Advisory: Be careful of what you read on social media. The algorithms used by these platforms have no regard for Biblical truth. They target your emotions to keep you engaged on their site so their advertisers can drop more ads. These platforms exist to enrich their stockholders. Consider God’s promise to Believers in James 1:5, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”
As the hawks who have been lying about the US invasion and occupation of Afghanistan for two decades continue to peddle fantasies in the midst of a Taliban takeover and American evacuation of Kabul, progressive critics on Tuesday reminded the world who has benefited from the “endless war.” “Entrenching U.S. forces in Afghanistan was the military-industrial complex’s business plan for 20+ years,” declared the Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group Public Citizen.
Julian Assange speaking in 2011: “The goal is to use Afghanistan to wash money out of the tax bases of the US and Europe through Afghanistan and back into the hands of a transnational security elite. The goal is an endless war, not a successful war” #Afghanistan pic.twitter.com/Hg3qVzABBg— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) August 18, 2021
“Hawks and defense contractors co-opted the needs of the Afghan people in order to line their own pockets,” the group added. “Never has it been more important to end war profiteering.”
In a Tuesday morning tweet, Public Citizen highlighted returns on defense stocks over the past 20 years — as calculated in a “jaw-dropping” analysis by The Intercept — and asserted that “the military-industrial complex got exactly what it wanted out of this war.”
The Intercept‘s Jon Schwarz examined returns on stocks of the five biggest defense contractors: Boeing, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and General Dynamics.
Schwarz found that a $10,000 investment in stock evenly split across those five companies on the day in 2001 that then-President Georg W. Bush signed the authorization preceding the US invasion would be worth $97,295 this week, not adjusted for inflation, taxes, or fees.
According to The Intercept:
“This is a far greater return than was available in the overall stock market over the same period. $10,000 invested in an S&P 500 index fund on September 18, 2001, would now be worth $61,613.
That is, defense stocks outperformed the stock market overall by 58% during the Afghanistan War.”
“These numbers suggest that it is incorrect to conclude that the Taliban’s immediate takeover of Afghanistan upon the U.S.’s departure means that the Afghanistan War was a failure,” Schwarz added. “On the contrary, from the perspective of some of the most powerful people in the U.S., it may have been an extraordinary success. Notably, the boards of directors of all five defense contractors include retired top-level military officers.”
“War profiteering isn’t new,” journalist Dina Sayedahmed said in response to the reporting, “but seeing the numbers on it is staggering.” Progressive political commentator and podcast host Krystal Ball used Schwarz’s findings to counter a key argument that’s been widely used to justify nearly 20 years of war.
“This is what it was really all about people,” she tweeted of the defense contractors’ returns. “Anyone who believes we were in Afghanistan to help women and girls is a liar or a fool.”
Jack Mirkinson wrote Monday for Discourse Blog that “it is unquestionably heartbreaking to think about what the Taliban might inflict on women and girls, but let us dispense with this fantasy that the U.S. has been in Afghanistan to support women, or to build democracy, or to strengthen Afghan institutions, or any of the other lines that are deployed whenever someone has the temerity to suggest that endless war and occupation is a harmful thing.”
“We did not go into Afghanistan to support its people, and we did not stay in Afghanistan to support its people,” he added. “It is astonishing, given what we know about the monsters that the U.S. has propped up time and time againaround the world, that the myth persists that we do anything out of our love for human rights. We went in and we stayed in for the same reason: the American empire is a force that must remain in perpetual motion.”
As Common Dreams reported Monday, while the Taliban has retaken control, anti-war advocates have argued diplomacy is the only path to long-term peace, with Project South’s Azadeh Shahshahani emphasizing that “the only ones who benefited from the U.S. war on Afghanistan were war-profiteering politicians and corporations while countless lives were destroyed.”
Responding to Shahshahani’s tweet about who has benefited from two decades of bloodshed, Zack Kopplin of the Government Accountability Project wrote, “Adding war-profiteering generals to the mix too.”
The United States’ military mission in Afghanistan has collapsed in chaos and ignominy. The catastrophe has many parents. But surely “the experts” upon which our leader relied bear much blame.
They were the ones who often failed to comprehend the power of religious belief and the role pride in Islam played in the Taliban’s unyielding commitment to victory. They were the ones who thought we could remake Afghanistan into a western liberal image. They were the ones who failed to comprehend the intractable tribal nature of Afghan society.
To say the least, Afghanistan has vividly exposed the utter stupidity of our vaunted foreign policy and national security experts. Our hapless Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, for example, assured us that Kabul would not fall from “Friday to Monday.” He was right. It fell from Friday to Sunday.
And what are we to make of the vaunted internationalists at the United Nations? After President Biden’s godawful speech signifying nothing, the State Department held a press briefing, during which spokesman Ted Price reiterated an unintentionally hilarious United Nations Security Council statement urging the Taliban government to be “inclusive and representative—including with the full, equal and meaningful participation of women.” I’m sure the barbarians will get right to including women as soon as they are finished raping them.
The hubris of these whizzes might be tolerable if they were adept at technocracy. But they stink at it. Indeed, every American debacle in my lifetime has “the experts’” fingerprints all over it. There was the Bay of Pigs fiasco. Vietnam. The farce of the missing Iraq WMDs. The list goes on and on.
What’s that you say? The Cuban Missile Crisis worked out very well? Indeed, it did. But that was because JFK ignored the advice of military experts to bomb Cuba.
