Sunday, August 29, 2021

It's not just the UFOs






Sarah Chayes is the person who should be on the talk shows passed off as news programs is you're going to talk Afghanistan.  Amy Goodman made a few seconds for Sarah yesterday.  Yes, that is a criticism.  Not really sure why she gets short changed to bring on Jeremy Corbyn or, for that matter, any politician.  She was on the ground in Afghanistan for years.  She is a trained journalist so she knows how to speak in such a way that the audience understands her -- meaning she's not tossing out references that will go over the heads of listeners or viewers -- if she's referencing something, she's explaining it.  But while Sarah knows about journalism, Amy still struggles with comprehending the term.  Here's an excerpt of the brief segment:

SARAH CHAYES: And I was on the ground, you know, starting about — I was in Kandahar maybe a day or two after the city fell, meaning the Taliban regime at the time fell. And well into 2002, there was basically no one home at the U.S. Embassy. There just was nobody there. People would rotate in on two-week deployments. No one spoke a local language. We couldn’t figure out what was going on. And it wasn’t until later that I realized that, by early 2002, personnel were all pivoting already to Iraq. So, I think that’s the first thing you have to understand.

And secondly, that, therefore, the U.S. personnel that it was — that Afghanistan matters were largely left to were members of the CIA. And they had a history in the region which really involved a very close partnership with the Pakistani military intelligence agency, the ISI. And what I came to understand is that the Taliban did not emerge spontaneously in Kandahar, as we often hear. And this is work that I did over the course of years, interviewing both ordinary people who lived in Kandahar and lived across the border in Quetta, Pakistan, as well as some of the main actors in that drama, who became friends of mine. The Taliban were concocted across the border by the Pakistani military intelligence agency and sent across the border. There was a negotiation process — and we’re talking 1994 now, 1993 and 1994 — with the local mujahideen commanders. And that process was, in fact, led by none other than Hamid Karzai. So, when I learned that in the early 2000s, I was pretty gobsmacked, because I realized that sort of the individual that the United States government had chosen to lead a post-Taliban Afghanistan was the very person who had brought the Taliban into Afghanistan in the first place and who had served as their ambassador-designate to the United Nations, as late as 1996.

And so, I would — you know, I would just raise some questions with what Obaidullah was telling you, because his family retained very close links with the Pakistani military intelligence agency throughout. And I found myself almost smiling when he said, “How do I reconcile the two me’s? And maybe that’s a way that Afghanistan can reconcile its own internal divisions.” And I want to say, “Boy, I’m sorry, but that’s called being a double agent.” And I really think that that family, in particular now — I can’t speak to him, because I don’t know him personally, but the family right now is playing precisely the role that he was playing on your air, which is to present a kind of moderate and acceptable facade in order to get the international community to reengage and open the money spigots once again.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: If you could just clarify, what do you think the alternative is? What do you think the international community should be doing?

SARAH CHAYES: Reserving judgment. And I certainly do agree that the money spigot is the only leverage that the international community has left. But I also think that the role of the Pakistani military government in all of this really needs to be taken into account. And it’s one of — I mean, I have, and have had, a number of very consistent criticisms of the way the United States has handled this from the start, the first being this absolutely inexplicable, I want to say, persistent relationship with Pakistan, when the Pakistani government, as I say, organized the Taliban in the first place, organized the Taliban resurgence, harbored Osama bin Laden, and, you know, in the midst of all this, provided nuclear technology to Iran and North Korea. I mean, it’s just difficult to quite understand why that country continues to be considered an ally.

And then, secondly, of course, was the behavior of those Afghan leaders that we, the United States, kind of put forward toward their own citizens, and the role of U.S. officials and U.S. development organizations in reinforcing and protecting and enabling, I mean, just an unbelievably corrupt and abusive governmental system, so that, you know, my Afghan friends, who were not in university — they were ordinary villagers in and around Kandahar — they just didn’t know what to make of it. It was like, “Look, the Taliban shake us down at night, but the government shakes us down in the daytime.” And so, I would say that, in my experience, even among very conservative Kandaharis, it was not so much an ideological issue. It was not so much that the United States was an invading country, at least certainly not in the first years. My neighbors were saying, you know, that they were sick of being abused by their own government, and they were sick of the international or Western role in propping up that government, and they wanted a government that was acting in their interests. And that was where their frustration with the Western engagement came from.

