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Big Brass Blog is a group blog founded in February of 2005 by Pam Spaulding of Pam's House Blend and Melissa McEwan of Shakesville (formerly Shakespeare's Sister). The mission of this collaborative effort is to stand as the premiere forum where strong, enduring voices of Progressivism provide what liberal politics has been missing: the unapologetic, unrelenting voice of liberalism in the darkness visited upon our world by Right-wing extremists, their ruinous policies, and their hypocritical beliefs.

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24 September 2010

You pull a few troops out of Iraq and you expect the Arab World to play nicey-nicey?

by: Peter of Lone Tree

Obama asks Arab states to do more in peace effort

Bomb Iraq.
Bomb Afghanistan.
Bomb Pakistan.
Bomb the world.

You're a little late.
06 September 2010

End of Combat Operations

by: Dark Wraith

Last week, President Obama declared the official end of combat operations in Iraq.

Sure. Whatever.

END OF COMBAT


by Dark Wraith via the Cheezburger Network


Cross-posted from The Dark Wraith Forums


· · ·
13 August 2010

WARNING from Castro:

by: Peter of Lone Tree

Whatever one may think of Castro personally and politically, he is unquestionably one of the longest-serving national leaders in today’s world, and brings to the table his experience during the Cuban missile crisis of October 1962. Castro knows, in short, what a nuclear confrontation looks like from the inside. The American public would do well to put aside the arrogance and impudence of the US mass media and pay attention to why this sick old man is putting so much of his flagging energy into an attempt to alert the world to a danger which is being widely ignored.

Webster Tarpley has the rest at World War 3: Confrontation Builds On Multiple Fronts.
27 July 2010

Passed: Additional Funding For Afghanistan War

by: Foiled Goil

Congress has passed additional supplemental funding for the Afghanistan war:

House Voting Big War Funds, Despite Afghan Leaks.
The House prepared Tuesday to send President Barack Obama a major war-funding increase of $33 billion to pay for his troop surge in Afghanistan, unmoved by the leaking of classified military documents that portray a military effort struggling between 2004 and 2009 against a strengthening insurgency.

House passes war funding bill
The House of Representatives on Tuesday gave final approval to a nearly $59 billion emergency spending bill, the bulk of which would go toward the U.S. troop buildup in Afghanistan.

Specifically, the bill includes almost $33 billion for Afghanistan, along with over $5 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, almost $3 billion for Haiti relief programs and $68 million for the oil disaster response in the Gulf of Mexico.

It now goes to the president for his signature.

H R 4899 — QUESTION: On Motion to Suspend the Rules, Recede from the House Amdt, and Concur in the Senate Amdt

BILL TITLE: Making emergency supplemental appropriations for disaster relief and summer jobs for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010, and for other purposes.

Roll Call:

Yeas: 308  —  Nays: 114  —  NV:  10



26 July 2010

Dump Da Dump Dump

by: Foiled Goil

A massive info dump at WikiLeaks shines more light on Bush's other war:

How the WikiLeaks scoop on Afghanistan will transform the war.
This week is going to be all about Afghanistan. That's thanks to Wikileaks, an online depository for the kinds of documents that are not, under any circumstances, supposed to be publicly disclosed, much less posted on the Internet. Today the site has published some 92,000 U.S. classified government documents chronicling five years of the war in Afghanistan. As The New York Times puts it, they are, "a daily diary of an American-led force often starved for resources and attention as it struggled against an insurgency that grew larger, better coordinated and more deadly each year." [snip]

Wikileaks multiplied the impact of the release -- perhaps by an incalculable amount -- by disclosing the documents weeks ago to three of the biggest western news institutions: The New York Times, The Guardian in London, and Der Spiegel in Germany. Each news outlet has taken a different tack and used varying judgments as to what to publish and what to censor.

As the documents spread, more revelations, patterns, and possibly even more disclosures will follow. Certainly there will be talk of this journalistic moment’s likeness to the publishing of the Pentagon Papers in 1971.

Massive Leak-Dump of Afghan Files
A lot of sensitive information about the war in Afghanistan has been leaked thru Wikileaks, and the Guardian has set up a site to examine it. The New York Times and Der Spiegel were also recipients of the classified information and are doing their own articles. There is plenty of disturbing stuff. One thing that is disturbing is the Taliban's incredible indifference to protecting innocent civilian life.

Seymour Hersh, the Afghanistan War WikiLeaks, and Getting the Real Story
One of the best investigative journalists who has been reporting on America's wars is Seymour Hersh. Hersh has been ahead of the pack -- revealing hard-to-believe atrocities far before the political marketplace was often ready or willing to accept his reporting.

