Wednesday, April 7, 2010

America's imperial project in Iraq and Afghanistan is coming apart

cartoon copyright of Peter Brookes

America's imperial project in Iraq and Afghanistan (still supported by the Rudd Government) continues to spiral out of control.

A string of bombings in Baghdad over the last 5 days have claimed nearly 200 lives in the Iraqi capital. There is growing concern that the level of violence and sectarian unrest now rivals the bloody months before the "surge" of 2007.

And there is international outrage about footage showing US forces deliberately murdering journalists and civilians . Here's a piece from Amy Goodman of the alternative media source Democracy Now on the video footage of the murder of journalists and civilians in Baghdad by the US military:
A United States military video was released this week showing the indiscriminate targeting and killing of civilians in Baghdad. The nonprofit news organization WikiLeaks obtained the video and made it available on the Internet. The video was made July 12, 2007, by a U.S. military Apache helicopter gunship, and includes audio of military radio transmissions.

Two Reuters employees—a journalist and his driver—were killed in the attack, along with at least eight other people, and two children were injured. The radio transmissions show not only the utter callousness of the soldiers, laughing and swearing as they kill, but also the strict procedure they follow, ensuring that all of their attacks are clearly authorized by their chain of command. The leaked video is a grim depiction of how routine the killing of civilians has become, and is a stark reminder of how necessary journalism is, and how dangerous its practice has become.
The independent journalist Dahr Jamil, who reports from Iraq and the Middle East, writes that unprovoked slaughter by US soldiers is not uncommon. Jamil has published first person accounts from US soldiers of the slaughter of innocent Iraqi civilians.

And here is the highly regarded William Pfaff, author of eight books on American foreign policy, international relations, and contemporary history, and columnist of over 25 years on the unfolding debacle in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Washington once again finds itself dangerously entangled with the hostile policies, nationalistic interests and supporters, and personal ambitions of a foreign figure whom it counted on to serve American interests.

This time it is in Afghanistan, the latest in what, alas, must be described as America’s quasi-imperial foreign military adventures. This is a country to which the United States, at stupendous cost, and with stupendous effort, is transporting the greater part of the huge logistical and war-fighting apparatus it has deployed over the last seven years in Iraq. It occurs at just the moment when Iraq’s situation—which none (save the surviving admirers of George W. Bush) dare call victory—is threatening to come apart.

Negotiations over the formation of a new government in Iraq have, for weeks now, been accompanied by bombings and suicide attacks, clearly political in nature, which imply the possibility of an eventual resumption of communal violence in that tragic country."

The extent to which US forces are committing atrocities in Afghanistan is the subject of Stephen Lendman's article in Dissident Voice. Lendman argues that systematic atrocities have escalated sharply since General Stanley McChrystal took charge of US/NATO forces (including Australian troops) and that the US media has suppressed accounts of atrocities that are reported in European and Arabic media.

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