Friday, October 31, 2014

Fed Ends QE

Fed Ends QE

by Stephen Lendman

On October 29, A Federal Reserve press release said in part:

The Open Market Committee (FOMC) "decided to conclude its (QE) asset purchase program this month."

It's "maintaining its existing policy of reinvesting principal payments from its holdings of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities in agency mortgage-backed securities and of rolling over maturing Treasury securities at auction." 

"This policy, by keeping the Committee's holdings of longer-term securities at sizable levels, should help maintain accommodative financial conditions."

Months earlier, former Reagan administration Office of Management and Budget Director David Stockman called QE "high grade monetary heroin." One day, it'll "kill the patient," he said. 

Over the last quarter of a century, "(w)hat has been growing is the wealth of the rich, the remit of the state, the girth of Wall Street, the debt burden of the people, the prosperity of the beltway, and the sway of the three great branches of government which are domiciled there - that is, the warfare state, the (corporate) welfare state and the central bank."

"What is failing, by contrast, is the vast expanse of the Main Street economy where the great majority has experienced stagnant living standards, rising job insecurity, failure to accumulate any material savings, rapidly approaching old age and the certainty of a Hobbesian future where, inexorably, taxes will rise and social benefits will be cut."

"And what is positively falling is the lower ranks of society whose prospects for jobs, income and a decent living standard have been steadily darkening."

Current conditions reflect a dystopian new normal, he believes. Historic patterns no longer apply. America is a "foundering leviathan."

It can't save the economy or society. It's "fallen victim to its own inherent shortcomings," mismanagement, and "inefficiencies."

It's "dysfunction(al) and incoheren(t)." It operates on "continued flows of maniacal monetary stimulus."

Monied interests run things. So do powerful lobbies representing them. Private looting takes precedence over popular interests. Things go from bad to worse.

"Washington's machinery of national governance is literally melting down," said Stockman. It's victimized by Wall Street controlled Fed greed and ineptitude. Compounded by congressional malfeasance.

Budget and debt ceiling battles are theater. What's ongoing reflects the tip of the iceberg. Years of monetary heroin show how far off the rails the Fed strayed.

It's "the next best thing to bank robbery," said Stockman. "(A) stunning case of bureaucratic mission creep. (With) virtually no statutory mandate. And dubious economics is only the half of it."

Out-of-control debt isn't resolved by more of it. Doing so leaves less for goods and services. Economies suffer.

In 1988, Bernanke knew QE didn't work. Two Fed economists explained. Seth Carpenter and Selva Demiralp headlined "Money, Reserves, and the Transmission of Monetary Policy: Does the Money Multiplier Exist?"

Their conclusion:

"In the absence of a multiplier, open market operations, which simply change reserve balances, do not directly affect lending behavior at the aggregate level." 

"Put differently, if the quantity of reserves is relevant for the transmission of monetary policy, a different mechanism must be found." 

"The argument against the textbook money multiplier is not new. For example, Bernanke and Blinder (1988) and Kashyap and Stein (1995) note that the bank lending channel is not operative if banks have access to external sources of funding." 

"The appendix illustrates these relationships with a simple model. This paper provides institutional and empirical evidence that the money multiplier and the associated narrow bank lending channel are not relevant for analyzing the United States."

QE doesn't work. It could if properly used. It hasn't been. Boosting aggregate demand is needed. Doing so requires putting money in consumers' pockets.

Money printing madness doesn't stimulate growth. Or create jobs. It flows to bank balance sheets. For speculation, high salaries, big bonuses, buying competitors, and consolidating to greater size.

Helicopter Ben dropped lots of money on Wall Street. Doing so sent financial asset prices soaring. 

None went to Main Street where it belongs. Dire economic conditions remain. Things go from bad to worse. Nothing ahead looks promising.

At near zero short-term interest rates, money printing madness handed Wall Street around $3.5 trillion in free money. On top of trillions more in bailout funding.

As much as $23.7 trillion, according to former Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) administrator Neil Barofsky. Grand theft by any standard.

TARP didn't require recipients to report or internally track funds used. Accountability wasn't mandated. Nor fraud prevention standards. 

Banks took full advantage. Near-free money didn't stimulate economic growth. Main Street was sacrificed for Wall Street.

Banks hoarded cash. Acquired other financial institutions. Paid off debt. Speculated. Knowing plenty more help was there for the asking.

Economist John Williams says QE failed because bank balance sheets remain toxic. They're not lending. Reported economic growth overstates reality.

Third quarter 3.5% growth reflects "guessed-at" trade numbers. Plus resurgent defense spending for Obama's wars. 

Williams expects "significant downside revisions" ahead. Chickens have a way of coming home to roost.

Money printing madness since 2008 kicked significant financial crisis conditions down the road a few years. 