The extraordinary posting on WikiLeaks of more than 92,000 classified documents on America's military activities in Afghanistan and Pakistan confirms Hersh's claims of battlefield executions and death squads.

Leak of Afghan war logs condemned by U.S.
U.S. officials have condemned the release of thousands of secret military and intelligence reports about the war in Afghanistan by the website Wikileaks.

The more than 91,000 documents, released Sunday, reveal new details about the war in Afghanistan, including the close relationship of the Pakistani military with Afghan insurgents. They also describe numerous accounts of brutality, corruption, extortion and kidnapping committed by members of the Afghan police force.

The documents were written by soldiers and intelligence officers, Wikileaks said.

Wikileaks Reveals Grim Afghan War Realities
Shocking in scope if not in content, the leak of 91,000 classified U.S. records on the Afghanistan war by the whistle-blower website Wikileaks.org is one of the largest unauthorized disclosures in military history.

The documents cover much of what the public already knows about the troubled nine-year conflict: U.S. spec-ops forces have targeted militants without trial, Afghans have been killed by accident, and U.S. officials have been infuriated by alleged Pakistani intelligence cooperation with the very insurgent groups bent on killing Americans.

WikiLeaks posted the documents Sunday. The New York Times, London's Guardian newspaper and the German weekly Der Spiegel were given early access to the records.

The release was instantly condemned by U.S. and Pakistani officials as both potentially harmful and irrelevant.

White House national security adviser Gen. Jim Jones said the release "put the lives of Americans and our partners at risk." In a statement, he then took pains to point out that the documents describe a period from January 2004 to December 2009, mostly during the administration of President George W. Bush. And, Jones added, before President Obama announced a new strategy.

John Kerry Smells the Pentagon Papers
I don't know if Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry has ever met Daniel Ellsberg or not, but with this statement -- which stands in stark contrast to the condemnatory comments from the White House about the WikiLeaks Afghanistan War Logs -- Kerry shows he has a respect for Pentagon Papers moments. . .

"However illegally these documents came to light, they raise serious questions about the reality of America's policy toward Pakistan and Afghanistan. Those policies are at a critical stage and these documents may very well underscore the stakes and make the calibrations needed to get the policy right more urgent."



25 July 2010

2010's verion of Daniel Ellsberg...are you listening Woodward?

by: Father Tyme

From Firedoglake:

wikileaks-release-of-secret-afghan-war-archives

Any bets on how soon the Internet suffers a massive interruption?


· · ·
20 July 2010

Quote of the Day

by: Peter of Lone Tree

But even if we were to “win,” what then? As Tom Engelhardt wrote last week on the website TomDispatch.com, “We would be in minimalist possession of the world’s fifth poorest country. We would be in minimal possession of the world’s second most corrupt country. We would be in minimal possession of the world’s foremost narco-state, the only country that essentially produces a drug monocrop, opium. In terms of the global war on terror, we would be in possession of a country that the director of the CIA now believes to hold 50 to 100 al-Qaeda operatives (‘maybe less’) -- for whom parts of the country might still be a ‘safe haven.’ And for this, and everything to come, we would be paying, at a minimum, $84 billion a year.”

Don’t you know there’s a war on?
06 July 2010

"Why the Taliban is winning in Afghanistan"

by: Peter of Lone Tree

It is
"a war begun for no wise purpose, carried on with a strange mixture of rashness and timidity, brought to a close after suffering and disaster, without much glory attached either to the government which directed, or the great body of troops which waged it. Not one benefit, political or military, has (name of country deleted) acquired with this war. Our eventual evacuation of the country resembled the retreat of an army defeated."

Try to name the country and the year.
Answer is at the New Statesman.

(Don't they study history at the War College?)
23 June 2010

Petraeus Named To Replace McChrystal

by: Foiled Goil

General Resigns After Controversial Statements About Obama
The announcement followed a short meeting between McChrystal and the president. Obama summoned McChrystal to Washington after learning of a Rolling Stone profile in which the general trash-talked the president, his national security team and war strategy rival Vice President Joseph Biden.

White House Press Conference:
President Obama Replaces McChrystal With Petraeus (Video)

No R.E.S.P.E.C.T.


President Obama on Afghanistan, General McChrystal & General Petraeus
The President speaks on General Stanley McChrystal’s resignation as commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, and General David Petraeus agreeing to take over that role.

(Includes video.)

Afghanistan: America's longest war
U.S. forces attacked Afghanistan on Oct. 7, 2001.

 Too long. Too much.

