VSF: MATTHEW HOH is the courageous Marine who is speaking out against the crimes of the military and the American Empire.
2 minutes to Midnight
Matthew Hoh / February 16, 2019
… the W-76 warheads, which are carried on our subs, were refitted a few years ago with a new superfuze, making them as accurate as the land based W88 warheads – meaning they can be used against Russia and Chinese missile silos and command and control centers.
US submarines can now launch accurate first strike attacks with the lower payload warhead. Attacks from submarines would only take 10 or 15 minutes in total, Russia and China would have nearly no time to react. So the US has the ability now to destroy Russia or China’s land based nuclear missile fleet with the US submarine force, which would leave the US land and air based nuclear force intact. With their land based nuclear forces destroyed Russia or China would be forced to rely on launching a retaliatory attack from their submarines with warheads that are less accurate and have a high yield, meaning US cities and populations centers would be destroyed and effected.
These attacks would not be able to destroy the US land based missile force, at least with any certainty, and the Russians and Chinese would fear additional retaliation from the US land based ICBMs ensuring destruction of their societies. The Russians and Chinese now have to seriously consider their position and, potentially, give up their no first use doctrine. The US does not and never had a no first use policy.
February 15, 2019
Time for Peace in Afghanistan and an End to the Lies
by Matthew Hoh
It has been more than nine years since I resigned in protest over the escalation of the Afghan War from my position as a Political Officer with the US State Department in Afghanistan. It had been my third time to war, along with several years of working in positions effecting war policy in Washington, DC with the Department of Defense (DOD) and the State Department. My resignation in 2009 was not taken lightly by my superiors …
Sacrifice does not confer sanctity
When President Obama entered office in 2009 less than 30,000 US troops were in Afghanistan. Within a year and a half that number would reach100,000 US military personnel along with 30,000 NATO soldiers from Europe and over 100,000 private contractors. Since 2001, more than 2400 US service members have been killed in Afghanistan, nearly 1800 of them since 2009. European armies have had more than 1100 soldiers killed and more than1700 contractors have been killed while performing jobs that in previous wars would have been done by US soldiers.
Tens of thousands have been physically wounded while hundreds of thousands suffer from traumatic brain injuries, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), moral injury, depression, substance abuse and other “hidden” wounds of war.
These hidden wounds have very real consequences: the US Department of Veterans Affairs reports young men and women who have served in Afghanistan and Iraq (a great many of them have served multiple deployments to both wars) have suicide rates six times higher than their civilian peers, while infantry units, those that have performed the most killing and dying, have been seen to have suicide rates fourteen times higher than young civilian men their own age.
In real numbers that means, since 2001, likely more than 9,000 US veterans who have served in Afghanistan and Iraq have been lost to suicide after returning home.
The numbers of Afghans who have been killed are truly unknown. The United Nations reporting on civilian casualties, which only began in 2009, reports tens of thousands killed, with nearly each year since 2009 showing an increase in civilian dead and wounded; a monstrous and grievous accomplishment of annual record upon record. UNAMA itself cautions its numbers should be understood to be a minimum or base level due to UNAMA’s methodology.
Assessments of the total dead in Afghanistan over the last seventeen years put total dead at more than 100,000 civilians, although most who are familiar with war, including myself, are quick to say that is a conservative or low-end estimate. For example, Jonathan Steele has estimated more than 20,000 Afghans died as a result of the US bombings in the first four months of US military action following 9/11.
… it is those who have not experienced the pain and the destruction of the war who demand more blood and more sacrifice, turn on Fox News or open the Washington Post and this will be apparent. What makes such an argument even more mean and craven is these deaths, ones that need not be lost in vain as it is typically phrased,are forever tied and bound by the lies of the war, making these deaths eternally ignoble and worthless, the dead never to be heroes, despite the exaggerations of eulogies, bordering often on hagiography, but only to be future-less victims of the greed and egos that advance and maintain the war.
Even a losing war makes money
The total financial costs to the US in direct spending on the war in Afghanistan are approaching one trillion dollars. Peak spending of the war reached more than $100 billion a year and currently runs between $40 and $50 billion a year. Total costs of all the wars the US has been sending its young men and women to kill and be killed in since 2001 are said to be $6 trillion, and this is just for the wars, that $6 trillion figure does not include the regular or usual costs of running the military, which is now over $600 billion a year, or the hundreds of billions of dollars spent on veterans, the intelligence agencies, nuclear weapons, the State Department or Homeland Security.
This staggering amount may perhaps best be understood by knowing that in interest and debt payments alone the US has spent more than $700 billion on the wars in 17 years (regarding overall national security spending this year the US will spend hundreds of billions of dollars, as it does each year, on debt payments due to past spending on wars, the military, intelligence, veterans, etc).
… The Pentagon is not confined to that five sided building alongside Interstate 395, but rather stretches for miles along the Potomac River … in office building after office building, are tens and tens of thousands of men and women working for war. Likewise in the suburbs, particularly west along Interstate 66 or north along the Baltimore-Washington Highway, hundreds of buildings exist to serve the war machine.
It’s not just the defense industry or the contracting firms, but also the banks, hotels, restaurants, apartment complexes, high rise condominiums and near-million dollar McMansions that have risen to serve and support the Pentagon and its wars.
Within these buildings are hundreds of thousands of men and women, the majority not wearing a uniform but working for a contracting firm or defense corporation, who often make salaries in the high five or six figures.
… women [in Afghanistan] have committed mass numbers of suicides, including through self-immolation, in areas controlled by the Afghan government due to laws put in place by the government, including laws allowing men to legally rape their wives, and by a society were nearly 90% of Afghan women experience domestic violence.
Those we have put and kept in power in Afghanistan constitute a brutal kleptocracy
… people who have benefited from the wars since 2001 have been the corrupt leaders we have put and kept in power in places like Afghanistan.
Every Afghan election has been thoroughly fraudulent and riddled with vote rigging and ballot theft on a mass scale. The last presidential election in 2014 was so crooked that an extra-constitutional position of co-president was created to prevent a civil war erupting amongst the Afghan constituencies that support the government, while in the most recent parliamentary elections, more than three months ago now, the “irregularities” were so blatant results still have not been released.
Meanwhile the Afghan government and military have been the key figures in the Afghan drug trade, not just the Taliban. Indeed much of the fighting over the last many years in places like Helmand Province can be attributed to a battle for control over the vast tracts of poppy fields.
The drug trade is not confined to low or local levels of the military and the police, but has extended and continues to extend to the most senior men in government, and this has been evident throughout the duration of our occupation of Afghanistan.
When I was in Afghanistan the biggest drug baron in southern Afghanistan was President Karzai’s brother Ahmed Wali Karzai (AWK), the biggest in eastern Afghanistan was the governor of Nangahar Province, Gul Agha Sherzai, in the north various warlords the US worked with ran the drug trade including the Governor of Balkh Province Atta Mohammad Noor, and in Kabul, Mohammed Qasim “Marshall” Fahim, for whom the Afghan military officers training academy is now named and who was the Afghan Vice President, was famous for using Afghan military aircraft to transport drugs out of Afghanistan.
Sherzai, now the Minister of Border and Tribal Affairs, and Noor still control their drug fiefdoms, while AWK and Fahim are dead but have been replaced by drug syndicates within the Afghan government. The detailing of the criminality and gangsterism of the Afghan Government is endless …
Full article here: