Tag Archives | Afghanistan

Pity the Children

Photo by Matthew Freire

Photo by Matthew Freire

The horrors of war may affect children worst of all.

Chris Hedges writes at Truthdig:

Combat brings with it trauma for those who inflict the violence as well as those who suffer it. See a lot of combat and the trauma is severe. But the worst trauma is often caused not by what combat veterans witnessed but by what they did. The most disturbing memories usually involve children. War creates bands of ragged, poor, dirty street urchins. The bands wander about the edges of a conflict looking for something to eat. They pick through the garbage dumps. They line the sides of roads begging convoys for food or chocolate. They attempt to sell a few pathetic items to make money. In Iraq they offered American troops “freaky”—the slang for European porn videos—whiskey or heroin (Turner said he doubted there was heroin in the packets). The children lived in fear.

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How the US Funds Global Torture | Brainwash Update

Abby goes over a new Amnesty International report that finds that 141 countries in the world practice torture methods, including everything from severe beatings to waterboarding, while the top ten recipients of US foreign aid are all members of that list.

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KBR and Halliburton Can Be Sued For Iraq Toxic Burn Pits, Court Rules

PIC: PD

PIC: PD

A ray of light amongst a curtain of shadows.

Via CorpWatch

KBR and Halliburton – two major U.S. military contractors – can be sued for the health impacts of trash incineration on U.S. soldiers who served in the war in Iraq, according to a new court decision that allows a series of 57 lawsuits against the companies to go forward.

The two companies have been paid some $40 billion for services provided to troops serving in the U.S. War on Terror throughout Central Asia and the Middle East in countries ranging from Afghanistan and Iraq to Kuwait and Uzbekistan. (Most of the contracts were implemented by KBR which was a subsidiary of Halliburton until 2007 when it was spun off into a separate company)

Under the Logistics Civilian Augmentation Program (LOGCAP) contract, KBR and Halliburton operated ten acre wide burn pits 24 hours a day on U.S. military bases throughout Iraq until the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act officially banned them.

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Lone Survivor—And Who Was Doing the Thinking That Fateful Time?

navy sealsThis is not a review of Lone Survivor, a competent war movie—minus one major detail that needs to be stated: the film is shot in New Mexico, on the assumption that none of us have ever visited the state and it will, therefore, be a perfect stand-in for Afghanistan. Having been to New Mexico twice, and recognizing the place within minutes, I had trouble in suspending disbelief. But never mind that: Hollywood’s permanent assumption is that moviegoers are far from discerning so, enough said. The problem stems from the story itself, if it is faithful to the events as they occurred in actuality.

During the War in Afghanistan, a highly trained four-man Navy SEAL reconnaissance and surveillance team is dropped from a helicopter via fastrope in a saddle between two mountains. Their mission is to observe an Area of Interest, looking in particular for the commander of a group of fighters, Ahmad Shah.… Read the rest

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Afghan Children Pay the Price of Brutal War

Pic: US ARMY (PD)

Pic: US ARMY (PD)

César Chelala writes at Common Dreams:

Decades of insecurity and war have provoked a heavy toll on children’s lives and well being. An under-5 mortality rate of 199 per 1,000 live births as reported by UNICEF is among the highest in the world. That means that more than one out of every five children is dead by the time they are five. In addition, health and education systems suffer from lack of funds and qualified professionals, a situation worsened by the security situation.

The statistics are frightening. More than 60% of all child deaths and disabilities are due to respiratory and intestinal infections, and of vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles. Diarrhea kills tens of thousands of children every year. Many also die from severance of breast-feeding before time. An estimated 7.5 million children and adults are at risk from hunger and malnutrition, the latter affecting children’s growth in particular.

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A Citizen’s Apology To Afghanistan

Hamid Karzai 2002Excellency Hamid Karzai
President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
Dilkoshah Palace, a.k.a The ARG
Kabul

Dear President Karzai,

I am very, very sorry that my government won’t say how sorry we should be for the way Afghan people have died and been maimed and, otherwise poorly treated, by American soldiers, who, in too many cases, are imbued with an officially encouraged macho culture and sense of superiority enabled by having the guns and power to push people around.

That is even as we are supposedly in your country to defend and protect your emerging “democracy” from the bearded Taliban meanies who are violent extremists, or at least play them in this psycho-drama we call our “strategic partnership.” (Recall: we came to fight Al Qaeda, not the Taliban, the enemy no one mentions anymore!)

I am sorry that it’s so hard for American officials to see what others do see: that we, too, are viewed as violent extremists, what with our unrestrained use of drones and other killing machines.… Read the rest

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Afghanistan Opium Crops at All-Time High Despite Western Intervention

indexThe opium trade is alive and well in Afghanistan, despite the efforts of Western nations to control it – At least according to NPR. I’m not especially convinced that the United States is doing much to control opium, and I don’t think it wants to.

Via NPR:

The amount of land under opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan is at a record high, released Wednesday.

Opium production in 2013, meanwhile, rose 49 percent over 2012, according to the 2013 Afghanistan Opium Survey. The country is the world’s No. 1 poppy producer.

The report’s findings come as Western troops prepare to leave Afghanistan in 2014 more than a decade after they deposed the Taliban and attempted to bring stability to the country.

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