What about the collapse of the Soviet Union? Once again, that salutary event was hastened because President Reagan ignored experts’ widespread disdain of the Strategic Defense Initiative (Star Wars) program and forged ahead anyway, which helped break the communists’ treasury.
Look at China. Our China-hand experts were sure that if we boosted the country’s economy the Chinese people would demand increased freedom to go along with their improved standard of living. Not only did that demand not materialize—except in the now crushed Hong Kong citizens’ reaction to the loss of their once existing freedoms—but we are looking increasingly like China instead of it looking more like us.
Worse, we are now dependent on that tyranny for much of our manufacturing and mining of crucial natural resources like rare earth metals.
Great job, experts!
Many People Will Head to Food Banks in Order to Feed Their Families…
The DOD Gave $1,000,000,000 That’s $1bn in COVID Relief to Defense Contractor Wish Lists, Our Government Is No Longer Subject to the People It Marches Lockstep With the New World Order, They Will Spend This Country and it’s People Into Poverty, They Have and Agenda…
A coalition of 40 ideologically diverse organizations on Thursday demanded that federal lawmakers investigate allegations from earlier this week that the Pentagon misused much of $1 billion in congressionally appropriated Covid-19 relief funding for what one critic called “a colossal backdoor bailout for the defense industry.”
The groups’ call came in a letter (pdf) addressed to Reps. James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.) Steve Scalise (R-La.), leaders of the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis. The push for a probe was prompted by Washington Post reporting that some tax dollars directed to the Defense Department in March for building up U.S. supplies of medical equipment have “instead been mostly funneled to defense contractors and used to make things such as jet engine parts, body armor, and dress uniforms.”
In addition to a probe, the National Taxpayers Union, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO), Win Without War, and 37 other groups urged Clyburn and Scalise to determine whether Congress should pass a bill suspending the Pentagon’s spending authority for the funds, arguing that the department’s decision-making “violates congressional intent at minimum, and represents a significant breach of trust with the taxpayers who fund the military’s budget and its emergency spending.”
Win Without War advocacy director Erica Fein said in a statement that “this gross misuse of Covid-19 relief funds provides yet another example of the Pentagon’s wasteful, unaccountable spending, which puts the corporate profits of the weapons industry over the lives and well-being of everyday people.”
“This scandal should be a wake-up call,” she added. “The greatest threats to human security cannot be addressed by funneling money into weapons of war. We must resist the corrupting influence of the military contracting industry, stop pouring our resources into the bloated, unaccountable Pentagon coffers, and instead invest in meeting our country’s, and the world’s, real human needs.”
The United States continued to lead the world in Covid-19 cases and deaths Friday afternoon. There have been more than seven million confirmed infections and over 203,000 deaths nationwide, according to Johns Hopkins University’s global tracker. President Donald Trump’s administration and Congress have come under fire for inadequately responding to the public health crisis.
The Pentagon gave more than $1,000,000,000 of pandemic-related aid to military contractors for body armor and jet engines. We’re joining 40 orgs, along with @SenWarren and @RepRoKhanna, in demanding answers as to how on earth this was allowed to happen.
As the letter the highlights, the Post reported that the Defense Department—which is run by former Raytheon lobbyist Mark Esper—gave at least $183 million to contractors “to maintain the shipbuilding industry” and $80 million to an “aircraft parts business suffering from the Boeing 737 Max grounding.”
Additionally, the Pentagon gave $25 million to a firm that also “received between $5 million and $10 million” from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP); $3 million to a firm that also received between $150,000 and $350,000 from the PPP; and “$2 million for a domestic manufacturer of Army dress uniform fabric.”
Chief Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman issued a lengthy statement Wednesday defending the spending and criticizing the Post piece. He said in part, “As indicated by recent reporting, there appears to be a misunderstanding by some about what the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) did and did not do with respect to the Department of Defense.”
Hoffman added that the department has been “wholly transparent” in its decisions about the relief funds and claimed that “much of [the] useful context” it provided to the newspaper was “left out of the story leading some to misconstrue the expenditures when in fact they are wholly appropriate as directed by Congress.”
Although the Post acknowleged that Pentagon officials “contend that they have sought to strike a balance between boosting American medical production and supporting the defense industry, whose health they consider critical to national security,” critics at the groups behind the letter aren’t buying that argument.
“It’s unconscionable that the department would prioritize defense contractor wish lists over the health and safety of the American people,” declared Mandy Smithberger, director of POGO’s Center for Defense Information.
DOD has issued statements on stories before, but this is a different level: On @washingtonpost story on #CARESAct funds for defense base. WaPo story was accurate — but created sense something was hidden when DOD (& media & Congress) had it in full view. https://defense.gov/Newsroom/Releases/Release/Article/2358713/statement-on-the-departments-use-of-defense-production-act-title-iii/
Arguing that Congress was clear it wanted the Pentagon to use its powers to address ongoing shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE), Smith burger said “the American people deserve better judgment from the agency entrusted with leading our national security and responses to unanticipated threats.”
Other signatories include Beyond the Bomb, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), Demand Progress, Greenpeace USA, Indivisible, the National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies, Peace Action, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Public Citizen, and the Union of Concerned Scientists. The Rest Of The Story
Who is to blame? Corrupt politicians or the stupid people who vote for them
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Ask The Blind Man ,He Saw it All
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