Rethink Afghanistan: Women of Afghanistan
By Sarah Jaffe at The Nation
George W. Bush used the plight of the women of Afghanistan as justification for invasion, and afterward trumpeted their freedom as a major success. But day-to-day life for Afghan women has not improved much, despite nominal representation in government. Domestic violence, self-harm, and the US-backed president Hamid Karzai signed into law a repressive act that effectively legalized marital rape. Afghanistan’s Chief Justice has said that women have two rights: the right to obey their husbands, and the right to pray–though they do not have the right to pray in a mosque with men.
In this video, the fifth in the Rethink Afghanistan series, Afghan women speak out against a buildup of US troops, noting that the militarization only legitimizes the Taliban as an opposition force. Rather than supporting military escalation, the women of Afghanistan can use your donations to help themselves. As Orzala Ashraf of the Afghan Women’s Network says in the film, “If I cannot liberate myself, no one from outside can liberate me.”
Check out earlier videos on Afghanistan from The Nation and Brave New Films
With Dems Like These…
By Andy Bromage at NH
With the bodies stacking up and the national treasury being sucked dry, U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy took a powerful stand against the war on terror in 2007.
The freshman congressman from northwestern Connecticut joined 70 of his colleagues in a letter to President Bush pledging to vote against any war funding bill that didn’t include a strategy and timetable for pulling American troops out of Iraq. He was the only Connecticut representative to do so.
Many Murphy supporters back home assumed he would apply the same standards to funding the war in Afghanistan.
They assumed wrong.
Last week, Murphy and the other members of the state’s all-Democrat congressional delegation all but rubber-stamped President Obama’s request for $80 billion more to fight the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The money for Iraq comes with strict benchmarks for progress and follows Obama’s timeline for withdrawing all troops by the end of 2011. The money for Afghanistan amounts to a blank check, anti-war activists say, just the kind Murphy and his Democratic colleagues opposed when George W. Bush was commander-in-chief.
New Film Chronicles Civilian Slaughter In Afghanistan
Civilians continue to be killed by American and coalition forces as the war in Afghanistan stretches into its eighth year with no end in sight. The civilian casualties have gone from the realm of tragedy and have now become frequent enough to turn the population against the United States in a war President Obama and congressional Democrats have escalated over the last several months.
Earlier this month, Dr. Roshnak Wardak, an Afghani member of parliament who has lived in both countries,told the Huffington Postthat the attacks inside Afghanistan have been devastating to U.S. credibility.
“We became tired from these attacks. Every day there is discussion in the parliament,” she said. “I’m against this kind of operation, very much against.”
The bombings are costing the United States the support of the civilian population, said Wardak, an independent not affiliated with a party who described herself as a moderate. “Every time this bombardment happens by drone, tomorrow we discuss this matter in the parliament. And I’m so sorry that when we discuss this matter, American country and their leadership, their soldiers, they are losing their popularity among the M.P.s and also among, especially, the people. Very much they are losing their popularity,” she said.
A new short film, to be released Thursday by Brave New Films and provided to the Huffington Post, interviews victims of those bombings. On Tuesday, the House of Representatives narrowly passed a bill to fund the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq with another $100 billion, over the objections of an antiwar faction of Democrats.
Be warned. It’s not pretty.
Radio Islam: Jacob Diliberto, Founding Member of Vets for Rethinking Afghanistan
By Radio Islam
Listen to full interview here:
¿Cómo hacer hablar a un terrorista? (How do you make a terrorist talk?)
By Jorge Morales Almada at La Ch
l hombre del turbante salió de la mesquita después de la primera oración del día. Era miércoles en el centro de Bagdad e ideal para que el equipo de espionaje del Ejército de Estados Unidos pasara desapercibido entre la multitud. Se trataba del jeque Abd al-Rahman, pieza clave para dar con el paradero de Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, líder en Irak de la red terrorista de al-Qaeda.
“Cuando se baje del automóvil blanco y se suba a uno azul, es que va a encontrarse con al-Zarqawi”, fue la pista que les dio un militante del grupo terrorista que había sido detenido por las tropas estadounidenses seis semanas antes de ese 7 de junio de 2006.
