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Upsetment
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Bloodsport

Bloodsport | Upsetment | Scoop.it
From cockfighting to buzkashi, Afghanistan’s pastimes are as brutal as the country’s history.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

When we in the U.S. and Europe talk of Afghanistan and the development of democracy and government there, we tend to ignore the reality of its ferocious culture. Often the true nature of a society can be found in its sports; these vignettes of Afghan "competitive athletics" help us to understand the gulf between the war lord and tribal realities and the fantasies of Washington, London, and the like.

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Afghan Watchdog: Hundreds of Millions of Dollars Can’t Be Found

Afghan Watchdog: Hundreds of Millions of Dollars Can’t Be Found | Upsetment | Scoop.it

I know, I know, you don't wanThe Pentagon can’t account for several hundred million dollars' worth of reconstruction funds paid out to dozens of contractors in Afghanistan, according to a new…

Kenneth Weene's insight:

I know, I know, my conservative friends don't want to me to bash the Bush-Cheney administration; but look at the dates. It was those fine business oriented men at the helm when so much money was being wasted. Perhaps it's time for us to remember how Harry Truman, an obscure, machine-connected senator, rose to prominence. He went after the waste in the war effort; that was WWII in case you forget. If we don't stop catering to the military-industrial-espionage complex, we're going to be in an awful state. I remember Ike warning us way back, and the GOP has done everything it can to ignore that warning. I'm not saying the Dems don't also waste money. God knows that much of the "War on Poverty" was a fiasco. Maybe it's the whole idea of war, war of any kind that gets us into trouble. War is not a good idea. 

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As the U.S. mission winds down, Afghanistan’s insurgency grows more fractured and complex

As the U.S. mission winds down, Afghanistan’s insurgency grows more fractured and complex | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The Taliban is transforming into a patchwork of forces with conflicting ideals and motivations.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

That these men may believe they can hide under the Taliban label and strive for local independence actually suggests that they will end up being destroyed by the eventual (and I have no doubt it is coming) Pashtun state. The American policy in Afghanistan is as absent good sense as was the Russian. Help the Pashtun develop a nation within their traditional geographic boundaries and allow the remainder of Afghans to either join surrounding countries or set up their own separate country (or perhaps a couple of smaller countries). But to believe that the Taliban name has something to do with all Afghans is as foolhardy as believing that the mujahideen were going to be pro-Western once the Soviets were driven out.

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US-funded Afghan C-27s scrapped for 6 cents per pound

US-funded Afghan C-27s scrapped for 6 cents per pound | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Most of the C-27 transport aircraft given to the Afghanistan military as part of a failed $486 million Defense Department program were locally scrapped for just $32,000, federal auditors said Thursday.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

The U.S. military seems to know no bounds to its wastefulness. Here is just one more example of the D.O.D.'s inability to function with restraint and judgement. How about a congressional investigation into this waste? Isn't it time to do some serious evaluation of the spending?

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Loose Lips at the White House Created a Polio Crisis

Loose Lips at the White House Created a Polio Crisis | Upsetment | Scoop.it

There is a tragic story unfolding in Pakistan, which is the
only country in the world where polio infections increased last year. According to the Centers for Disease Control there were 416
reported cases in the world last year. Ninety-three of them were in
Pakistan. So far this year there have been 128 recorded cases. Ninety-nine have been in Pakistan. Pakistan saw a 60 percent increase from the prior year despite the availability of a licensed polio vaccine since 1962. The problem is that the Taliban is shooting the doctors administering the vaccine and has banned the vaccine outright.

Kenneth Weene's insight:

Forget the fact that this is one example in which the Obama administration has "famously" done something stupid; it is an incredibly sad commentary on humanity. Might I suggest that the U.S. government offer to train Taliban personnel to administer the vaccine. Is it really that complicated a process to deliver it? The training could be provided by health professionals from other countries at U.S. expense (Yes, we should pay the bill since we helped create the crisis.) Are we really that bereft of thinking outside the box?

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Afghans to Alter the Government

Afghans to Alter the Government | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Nearly a decade after American officials pushed a Constitution that enshrined near-dictatorial powers for the Afghan president, a stronger parliamentary system is now seen as needed.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

So let me see if I have this right: The constitution that was brought to Afghanistan by the American neocons, those experts are nation building, is flawed because it was to dictatorial. Why? Please tell me. Why do Americans still think the right has something to offer? Don't we get it yet? They aren't even up to the standards of the Afghans, who are relatively unsophisticated and certainly unused to democracy.

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U.S. Drone Hits Pakistan for 2nd Time in 12 Hours

U.S. Drone Hits Pakistan for 2nd Time in 12 Hours | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The strikes were apparently aimed at the Haqqani network, a Taliban-allied faction that until last month held the American soldier Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl hostage.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

One reason for the Bergdahl deal was to free our CIA drone operations against the Haqqani bases. The Haqqani are a smaller group allied with the Taliban, also Pashtun but from a specific clan and under separate leadership. Of course, they, too, were funded and supported by the U.S. when the Soviet Union's forces were in Afghanistan.

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Origins of C.I.A.’s Not-So-Secret Drone War in Pakistan

Origins of C.I.A.’s Not-So-Secret Drone War in Pakistan | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The C.I.A.’s covert drone war in Pakistan began with the 2004 killing of a Pashtun militant, the result of a secret deal that was a turning point in the agency’s fight against terrorism.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

I have been saying Pashtun over and over in posts about Afghanistan and Pakistan. Their right to a national homeland has always been the underlying issue.