Afghanistan - U. S. Military Fatalities, to date

Fatality count as of June 23, 2010
18 March 2010

Dahr Jamail: Mass Casualties

by: Peter of Lone Tree

"Look around," the drill sergeant said. "In a few years, or even a few months, several of you will be dead. Some of you will be severely wounded or so badly mutilated that your own mother can't stand the sight of you. And for the real unlucky ones, you will come home so emotionally disfigured that you wish you had died over there."

(...)

"Mass Casualties" is not the first and is not going to be the last indictment of the US occupation of Iraq. There have been films, reports, books, blogs and dozens of testimonies at Winter Soldier events that have exposed various ugly aspects of the occupation as witnessed and enforced by the “heroes” in uniform. Each tale comes with its share of guilt, despair and remorse at having been complicit in wanton destruction under an obviously false façade of patriotism."

From "'Mass Casualties': The Dark Underbelly of Occupation, an Army Medic's Account"
30 November 2009

Just Get Out. NOW.

by: Foiled Goil

Stop spending our national treasure and the blood of our troops. Bring our troops home. Just get out. Now.

U.S. will be out of Afghanistan by 2017: White House
The United States will not be in Afghanistan eight years from now, the White House said on Wednesday, as President Barack Obama prepared to explain to Americans next week why he is expanding the war effort.

After months of deliberation and fending off Republican charges that he was dithering on Afghanistan while violence there surged, Obama will address the nation on Tuesday on the way forward in the costly and unpopular eight-year war.

He is expected to announce he is sending about 30,000 more troops as part of a new counterinsurgency strategy that will place greater emphasis on accelerating the training of Afghan security forces so that U.S. soldiers can eventually withdraw.

It appears highly unlikely Obama will offer a specific troop withdrawal timetable, but White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the president would stress that the U.S. involvement in Afghanistan was not open-ended.

"We are in year nine of our efforts in Afghanistan. We are not going to be there another eight or nine years," Gibbs told reporters. "Our time there will be limited and that is important for people to understand," he said.

He said Obama would use his prime-time televised speech to stress the "sheer cost" of the war, explain to Americans why their military was still in Afghanistan, and press Afghan President Hamid Karzai to improve governance after being re-elected in a fraud-tainted vote in August.

"The American people are going to want to know why we are here, they are going to want to know what our interests are," Gibbs said.

The White House has estimated it will cost $1 million per year for each additional soldier sent to Afghanistan. With the U.S. deficit hitting $1.4 trillion and fueling Americans' concerns about high government spending, sending more troops to Afghanistan could be a politically risky move for Obama.

Obama to detail troop increase in Afghanistan
As president prepares to address the nation, officials given marching orders

After months of debate, President Barack Obama will spell out a costly Afghanistan war expansion to a skeptical public Tuesday night, coupling an infusion of as many as 35,000 more troops with a vow that there will be no endless U.S. commitment. His first orders have already been made: at least one group of Marines who will be in place by Christmas.

Countdown with Keith Olbermann
Obama plans troop increase for Afghanistan

Nov. 30: Msnbc analyst Richard Wolffe discusses some of the details released from President Barack Obama’s troop deployment decision in Afghanistan. [ 7:44 ]

GOP stands by war hypocrisy

Nov. 30: Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter talks about the contrast between reality and how the GOP perceives the situation on the ground in Afghanistan. [ 3:54 ]

Olbermann on Afghanistan: Get out now

Nov. 30: In a Special Comment, Countdown’s Keith Olbermann argues that in the face political and financial opportunism, not to mention outright lies about the war in Afghanistan, and the stark historical warning represented by Vietnam, President Obama should make the change he promised during his campaign and pull U.S. troops out of Afghanistan. [ 9:15 ]



Levin: There Would Be No Afghan Dilemma If Bush Had Caught Bin Laden
Senate Armed Services Committee Chair Carl Levin (D-Mich.) insisted on Sunday that, had it not been for the Bush administration's failure to catch Osama bin Laden in 2001, there likely would be no debate about sending more troops to Afghanistan.

Addressing a new Senate Foreign Relations Committee report claiming bin Laden was nearly captured by U.S. forces at Tora Bora, Levin argued that had the capture taken place, "there would be a good chance we would not have forces or need to have forces [in Afghanistan]."

"This has been kind of well known for some time," Levin added. "We took our eye off the ball instead of moving in on him at Tora Bora, the previous administration decided to move its forces to Iraq. It was a mistake then. I think this report of the Foreign Relations committee just sort of reinforces that."

