clash of civilisations?

This could be the absolute 'pits:'

US denies letting troops convert Afghans
Posted May 4, 2009 21:14:00

"The US military denies it has allowed soldiers to try converting Afghans to Christianity, after a television network showed pictures of soldiers with Bibles translated into local languages."

A quote:

«A military chaplain was shown delivering a sermon to other soldiers, saying: "The special forces guys - they hunt men basically. We do the same things as Christians, we hunt people for Jesus. We do, we hunt them down".»
Of course, a 'US military spokeswoman' goes on to deny any wrongdoing. The US, along with 'allies,' (however coerced or cowardly/quisling), is the foreign invader, killing lots of innocent Afghans, saying one thing - pursuing so-called 'terrorists,' essentially the same people Reagan encouraged as 'freedom-fighters' - whilst doing quite another, namely trying to enable a pipeline project (recall the offer on behalf of the US to the Taliban: a carpet of gold - or bombs), plus establishing ever-more military bases, the one to monopolise and/or control energy resources, the other to further project their murdering miliary might.

And as a 'desert,' their vicious 'grunts' are setting out to convert the locals, obviously regarded as primitive savages, to the Empire-religion, Christianity.


PS I'm reminded of something I read once, it described a remark made on a Spanish ship entering some South-American harbour, a looong time ago. Visible on the skyline were crosses - with dead natives attached, presumably nailed-on. The remark was something like "Good to be getting back to civilised parts." Then, recall that waterboarding was part of the Inquisition, too. Welcome indeed, to currently civilised parts.


  1. Onward Christian soldiers ... from DemocracyNow!:Jeff Sharlet, first you. Talk about your reaction to these videotapes and the response by the military that it’s taken out of context.

    JEFF SHARLET: I think that’s anything but the truth. You know, what we see on that videotape is really just the tip of the iceberg. When Mikey Weinstein, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, came to me and said, “You know, you should be writing about this subject,” I was a little skeptical that it could be as widespread as they said. But in more than a hundred interviews at every rank, I encountered that same kind of thinking. And the same kind of thing that you see there on display with Lieutenant-Colonel Hensley is replicated over and over and over, from private to general. But most frighteningly, it’s concentrated in the Officer Corps.

  2. Looks like the next step after 'carpet of gold - or bombs' is: "Believe this - or else!"
    From Bob's citation:
      «In the story, I talk about Lieutenant-Colonel Bob Young, who is also in Afghanistan at Kandahar Air Base, and he was quite plain in boasting about a PowerPoint presentation he had given to Afghan warlords explaining that American government was based on Christianity, that our Christian god was what made it great, and Afghanistan had a choice if it wanted to achieve democracy. And of course that choice was going to be for Jesus. 
    These people don’t even know that they’re crossing the line between church and state.»
      .. where "or else" could be a DU-tipped Hellfire missile.

  3. A convenient place to look at what the US is doing in AfPak - two articles from Chris Floyd:

    Another kind of conversion:The headline from McClatchy says it all: "Pakistani Army Flattening Villages as it Battles Taliban."

    This is exactly what the hot-blooded humanitarian interventionists in the Obama Administration have been demanding: that Pakistan "take the fight" to the Taliban forces that, according to such world-historical savants as Hillary Clinton and the President himself, are posing an existential threat not only to Pakistan but even to the sacred Homeland itself.


    So now the Pakistani army -- which has been trained to deal with full-scale conventional war with India -- is "taking action" against the militants in and around Buner, moving in with heavy, deadly, blunderbuss force, with entirely predictable results: mass slaughter of civilians, vast ruin, thousands driven from their homes into desperate terms -- and a further discrediting of the government in the eyes of the local populace, which only strengthens the hand of the sectarian militants. It is also -- not at all incidentally -- turning the Pakistanis' peace deals with local Taliban into a dead letter: the very thing that the Obama Administration has been calling for. Isn't that a remarkable coincidence!
    "Rolling out the product."We are now in the midst of a full-blown campaign to "roll out the product" for a new war: this time, in Pakistan. Anyone who lived through the run-up to the invasion of Iraq should be able to read the signs -- anyone, that is, who is not blinded by partisan labels, or by the laid-back cool of a media-savvy leader far more presentable than his predecessor.