De manera discreta lo siguieron por más de 50 kilómetros hacia el norte, hasta una pequeña aldea a las afueras de Baquba, donde al-Rahman se bajó del vehículo y se introdujo a la casa que resultó ser el escondite del jefe máximo de al-Qaeda en Irak y por quien el gobierno estadounidense ofrecía 25 millones de dólares como recompensa, lo mismo que se ofrece por Osama Bin Laden.
Los espías estadounidenses lo habían confirmado, ahí estaba al-Zarqawi hablando con al-Rahman. Era el momento idóneo para capturarlo, pero las fuerzas especiales de combate estaban a media hora de distancia en helicóptero. El comandante a cargo no quiso correr riesgo de fuga y ordenó que los dos jets F-16 Fighting Falcons que se aproximaban soltaran sobre la vivienda las 500 libras de explosivos que llevaban.
La EXPLOSIÓN formó una cruz de polvo y escombro. Ahí murió al-Zarqawi y su consejero espiritual al-Rahman, además de una mujer y un niño.
Cuando llegaron los soldados, minutos después del bombardeo, al-Zarqawi era sacado de entre los escombros por policías iraquís. Un soldado estadounidense se le acercó y fue entonces cuando al verlo a los ojos, el terrorista soltó el último respiro.
La historia la cuenta Matthew Alexander, de 39 años de edad y líder de ese equipo de inteligencia del U.S. Army que interrogó a Abu Haydar, un hombre cercano al jeque al-Rahman.
“Abu Haydar es un hombre muy inteligente, es como Hannibal Lecter de la película Silence of the lambs, muy elegante e inteligente, manipulaba a los interrogadores y después de tres semanas de interrogatorios no obteníamos nada”, comentó Matthew Alexander, nombre que adoptó por seguridad de su familia.
Starbucks agrees to sixth labor settlement in three years
Starbucks signed a settlement with the National Labor Relations Board last week agreeing to let Minneapolis-area employees post union materials in their break areas and discuss union issues while on the job, as long as it doesn’t interfere with their performance.
The settlement does not include financial payment, and it will not be final until the NLRB decides whether to address objections to the settlement by union organizers at the Industrial Workers of the World, according to Marlin Osthus, acting director of the NLRB’s upper midwest region office.
The IWW initiated the complaints that led to the settlement and, according to a press release, considers it a victory at this point.
It’s Starbucks’ sixth labor settlement in three years and its second in Minneapolis. In December, the coffee chain also lost a battle in administrative-law court when a judge determined that Starbucks had unfairly imposed work rules on employees who supported the IWW.
The company is appealing the court’s decision and has not acknowledged wrongdoing in any of the settlements.
Washington Repeating Iraq Mistakes in Afghanistan
By Roll Call
Last week, as Congress moved to pass nearly $100 billion in war funding through a supplemental bill, 10 other veterans who served in Afghanistan and Iraq joined me in Washington, D.C., to visit Members of Congress and staff to encourage them to vote against the funding.
I do not know which was harder, seeing the impossibility of success in Afghanistan or seeing the impossibility within Congress to voice dissent from the administration. As a corporal in the U.S. Marines — who served in both Afghanistan and Iraq and who remains willing to give my life for this country — let me say from experience that our current strategy will not bring security to Afghanistan or to America.
What pained me in Afghanistan was witnessing too many civilian casualties, too many children without food and women without husbands, too many innocent Afghans who became anti-American because of our actions. But what pains me now: witnessing too many Members of Congress, too many administration officials and too many think-tank experts support this military approach.
As I pounded the Hill’s pavement, I heard numerous reasons why Congress needed to support the president’s agenda, and not one was convincing. I heard everything from “we want to give the administration a chance” to “this is leftover spending from the Bush administration” to “this will be the last supplemental like this,” and the one I was most appalled by, as thousands of lives remain in question, “Don’t want to oppose the administration during its honeymoon stage.”
I would respond with, “But how will we measure success?” After eight years of combat operations you’d think someone in Congress would be able to answer this question, but no one could. The only thing they seemed able to do, even the military veterans turned Congressional staffers — after fully recognizing the merit in everything I had to say and positively affirming my policy recommendations — was to close the meeting with a reluctant shrug in support of the administration’s agenda.