[  ]
Restore the Wetlands. Reinforce the Levees.

Archive for July, 2010

Afghanistan: More Insane Than a Quagmire

Saturday, July 3rd, 2010

*

“. . . the reality, secretly guarded until now, is . . . [that] . . . it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. . . . That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap. . . . The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter. We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.”

Zbigniew Brzezinski, national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter; interview with Le Nouvel Observateur (Paris), January 15–21, 1998

“Notwithstanding the damage al Qaeda and the Taliban have suffered . . . bin Laden’s forces now have the United States where they have wanted it, on the ground in Afghanistan where Islamist insurgents can seek to reprise their 1980s’ victory over the Red Army [of the Soviet Union]. Al Qaeda now has the chance to prove bin Laden’s thesis that the United States cannot maintain long-term, casualty-producing military engagements . . .”

Michael Scheuer, former head of CIA’s bin Laden unit, Through Our Enemies’ Eyes: Osama bin Laden, Radical Islam, and the Future of America (2002)

“. . . as Commander-in-Chief, I have determined that it is in our vital national interest to send an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan.  After 18 months, our troops will begin to come home. . . . It must be clear that Afghans will have to take responsibility for their security, and that America has no interest in fighting an endless war in Afghanistan. . . . our troop commitment in Afghanistan cannot be open-ended—because the nation that I’m most interested in building is our own.”

President Barack Obama, United States Military Academy at West Point, Dec. 1, 2009

*

Runaway General, Runaway War

Everyone has heard at least a few choice snippets of the trash-talk by Gen. Stanley McChrystal and his staff (“Bite me,” etc.) reported by Michael Hastings in “The Runaway General” in the July 8–22, 2010 issue of Rolling Stone. While we urge everyone to read the whole article (better yet, buy a copy like we did), we thought it would be productive to present some revealing excerpts about the war itself—the substance we wish the Beltway media would focus on to serve the public interest, rather than rehashing the gossip and backbiting. There were many passages we could have quoted, but here are a few. You’ll see that the general’s insults, while careless and insubordinate, are not the most disturbing material.

(more…)



Smoke on the Water: Alabama Conservationist’s Gripping Video of Death at Sea

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

*

On MSNBC’s Countdown on June 30 Keith Olbermann spoke to John L. Wathen, an Alabama conservationist with Hurricane Creekkeeper (Waterkeeper Alliance) who has flown over the Gulf of Mexico to film the BP oil flood, the dead and dying dolphins and whales, the fires burning on the sea’s surface, and the fires that are pouring immeasurable toxins into the air. (See more videos at bpoilslick.blogspot.com and click here for a “photobucket” of images from the aerial survey.)

In the YouTube video above of which clips were shown on Countdown, Wathen narrates in a sad Alabama drawl:

Will the Gulf ever be the same again? As we headed out toward Louisiana, it was mile after mile of rainbow, heavy, heavy slick oil, and then a circle appeared. Could there possibly be life under all of this? . . . As we looked closer, we saw this pod of dolphins obviously struggling just to breathe [36 dolphins in this pod; 18 dolphins in another]. . . . Then we found this guy, a sperm whale swimming in the oil, had just breached . . . along his back, we could see red patches of crude as if he’d been basted for broiling. Then there was this pod of dolphins found later, some already dead, some in their death throes. It seemed to be that they were raising their heads, looking at the fires, wondering, Why is my world burning down around me? Why would humans do this to me? . . .

The scope of this is beyond belief. It will take years at this rate to gather up even a portion of the oil that is on the surface today. Some of it looks more like bruised internal organs of the human body than the surface of the ocean. . . . First time I came out and saw a fire there was only one; today when we got here there were four. Within a couple of passes there were seven. From the size of these fires it seems as though we’re not only trying to kill everything in the Gulf of Mexico but everything that flies over it as well. . . .

From 1.2 miles from the shores of Gulf Shores, Alabama, to the Ground Zero site some 90 miles away, we haven’t flown over a single square inch of clear water. Imagine how many fires it will take to burn that much oil. There has to be something better than putting all this toxic smoke into the atmosphere. Why are there not large ships here with suction devices that can go down and pull this stuff closer to the source and put it on ships and recycle it somehow? . . .

*

Click here for Waterkeeper.org and here for a list of Waterkeeper groups working to protect the Gulf and other waters. Click here for the Blue Frontier Campaign (and see David Helvarg’s article below the fold.)

(more…)