    We noted some of these signs in a long post yesterday and won't belabor them here. But today brings yet another bumper crop of panic buttons and alarm bells from the powers-that-be, with ever-increasing emphasis on the "Taliban kooks with Muslim nukes" theme: one more variation on the old "mushroom clouds rising in American cities" ploy that has worked like a charm for our militarists lo these 60 years or more.

    Some of the war-pushing powers-that-be are public figures in the Obama Administration (including Obama himself, who has dutifully taken on the Bushian mantle of Fearmonger-in-Chief), and some of them are shadowy, unnamed eminences in the military-security apparat, clearly aiming to act for Obama as those daggers of the mind did for Macbeth: "Thou marshall'st me the way that I was going."
    How much blood is to be spilled?

  4. 1. An army marches not only on its stomach, but (a bit 'higher!!?'), on its ideology. This explains the high number of innocent civilian 'collaterals' killed by the US & allies (incl. Aus!) - they *must* be heathens, aka 'unbelievers,' eh?
    2. The US is as good as completely militarised; the only thing 'missing' is an enemy - so they make their own. Last night & this morning, we were 'treated' to glimpses of Pak-nukes, with the 'threat' that they may fall into terrorist hands. Each broadcast was from a publicly funded broadcaster. It's coordinated, it's designed - once again - to scare the sheople shitless, to justify - now with Obama at the head - the now continuous US looong war, aka 'crusade' against (militant!??) Islam.
    3. We the sheople are merely passengers; we can't stop them since the war-makers are 'bipartisan,' was GWBush, now Obama, (UK party-change coming up - but no strategy change expected), was Howard, now Rudd.
    All change - but no change; where are the adults? (Gotta stop.)

  5. From Tom Engelhardt.A front-page New York Times headline last week put the matter politely indeed: "In Pakistan, U.S. Courts Leader of Opposition." And nobody thought it was strange at all.

    In fact, it's the sort of thing you can read just about any time when it comes to American policy in Pakistan or, for that matter, Afghanistan. It's just the norm on a planet on which it's assumed that American civilian and military leaders can issue pronunciamentos about what other countries must do; publicly demand various actions of ruling groups; opt for specific leaders, and then, when they disappoint, attempt to replace them; and use what was once called "foreign aid," now taxpayer dollars largely funneled through the Pentagon, to bribe those who are hard to convince.

    Last week as well, in a prime-time news conference, President Obama said of Pakistan: "We want to respect their sovereignty, but we also recognize that we have huge strategic interests, huge national security interests in making sure that Pakistan is stable and that you don't end up having a nuclear-armed militant state."

    To the extent that this statement was commented on, it was praised here for its restraint and good sense. Yet, thought about a moment, what the president actually said went something like this: When it comes to U.S. respect for Pakistan's sovereignty, this country has more important fish to fry. A look at the historical record indicates that Washington has, in fact, been frying those "fish" for at least the last four decades without particular regard for Pakistani sensibilities.

    Obama probably had his fingers crossed. And more on Af-Pak from Pepe Escobar.And, surprise! surprise!, the trail leads to Pipelinestan 

  6. On my previous post I linked Part 1 of Pepe Escobar's "Rebranding the Long War". It ended:

    History once again does repeat itself as farce: in fact the only sticking point between the Taliban and Washington is still the same as in August 2001 - pipeline transit fees. Washington wouldn't give a damn about sharia law as long as the US could control pipelines crossing Afghanistan and Balochistan.

    Yes, Pipelineistan rules. What's a few ragged Pashtun or Balochis in Washington's way when the New Great Game in Eurasia can offer so many opportunities?

    Here is Part 2 - "Balochistan is the ultimate prize".Why Balochistan?:

    It's a classic case of calm before the storm. The AfPak chapter of Obama's brand new OCO ("Overseas Contingency Operations"), formerly GWOT ("global war on terror") does not imply only a surge in the Pashtun Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). A surge in Balochistan as well may be virtually inevitable.

    Balochistan is totally under the radar of Western corporate media. But not the Pentagon's. An immense desert comprising almost 48% of Pakistan's area, rich in uranium and copper, potentially very rich in oil, and producing more than one-third of Pakistan's natural gas, it accounts for less than 4% of Pakistan's 173 million citizens. Balochs are the majority, followed by Pashtuns. Quetta, the provincial capital, is considered Taliban Central by the Pentagon, which for all its high-tech wizardry mysteriously has not been able to locate Quetta resident "The Shadow", historic Taliban emir Mullah Omar himself.