Tora Bora Report
TORA BORA REVISITED: HOW WE FAILED TO GET BIN LADEN AND WHY IT MATTERS TODAY

A Report To Members OF THE COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS UNITED STATES SENATE

Conservative Senators Embrace Putting Off Health Care For Americans In Favor Of Escalation In Afghanistan
The policy debate in Washington is currently focused on two topics: a possible escalation of the war in Afghanistan and health care legislation. Both a troop escalation and health care reform carry significant price tags — roughly $100 billion and $80-$100 billion a year respectively. (It should be noted that health care reform, unlike a troop surge, would cut the deficit.)

When it comes to these two debates, hawkish senators have laid out their priorities. They are more than willing to fund a risky troop surge that is increasingly opposed by both Americans and Afghans, yet remain stalwart opponents of health care reform that could save the lives of the 45,000 Americans who die every year because they lack access to health care. [snip]

As the number of Americans on food stamps rises to an all-time high, the unemployment rate hits double-digits, and Americans continue to perish due to lack of health coverage, how can these senators justify draining funding from crucial domestic programs to pay for an escalation of the war in Afghanistan?

The best way to start mopping up after Bush's mess is to not make more mess.


· ·
25 November 2009

Wake Up Call

by: Foiled Goil

Big Eddie gets down on Bush's Afghanistan War.

The Ed Schultz Show:
Op-Ed: Obama, finish the job! [ 4:50 ]

Nov. 24: Msnbc’s Ed Schultz and a panel debate how President Barack Obama’s Afghanistan decision will impact the country and the war.

Full segment [ 14:33 ]




· ·
04 October 2009

The Attack on Iran

by: Dark Wraith

In a recent comment, Big Brass Blog contributing writer Debra offered the following information from an article at Raw Story:
Two senior Republican senators say the United States, and not Israel, should attack Iran if military action becomes "necessary."

They also say a simple strike at the country's nuclear capability wouldn't be enough — the US would have to launch an "all-or-nothing" war against Iran with the aim of crippling the country's military capabilities.

"I think an Israeli attack on Iran is a nightmare for the world, because it will rally the Arab world around Iran and they're not aligned now. It's too much pressure to put on Israel," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told Fox News' Chris Wallace.

He continued: "Military action should be the last resort anyone looks at, and I would rather our allies and us take military action if it's necessary."

But Graham doesn't think an attack should be limited to airstrikes on Iran's nuclear facilities. "If we use military action against Iran, we should not only go after their nuclear facilities. We should destroy their ability to make conventional war. They should have no planes that can fly and no ships that can float," said Graham.

Sen. Saxby Chambliss, Republican of Georgia, agrees.

"The problem with military action also is that you're probably not going to be able to stop the production of uranium by just a simple airstrike," Chambliss said on Fox News Sunday."Lindsey's right. It's an all or nothing deal. And is it worth that at this point in time, when we know they have the capability? We can slow them down, but a full-out military strike is what it would take," said Chambliss.


Given that the two Republican warhawks have had their say, speaking in my paleo-conservative persona, I shall now have mine.

The "all" in "all or nothing," of course, refers to the use of nuclear weapons, which would be the only means by which we could possibly destroy the incredibly hardened, deep-underground facilities where Iran is producing its nuclear fuel.

To accomplish the mission these fellows imagine, we have to do more than compromise certain Iranian defense systems: we would have to utterly destroy not just the entirety of the Persian nation's command and control environment, but also the entirety of its shoreline perimeter defense systems, including everything from its still-deployed but aging Silkworms to its unstoppable Sunburn and similar high-speed, anti-ship systems, which, if left even in small numbers, would undoubtedly destroy just about any targeted ship in the U.S. naval fleet. Notwithstanding our hubris concerning our ship defense systems, they would not stand a chance against a small flurry of the ultra-fast killers in the Iranian weapons inventory.

Try maybe 2,000 sorties in a span of absolutely no more than 48 hours.

Think about repeated conventional bunker-buster hits followed by nuclear strikes on those underground facilities.

Think about every manner of horror as we tried to contain the attacks to "military" facilities, but nevertheless ended up having to hit downtown Tehran to kill key political and military leaders and level telecommunications, transportation, and distribution centers.

Remember 2003, with just about everyone in America watching TV stations running "Shock and Awe" 24/7 like it was the National Football League playoff game of the decade?

Maybe we'll get to do it again. Americans love that reality TV stuff, and so do the media moguls: no salaries for script writers because — hey! — there's no script.

Now, let's get this clear lest my liberal friends start singing Kumbaya! while I'm still in the room.

