacerbates and does not solve the problem.  Any Pakistani government seen to be linked with the US therefore also becomes fair game for the terrorists and the price is paid by ordinary civilians who are being targeted by both the terrorists, and due to faulty intelligence procured by the CIA, the Americans as well.

According to a retired general of the Pakistani army, US intelligence on the location of the terrorists is often faulty due to the large sums of money the CIA is willing to offer.  As a result, he said, in a talk show on Pakistani television, “informants” who have no knowledge fabricate information simply because the prize money is luring.  He claims, the ISI, Pakistan’s intelligence agency, is used to operating in the area and can extract better information from the local population, but the level of trust between the Americans and the Pakistanis is too low for effective intelligence sharing. 

The Americans are not convinced that the ISI is sincere in its efforts to eliminate the Taliban, as links still exist from the eighties, when the CIA and ISI worked much more closely in both training and arming Osama Bin Ladin and his cohorts in the jihad against the Soviets, and while the Americans made a clear break from the affiliation when they left South Asia abruptly after the Soviets returned home defeated from their decade long adventure in Afghanistan, parts of Pakistan’s army and intelligence units had a more difficult time severing the link, and so even if accurate intelligence is produced by the Pakistanis on potential terrorists, it is often overlooked by the Americans in their war on terror.

In this scenario, where there are huge credibility deficits between “allies” without whose cooperation it would be logistically impossible to succeed in Afghanistan, where hearts and minds of the local population have been completely lost as a result of gross civilian casualties and complete erosion of infrastructure, employment and education facilities in certain areas, and where NATO countries are suggesting that calling it quits may be the best way forward, an exit strategy from Afghanistan is exactly what the doctor is ordering for the US.

There is no such thing as a “good war”.  I would have thought that Obama, more than anyone else, would have realized this.  But then “he can’t really run for President of the United States and not be for any war,” an American friend of mine insisted when I complained to him about Obama’s remarks.  I only hope that is it.  That it’s Barack Obama playing to the gallery; not Barack Obama losing the plot in South Asia!

Ayesha Ijaz Khan is a London-based lawyer turned political commentator.  She writes frequently for Pakistan’s widely read English daily, The News, and can be reached via her website www.ayeshaijazkhan.com




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The Secret Language
of the Crossroads:
By Daniel Cassidy


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Cassidy on Tour
Click Here for Dates & Venues

"The Case Against Israel"
Michael Neumann's Devastating Rebuttal of Alan Dershowitz

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Saul Landau's Bush and Botox World with a Foreword by Gore Vidal

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Grand Theft Pentagon
How They Made a Killing on the War on Terrorism






The Occupation
by Patrick Cockburn




Humanitarian Imperialism
By Jean Bricmont




By Tennessee Reed