    Strategically, Balochistan is mouth-watering: east of Iran, south of Afghanistan, and boasting three Arabian sea ports, including Gwadar, practically at the mouth of the Strait of Hormuz.

    Gwadar - a port built by China - is the absolute key. It is the essential node in the crucial, ongoing, and still virtual Pipelineistan war between IPI and TAPI. IPI is the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline, also known as the "peace pipeline", which is planned to cross from Iranian to Pakistani Balochistan - an anathema to Washington. TAPI is the perennially troubled, US-backed Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline, which is planned to cross western Afghanistan via Herat and branch out to Kandahar and Gwadar.

    Their eyes are on that prize.

  7. During the Bush years, and perhaps also now, the US has been backing (to little effect) at least three proxies to bring down the Mullahs in Iran: the Mujahideen-e-Khalq which is Iraq-based, the Kurdish Pejak, and the Baluchi "Jundullah" group (aka Soldiers of God).

    The Jundullah is made up of members of the Baluchi tribe and operates out of the Baluchistan province in Pakistan, just across the border from Iran.

    The US were funding Jundullah, funnelling cash to its youthful leader, Abd el Malik Regi, through Iranian exiles (NCRI members).

  8. Pepe pointed out a paper by Dr Robert J. Wirsing titled Baloch Nationalism and the Geopolitics of Energy Resources: The Changing Context of Separatism in Pakistan.. It's a good monograph, well worth the time taken to read. There are some points that warrant highlighting, for example:

    "For Baloch nationalists, the over half-century history of Pakistan’s domestic natural gas industry is one of unremitting indifference to the province’s indigenous tribal population. When it came to jobs, for instance, the gas industry’s well-paid managers and technicians were almost invariably drawn from outside Balochistan; local Baloch, inevitably viewed with some suspicion, were mainly employed in lowend jobs as day laborers."In short, the Pakistani élite stiffed the local Baloch.


    "Balochistan receives proportionately only about one-fifth as much in royalty payments as the other two gas-producing provinces, a fiscal circumstance that has the ironic effect of turning Balochistan, the country’s poorest province but leading supplier of gas, into an important subsidizer of the richer provinces."In short, the Pakistani élite rubbed salt into the wounds.

  9. And so the Balochs get shafted and caught in a squeeze play. More victims of the Great Game.

    And when the players are inept ...

    Less than a week after US air strikes killed over a hundred Afghan civilians, President Obama’s top security adviser, General James Jones, said Sunday that the US will continue its strikes in Afghanistan, despite sharp criticism about rising civilian casualties from Afghan President Hamid Karzai. We speak to Boston University professor and retired military colonel Andrew Bacevich about why Obama’s plans in Afghanistan and Pakistan are counterproductive. 

    Karzai: "Stop." US: "No." Such respect for sovereignty ...

    Chris Hedges - "Becoming What We seek To Destroy."The bodies of dozens, perhaps well over a hundred, women, children and men, their corpses blown into bits of human flesh by iron fragmentation bombs dropped by U.S. warplanes in a village in the western province of Farah, illustrates the futility of the Afghan war. We are not delivering democracy or liberation or development. We are delivering massive, sophisticated forms of industrial slaughter. And because we have employed the blunt and horrible instrument of war in a land we know little about and are incapable of reading, we embody the barbarism we claim to be seeking to defeat. 

    Chris Floyd - "The Children's Crusade."Day after day, week after week, Barack Obama's "Overseas Contingency Operations" keep churning through the bodies of children: sometimes with chemical weapons that sear their flesh and leave them maimed and disfigured for life; sometimes with carefully aimed bullets ripping through their organs and leaving them dead right on the spot.

    And in every such case, our brave and noble Terror Warriors -- who, lest we forget, are upholding the highest values of world civilization, bringing hope and change to benighted lands and defending our sacred way of life -- run screaming like spinsters in a hissy fit from the slightest hint of responsibility for their actions. Their first response, always, is to blame someone else: either the designated enemy of the day -- or else the burned and shredded children themselves.