Iran really is working fast and furious on both nuclear weapons and intermediate range ballistic delivery vehicles. Shortly, their missiles will achieve Mark IV status, and all of Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia will be in the nuclear shadow of the Persian bullies.

Under what presidency did it come to this?

Oh, yes. That would be the administration of George W. Bush, who pissed away our military readiness on a useless, wasteful war based entirely upon lies.

And how did Bush's dumb pit bull, Dick Cheney, handle Iran?

Ah, yes. That would be with covert goon squads tasked to blowing up strategically meaningless things, capturing strategically meaningless people, and paying big money to narco-traffickers fresh from the poppy fields of the vertical opium monopoly that is the Afghanistan that George W. Bush created with a war to catch a crippled, self-important little rich boy who, when all was said and done, was too wily for the entirety of the United States armed forces.

Strut your stuff, neocons.

Piss about your teabags, Right-wingers.

Pray to your false vision of Jesus, evangelicals.

You've done a darned fine job.

Now, all we've got is a huckster from Chicago to clean up your stinking mess of the world.

Assholes.


· · · · · ·
13 August 2009

the ironic cloud

by: astraea

What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make and end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from...

Looking back, Robert McNamara tells us, among other things, in The Fog of War:

point 4) Our judgments of friend and foe, alike, reflected our profound ignorance of the history, culture, and politics of the people in the area, and the personalities and habits of their leaders.


He'd like this:
Harper's, The ironic cloud By D. Graham Burnett and Jeffrey Andrew Dolven

intro:
By D. Graham Burnett and Jeff Dolven, from “Irony in the National Defense.” Last winter, Lockheed Martin Corporation approached Princeton University with a request for research initiatives. In April, Burnett, an historian of science, and Dolven, a professor of English, submitted the proposal, the cost of which they estimated to be $750,000; Princeton declined to forward it to Lockheed.


But you can read it here. It's beautiful. and the beautiful is difficult...

excerpt (and wind down):

Admittedly the most speculative dimension of this project is the preliminary investigation into modes of weaponized irony. Superpower-level political entities (e.g., Roman Empire, George W. Bush, large corporations, etc.) have tended to look on irony as a “weapon of the weak” and thus adopted a primarily defensive posture in the face of ironic assault. But a historically sensitive consideration of major strategic realignments suggests that many critical inflection points in geopolitics (e.g., Second Punic War, American Revolution, etc.) have involved the tactical redeployment of “guerrilla” techniques and tools by regional hegemons. There is reason to think that irony, properly concentrated and effectively mobilized, might well become a very powerful armament on the “battlefield of the future,” serving as a nonlethal—or even lethal—sidearm in the hands of human fighters in an information-intensive projection of awesome force. Without further fundamental research into the neurological and psychological basis of irony, it is difficult to say for certain how such systems might work, but the general mechanism is clear enough: irony manifestly involves a sudden and profound “doubling” of the inner life of the human subject. The ironizer no longer maintains an integrated and holistic perspective on the topic at hand but rather experiences something like a small tear in the consciousness, whereby the overt and covert meanings of a given text or expression are sundered. We do not now know just how far this tear could be opened—and we do not understand what the possible vital consequences might be. Even under the current lay or primitive deployments of irony, we see instances of disorientation, anger, and sometimes even despair. There is thus reason to hope that the irony of the future, suitably tuned, refined, and charged, might be mobilized to ” the enemy or possibly kill outright. This would be an extreme form of the sort of “speech act” theorized by the English philosopher (and, significantly, Strategic Intelligence Service officer in MI-6) J. L. Austin. Excitingly, such systems could be understood as the tangible culmination of a 2,500-year humanistic Western project of making words matter.
04 August 2009

finally -- the end of Blackwater in sight.

by: astraea

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy



« View all web results for the nation blackwater


Blackwater Founder Implicated in Murder - Jeremy Scahill - ‎7 hours ago‎

Brett Story: The Nation's Jeremy Scahill reports that while Blackwater's Iraq contract won't be renewed, the powerful military corporation has no plans to...

Blackwater Founder Erik Prince Implicated in Murder HULIQ

Assassinations, Weapons Smuggling, Wife-Swapping—The Latest... Mother Jones

BLACKWATER and MURDER The Young Turks

all 15 news articles »

The Nation: Blackwater Seeks Gag Order
NPR - Jeremy Scahill - ‎Jul 23, 2009‎
The motion specifically seeks to prohibit statements to "the national and local news media." At the same time, according to a court filing, Blackwater is...



note please archives, blackwater:
http://themoonsfavors.blogspot.com/search?q=blackwater

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