Protracted Depression already affects Main Street. No end in sight looms. Not as long force-fed austerity substitutes for stimulative economic and jobs growth.

Fed governors pretend things are OK. Truth-telling isn't a central banker's long suit. For sure not in America or Eurozone.

On October 29, the Wall Street Journal headlined "Former Fed Chief Greenspan Worried About Future of Monetary Policy."

He said QE fell short of its goals. Bond-buying was a mixed bag. It lifted asset prices hugely. Lowered borrowing costs.

Did little for the real economy. "Effective demand is dead in the water," he said. Bond buying didn't help.

"I don't think it's possible" for easy money to end trouble-free, he added. 

"We've never had any experience with anything like this, so I'm not going to sit here and tell you exactly how it's going to come out."

"I think that real pressure is going to occur not by the initiation by the Federal Reserve, but by the markets themselves."

"Recent episodes in which Fed officials hinted at a shift toward higher interest rates have unleashed significant volatility in markets, so there is no reason to suspect that the actual process of boosting rates would be any different."

Greenspan failed to explain how much he contributed to today's debacle. He chaired the Board of Governors from August 11, 1987 until January 31, 2006.

Supporters praised his steady hand. Critics called him Maestro of Misery. 

"Secrets of the Temple: How the Federal Reserve Runs the Country" author William Grieder ranked him "among the most duplicitous figures to serve in modern American government."

Using "his exalted status as economic wizard (to) regularly corrupt the political dialogue by sowing outrageously false impressions among gullible members of Congress and adoring financial reporters."

Exceeded by Ben Bernanke. His Fed tenure was deplorable.
Betraying the public trust and then some.  

His agenda was ruthlessly anti-populist. Doing more to thirdworldize America for profit than any of his predecessors. 

Handing Wall Street crooks multi-trillions of dollars. Facilitating the greatest wealth transfer in history. 

Creating a protracted Main Street Depression. Making poverty, unemployment and underemployment growth industries. Wrecking millions of lives. Unapologetically to this day.

Naked Capitalism's Yves Smith believes Fed governors know "QE was largely a failed experiment. (They) never gave Congress an adequate explanation of the logic and expected effects of QE so (they) could be held accountable" for their actions.

Former fed official Andrew Huszar witnessed Bernanke's scam firsthand. He managed its $1.25 trillion mortgaged-backed security purchase program. 

"I can only say: I'm sorry, America," he said after resigning. "(O)ut of frustration, he explained. 

"As a former Federal Reserve official, I was responsible for executing the centerpiece program of the Fed's first plunge into the bond-buying experiment known as quantitative easing." 

"The central bank continues to (disingenuously) spin QE as a tool for helping Main Street." It was "a feast for Wall Street."

America's 1% never had it better. Banks, major corporations, big investors, and high net worth individuals alone benefitted. They did so at the expense of ordinary Americans.

Unemployment, poverty, homelessness, hunger and overall human needs remain at Depression era levels. 

"The banks were only issuing fewer and fewer loans. More insidiously, whatever credit they were extending wasn't getting much cheaper." 

"QE may have been driving down the wholesale cost for banks to make loans, but Wall Street was pocketing most of the extra cash."

Other Fed managers voiced concerns. "Our warnings fell on deaf ears," said Huszar. QE was "an absolute coup for Wall Street."

It did nothing for Main Street. "The banks were only issuing fewer and fewer loans. More insidiously, whatever credit they were extending wasn't getting much cheaper." 

"QE (is) the largest financial-markets intervention by any government in world history." It did pathetically little to stimulate growth. It wasn't designed for that purpose.

It sacrificed Main Street for Wall Street. Fed chairmen and governors lied claiming otherwise. A day of reckoning looms.

Noted investor Jim Rogers believes it. "We're all going to pay a terrible price" for money printing madness, he said.

Conditions are deplorable. No wonder Paul Craig Roberts calls America's economy "a house of cards."

Corrupted. Controlled by Wall Street. Lock, stock and money supply. Casino capitalism. 

Socialism for bankers, other corporate predators and rich elites. Free market capitalism/law of the jungle for ordinary Americans.

According to Roberts, "(t)he US economy no longer is based on education, hard work, free market prices and the accountability that real free markets impose."

It reflects fraud, grand theft, market manipulation, front-running, pumping and dumping, scamming investors, buying politicians, bailouts with taxpayer money, and eventually stealing it from depositor accounts.

Wall Street transformed America into an unprecedented money making racket. Facilitated by government collusion. At the expense of popular interests. 

Ordinary people suffer most. Never recovering from 2008. Left unemployed or underemployed. Increasingly on their own.

One missed paycheck from homelessness, hunger and despair. It's the new normal. 

It bears repeating. Nothing ahead looks promising. Expect hard times to get harder.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Cracks in US/Israeli Special Relationship?