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Where the Grave Isn't Free: One Afghan Interpreter's Trials of US Resettlement

Where the Grave Isn't Free: One Afghan Interpreter's Trials of US Resettlement | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Day and night, amid the relentless din of interstate traffic, Aimal tries to take solace in this nondescript low-income housing unit alongside the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.

The Spartan fla...
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Once again the United States demonstrates its lack of commitment to those who have fought for us, especially those from other countries. To this day the grown children of Filipinos who served with the U.S. in World War II are unable to get visas to come here. How many Vietnamese were left behind? Now we have these proud Afghan translators and other helpers facing poverty with no assistance in finding the employment, not the welfare, they want. A nation that is as non-humanitarian as ours doesn't deserve the approbation of other countries.

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Has the Caliphate Come to Kabul?

Has the Caliphate Come to Kabul? | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Shortly after 5 p.m. on Feb. 24, Ismail Keyhan arrived at Kabul's central bus station to pick up his father, Amini, a day laborer working…
Kenneth Weene's insight:

The Islamic nations of the world cannot escape the threat of ISIS, because at the core of Islam is the yearning for the true leader, the prophet. That is why a protestant revolution in Islam will always involve a threat to the world. "The Caliph will come and lead the forces of Allah to victory," is the underlying dream and refrain to which the young and disaffected rally. The key difference between Islam and Christianity is that Christianity ultimately involved the individual's faith-relationship with Christ while Islam is about submission of the individual to leadership through the faith. The Shia have found that leadership primarily through scholarship (ayatollahs), who can operate individually. The Sunni are looking for a great leader who will lead them on to victory. And into this mix marches the madness of the American military-industrial-espionage complex, a greed driven machine incapable of recognizing or understanding the complexity of the situation. We pushed in and undermined the overall stability, albeit the stability of madness, at the behest of the Republicans who thought that with might we could remake the world. More fools us.

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Afghanistan Watchdog Pushes Pentagon on Lavish Spending

Afghanistan Watchdog Pushes Pentagon on Lavish Spending | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The top American watchdog for Afghanistan's reconstruction is investigating whether a Pentagon task force charged with juicing Afghanistan’s moribund economy misspent millions of taxpayer dollars…
Kenneth Weene's insight:

The only industry that seems to have flourished is the opium trade, which the Taliban had almost destroyed. Yay, us. Aren't we just a splendid creator of Democracy? (Hell, no) of bureaucracy. While the Bush-Cheney administration created this mess, the Obama administration has been way to slow in correcting it. And this report doesn't even begin to take into account the money the military wasted in creating facilities they never used.

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Afghan soldiers who left Cape Cod for Canada tell their story - The Boston Globe

Afghan soldiers who left Cape Cod for Canada tell their story - The Boston Globe | Upsetment | Scoop.it
They watched a YouTube video to find the best way to cross the border into Canada. They made their getaway during a group outing to Walmart. And they spent more than $1,600 on taxis to travel from Cape Cod to a border checkpoint in Niagara Falls — just steps away, they hoped, from asylum and a new life.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

I came of age with the slogan, "What if they gave a war and nobody came?" I know nothing of these three men, but I do know a great deal of the foolishness of trying to force people to fight a war in which they do not believe. I have never been to Afghanistan, but I have the clear sense that many of the people there don't want to be caught in the middle. So, should these people be given asylum or not? Are they deserters or just plain shlemiels caught up in events that make no sense?

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The United States Has Outspent the Marshall Plan to Rebuild Afghanistan

The United States Has Outspent the Marshall Plan to Rebuild Afghanistan | Upsetment | Scoop.it

But the Marshall Plan has now been knocked off its pedestal as America's most expensive nation-building project. Afghanistan now reigns supreme, having gobbled up $104 billion in American aid. And, unlike in Europe, that money hasn't bought the kind of world-class infrastructure that became the cornerstones of numerous flourishing economies. Instead, the funds have mainly bought empty buildings, malfunctioning power plants, and a corrupt government that will be wholly dependent on Western -- read: American -- aid well into the future.

Kenneth Weene's insight:

And still the waste goes on. What could this money be doing for our own American Infrastructure, our own American farmers, our own American businesses? The grandiosity and stupidity of the American imperial agenda has to be stopped. Foreign aid should be rational and effective. If we really want to stop government waste, this kind of "nation building" is the first place to stop it.

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Taliban Mount Major Assault in Afghanistan

Taliban Mount Major Assault in Afghanistan | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The group has attacked police outposts and government facilities in several districts of northern Helmand Province, sending the police and military officials scrambling to shore up defenses.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

I have said it before and I will keep saying it, the war in Afghanistan is a fool's errand. The Pashtun nationalism which underlies the Taliban (along with their commitment to Islam as they understand it) make this a movement that will not go away and cannot be defeated by guns. It can only be dealt with by both recognizing the nationalist aspiration (including those in Pakistan) and by trying to introduce a more moderate interpretation of their faith. 

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40 Maps That Explain The Middle East

40 Maps That Explain The Middle East | Upsetment | Scoop.it
These maps are crucial for understanding the region's history, its present, and some of the most important stories there today.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

I chose to highlight the map above because it reflects one of my hobbyhorses, the correlation between the Pashtun as a people and support of the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan. However, all these maps are important and worth your time.

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