Tag Archives: war

Afghanistan: The Forgotten War

By Mary Hladky, Military Families Speak Out

October 5, 2017 — Watching the PBS series on Vietnam is a graphic reminder of the horrors of war.  Unfortunately, one of the few things the U.S. government learned from Vietnam was how to hide the horrors of the Afghanistan war from public view as much as possible, to prevent the backlash experienced during the Vietnam war.  No body counts, no reporters roaming free, only embedded journalists, minimal media coverage with little footage of the actual war, and no pictures of coffins returning home.

The Trump Administration has decided to continue to support the war in Afghanistan, only with more troops and no stated end game.  As this war completes its 16th year, on October 7, more troops are on their way to Afghanistan.  The suffering of our troops, their families and the Afghan people will continue.

Afghanistan is the forgotten war, even though it is currently the United States’ largest military foreign engagement, with 16,000+ troops and tens of thousands of defense and agency contractors.
The only people who benefit from this war are the military contractors and the corrupt Afghan government, made up of many drug and war lords guilty of human rights abuses and war crimes.  The Afghan government and Taliban controls, protects, and benefits from the enormous poppy crop that supplies over 90% of the world’s heroin.  SIGAR (Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction) reports that reconstruction in Afghanistan is nearly nonexistent after spending $100 billion.

The Afghan government, which the U.S. has propped up with billions of dollars and thousands of American livesremains overwhelmingly corrupt, a government the Afghan people will never accept.
In the meantime, the Taliban has grown in numbers and holds more territory than ever before, 40-50% of the country.

The human costs of war for our troops, the Afghan forces and civilians has been enormous.  Death, injuries and nearly a trillion dollars have been wasted for no redeemable benefit.  Yet instead of pursuing peace, our government continues to opt for more war.
Americans need to take a stand against the Afghanistan war.  We need to reflect on what it is that we believe – ask yourself two basic questions:

How, as Americans, do we continually accept sending young men and women to risk their lives for a futile, never ending war?
What would you say to a mother who loses her son or daughter in Afghanistan?  Can you explain what her child actually died for?  What was the noble cause?

It’s up to everyone one of us who are uncomfortable with the answers to these questions, to demand an end to the Afghanistan War.      

In the News: CIA Torture Psychologists Compare Themselves to Nazi Poison Gas Manufacturer as Defense

Psychologists James Mitchell and John “Bruce” Jessen were the architects of the CIA’s torture program. Now, in a groundbreaking lawsuit, three survivors and victims of the torture program are seeking to hold Mitchell and Jessen accountable.

This Friday in federal court in Spokane, Washington, Mitchell and Jessen’s lawyers will argue that they can’t be held responsible for their actions. In an extraordinary legal filing, Mitchell and Jessen claim they aren’t legally responsible to the people hurt by their methods because they “simply did business with the CIA pursuant to their contracts.”

A key part of Mitchell and Jessen’s argument hinges on the claim that poison gas manufacturers weren’t held responsible by a British military tribunal for providing the Nazis with the gas because the Nazi government, not contractors, had final say on whether to use it. They argue that they are like a corporate gassing technician who was charged with and acquitted of assisting the Nazis because “even if [Mitchell and Jessen] played an integral part of the supply and use of” torture methods, they had no “influence” over the CIA’s decision to use them and can’t be accountable.

Weird Math: 1 Percent versus 1 Percent

MFSO Member Paula Rogovin reflects on Occupy Wall St.

On Saturday, October 8, 2011, members of Military Families Speak Out stood alongside members of Veterans For Peace and thousands of other people at Occupy Wall Street. We were so happy to see so many people from so many walks of life. Here was a place where the messages like the ones we carried: Support our troops, bring them home NOW! were part of the outcry from the many thousands at OWS. Our presence as veterans and military families was very well received. Yes, we are part of that 99%.

Being part of that 99% has been a life-long experience for me. I’ve been a New York City public school teacher for 38 years. We, members of the United Federation of Teachers, have marched and demanded over the years that the City stop the cuts and offer fair wages – only to see mayor after mayor do everything possible to keep our wages down while the Chancellor makes over $250,000 and non-union employees get huge raises. Testing companies, the book publishers, and the tech industry profits are going up.

Two weeks ago, we saw the layoff of over 700 workers – workers who are desperately needed at our schools.

Strangely, however, members of Military Families Speak Out (MFSO) are part of the 99%, but we are also part of the 1%. How could that be? MFSO is a national organization with over 4000 members whose loved ones are active duty in the military.

“Less than 1 percent of the U.S. population has been on active military duty at any given time during the past decade.” (Washington Post. 10/5/11)

Military families have seen our loved ones serve multiple deployments, often with little dwell time between the deployments. We have seen over 6282 of our loved ones killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Thousands of us have seen our loved ones wounded. We have seen our loves ones suffer amputations, traumatic brain injury, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and poisoning from Depleted Uranium and other toxins from US weapons. We have seen families torn apart by the traumas of these wars.

Our 1% is suffering directly from the wars imposed by the other 1% – the military industrial complex, the oil companies, big business – in collusion with many members of Congress who take multi-millions from industry lobbyists in exchange for keeping these wars going and going.

Our 1% wants to tell that other 1%, including many members of Congress:  End the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Bring the troops and contractors home NOW. Take care of the troops when they get here. Bring the war dollars home for our communities – for jobs, education, health care, housing, and other services we need so badly. Meet the demands of the 99%.

— Paula Rogovin, of Teaneck, is with Military Families Speak Out, Bergen County chapter