    A pertinent quote included in a comment to this article:

    "Some people seem to think that we can build some kind of a house without supporting walls; that we can build a civilization which includes casual savagery, that we can have a nation of laws run by men and women that are criminals, that we can manifest truth if we just accept a certain amount of lies." 

  10. With just one click the opportunity to sit back and savour what is without question the most uplifting, inspiring, and sheer exhilarating moment of the otherwise almost unrelentingly bleak first half of the last century. Even if even more blood was yet be spilt defending the people, even in their own national homeland, against those still intent on genocide. This is one of the great moments of the century.

    No matter what happens this never fails to restore faith and confidence in the human spirit. Brutal racism and genocidal maniacs like Ahmadinejad have been defeated before. This proves they can be put down again.


  11. Tsk, tsk anon; getting just a wee bit hysterical, are we?

    And defending the people, even in their own national homeland would mean preventing the immoral Israeli invaders killing any more hapless Palestinians, the *actual, legal* owners of the land Israel now illegally occupies, I suppose?

    Not so BTW, liars are not welcome here, nor anon criminal-regime-supporting commenters, aka trolls. Any more from you should have a checkable, real name - or will not see the light of day in this blog.

    PS In clear text, let there be no possible ambiguity: it is the rabid and vilely criminal Israelis who have performed and continue to perform a 61+ year long genocide on the hapless Palestinians. 

  12. Speaking of hysterical ...

    Miriam Margolyes has been *uninvited* from performing for free to entertain some senior citizens in a Jewish Care home.

    She's been dumped by Jewish Care because Jeremy Jones (of the Australia-Israel and Jewish Affairs Council) whinged.

    Jones and his lobbyists targeted Miriam Margolyes because she will soon perform a role in Seven Jewish Children.

    Ironically, if he'd not attacked Miriam Morgolyes then many people would probably not have heard of this 8-minute play written in response to the situation in Gaza.

  13. But enough of diversions to issues better discussed on another thread (or two) and back to the crusades ...

    Truthdig: Civilians Pay the Price of War From Above:

    And in the meantime, we shall be told that all the dead Afghan civilians were being used as “human shields” by the Taliban and we shall say that we “deeply regret” innocent lives that were lost. But we shall say that it’s all the fault of the terrorists, not our heroic pilots and the US Marine special forces who were target spotting around Bala Baluk and Ganjabad.

  14. Yes, blame the victims. Worth making the point again about "accidents" and collateral damage". Given the nature of the weapons and their method of delivery, ie., by air, civilians are going to be killed. Therefore, their deaths can hardly be called accidental. If the choice is made to wage that kind of war, then the killing of civilians is deliberate - or, in other words, murder.

    Now for some, in the modern jargon, sitreps. Can be summarized in the US Army term - SNAFU.

    Tony Karon. Good discussion in the comments. And some links to other pieces useful on other threads.

    It begins:

    There was something almost painful about watching President Barack Obama last week reprising a track from his predecessor’s Greatest Hits when he hosted the leaders of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Just like Bush, Obama invited us to suspend well-grounded disbelief and imagine that Hamid Karzai and Asif Ali Zardari have the intent, much less the capability, to wage a successful war against the Taliban. Then again, there had been something painful even earlier about watching Obama proclaim Afghanistan as “the right war” and expanding the U.S. footprint there, reprising the Soviet experience of maintaining an islet of modernity in the capital while the countryside burns.

    It requires a spectacular leap of faith in a kind of superheroic American exceptionalism to imagine that the invasion of Afghanistan that occurred in November 2001 will end any differently from any previous invasion of that country. And it takes an elaborate exercise in self-delusion to avoid recognizing that the Taliban crisis in Pakistan is an effect of the war in Afghanistan, rather than a cause — and that Pakistan’s turmoil is unlikely to end before the U.S. winds down its campaign next door.

    Syed Saleem Shahzad.Fatima Bhutto.As ID would ask: Where are the adults?

  15. ... and that Pakistan’s turmoil is unlikely to end before the U.S. winds down its campaign next door. 

    From this Tom Engelhardt:

    And yet, as former CIA station chief in Kabul, Graham Fuller, wrote recently, in the region "crises have only grown worse under the U.S. military footprint." 

    Some new appointments to better apply the hammer to the fragile edifice.