When she refers to Goody's other guest Obaidullah Baheer, Sarah's being rather kind.  Not only is he questionable because of his family, he's also questionable because of his links to the CIA which will, no doubt, make Amy come under even more scrutiny for how she allowed foundations to purchase DEMOCRACY NOW! with grants and how the show that has made her millions has become an outlet for US government propaganda.  

Obaidullah Baheer is not an honest broker and, were Democracy Sometimes an honest broker, they never would have had him on.  He works through the panic talking points that demonstrate that the US intel community is still at war with the presidency.  And Goody Whore is right there serving along side them while posing as a journalist.

Sarah has much to say.  I doubt I would agree with 100% of it but (a) I would be interested in hearing it and (b) I would surely reflect on anything I disagreed with her on.  It's a shame that she's brought on for what was little more than a soundbyte.  But she can't be counted on to stick to the script so she clearly will not be given the airtime that her expertise warrants.  

Where I think we would disagree would be on the issue of Joe Biden's actions this month.  And I will give her the compassion award (I'm not being sarcastic) without even hearing her remarks.  I'm not a compassionate person in the face of an emergency.  I'm practical -- and you can say "cold" (people turn to me in an emergency) -- and I don't see this ending differently no matter what plans were made or taken.  The airport was bomed yesterday, there was gunfire, there was this, there was that.


Andrea Mitchell's practically having an orgasm on air as she tries to spread fear.

But the reality is that this is what happens.  This is what would happen.  3,000 more US Marines on the ground on Thursday? They might have mitigated some of the violence, they might not have.  They might have increased the violence as a result of their presence, they might have become targets as a result of their presence.  

I want Andrea out from behind a desk from now on when she's on air because I honestly don't trust where her hands are when she starts her frenzy fear nonsense.

If you look at the situation coldly (and I can be very cold, no question), there's not much that 'fine tuning' could have done to change what's taking place and it's probably best if Americans can admit to that.  Best for this moment and best for our future.  

Another huge talking point for Andrea is the Americans trapped! Trapped! Trapped in Afghanistan!

So let's note this from the US State Dept briefing Secretary of State Antony Blinken gave on Wednesday:

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Good afternoon.  I’d like to give you all an update on the situation in Afghanistan and our ongoing efforts there, particularly as they relate to U.S. citizens, and then I’m very happy to take your questions.

Let me begin with my profound appreciation for our diplomats and service members who are working around the clock at the airport in Kabul and at a growing number of transit sites to facilitate the evacuation of Americans, their families, citizens of allied and partner nations, Afghans who have partnered with us over the last 20 years, and other Afghans at risk.  They are undertaking this mission under extremely difficult circumstances, with incredible courage, skill, and humanity.

Since August 14th, more than 82,300 people have been safely flown out of Kabul.  In the 24-hour period from Tuesday to Wednesday, approximately 19,000 people were evacuated on 90 U.S. military and coalition flights.  Only the United States could organize and execute a mission of this scale and this complexity.

As the President has made clear, our first priority is the evacuation of American citizens.  Since August 14th, we have evacuated at least 4,500 U.S. citizens and likely more.  More than 500 of those Americans were evacuated in just the last day alone.

Now, many of you have asked how many U.S. citizens remain in Afghanistan who want to leave the country.  Based on our analysis, starting on August 14 when our evacuation operations began, there was then a population of as many as 6,000 American citizens in Afghanistan who wanted to leave.  Over the last 10 days, roughly 4,500 of these Americans have been safely evacuated along with immediate family members.  Over the past 24 hours, we’ve been in direct contact with approximately 500 additional Americans and provided specific instructions on how to get to the airport safely.  We will update you regularly on our progress in getting these 500 American citizens out of Afghanistan.

For the remaining roughly 1,000 contacts that we had who may be Americans seeking to leave Afghanistan, we are aggressively reaching out to them multiple times a day through multiple channels of communication – phone, email, text messaging – to determine whether they still want to leave and to get the most up-to-date information and instructions to them for how to do so.  Some may no longer be in the country.  Some may have claimed to be Americans but turn out not to be.  Some may choose to stay.  We’ll continue to try to identify the status and plans of these people in the coming days.

Thus, from this list of approximately 1,000, we believe the number of Americans actively seeking assistance to leave Afghanistan is lower, likely significantly lower.

So we're talking less than a thousand people.  One more point, these bobble heads on TV screeching that we don't leave anyone behind.  That's actually a slogan of the US military.  It has nothing to do with private US citizens who elect on their own to go into a war zone to make money.  



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