Cracks in US/Israeli Special Relationship?

by Stephen Lendman

On March 25, 1948, Harry Truman met secretly with Chaim Weizmann. He later served as 2nd Chairman of the Provisional State Council of Israel and its first president. A largely ceremonial post. 

Truman pledged support for the future Jewish state. Minutes after midnight on May 15, 1948, America was the first country to extend recognition.

A special relationship began. Thereafter it grew financially, politically, militarily, diplomatically, and counterproductively. 

On many issues mattering most, the Israeli tail wags the US dog. Whether or not Washington's interests are served.

Israel benefits most. America loses more than it gains. Serious reassessment is needed. It's long overdue. Both countries threaten world peace. United they endanger humanity.

In their book titled "The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy,” John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt argue that Israel is "increasingly a strategic liability…"

"It is time for the United States to treat Israel not as a special case but as a normal state, and to deal with it much as it deals with any other country."

Doing so "means no longer pretending that Israel and America's interests are identical, or acting as if Israel deserves steadfast US support no matter what it does."

The special relationship continues. Solid for decades. More recently like a bad romance. Obama and Netanyahu clearly dislike each other.

In a November 2012 press conference, an open microphone caught former French President Nicolas Sarkozy saying "I cannot bear" Netanyahu. He called him "a liar."

Obama responded saying: "You're fed up, but I have to deal with him every day."

According to Netanyahu:

"Leaders are tested at times of differences with our allies, even our closest allies. We face huge challenges." 

"As prime minister, it's my duty to insist on Israel's vital interests and to ensure its security and future." 

As long as he remains prime minister, relations with America and other nations won't be easy. His bluster wore thin long ago.

In 2011, he lectured Obama on Jewish history. He has a knack of making more enemies than friends. He alienates associates around him.

He heads Israel's most extremist ever government. Racist, repressive, neoliberal and fascist. Democracy is pure fantasy.

He's arrogant, abrasive, duplicitous, thuggish, and dangerous. An embarrassment to legitimate governance. Why Israelis put up with him they'll have to explain.

One observer urged him to "set red lines on his malice toward Obama." Israelis and many others deplore his bluster. 

He's gone out of his way to alienate support from his closest ally. An unnamed Israeli official said he caused "profound" damage in relations with Washington.

He's irresponsible. Oversteping traditional boundaries. According to a Bulgarian proverb:

"When God wants to punish someone, the first thing He does is take away his brains."

Bibiism is a state of mind. Reflecting his hardline world view. Rejecting opposing views. Engaging in confrontational politics

Never missing a chance for a good fight. Avoiding reconciliation and cooperation.

It's hard putting up with his antics. Former State Department spokesman PJ Crowley witnessed nine face-to-face meetings with Obama. 

There's "a lack of rapport between these two men," he said. "They don't like each other very much. Plus, there are serious differences between our interests and Israel's."

On October 28, Atlantic columnist Jeffrey Goldberg headlined "The Crisis in US-Israeli Relations Is Officially Here," saying:

"The Obama administration's anger is 'red-hot' over Israel's settlement policies, and the Netanyahu government openly expresses contempt for Obama's understanding of the Middle East." 

"Profound changes in the relationship may be coming." Goldberg quoted an unnamed "senior administration official" calling Netanyahu "a chickenshit."

Goldberg called him "the foreign leader who seems to frustrate the White House and the State Department the most."

US and Israeli officials discuss each other privately. In less than amicable ways. "(A)nother sign that relations between the Obama and Netanyahu governments have moved toward a full-blown crisis," said Goldberg.

Relations between the two administrations is worst ever, he added. Likely worsening further after Tuesday's mid-term elections, he believes.

"By next year, the Obama administration may actually withdraw diplomatic cover for Israel at the United Nations, but even before that, both sides are expecting a showdown over Iran, should an agreement be reached about the future of its nuclear program," he said.

In 2012, Netanyahu campaigned openly for Mitt Romney. Welcoming him to Israel during a campaign visit. Appearing with him in Republican ads.

Goldberg largely blames him for strained relations. He's "written off" the Obama administration.

According to one unnamed US official, " 'red-hot anger' at Netanyahu" persists.

"(F)or pursuing settlement policies on the West Bank, and building policies in Jerusalem…"

"Over the years, Obama administration officials have described Netanyahu to me as recalcitrant, myopic, reactionary, obtuse, blustering, pompous, and 'Aspergery,' " said Goldberg.

He hadn't previously heard Netanyahu called a "chickenshit." The unnamed US official explained, saying:

"The bad thing about him is that he won't do anything to reach an accommodation with the Palestinians or with the Sunni Arab states." 

"The only thing he's interested in is protecting himself from political defeat…He's got no guts."

Another unnamed senior Obama official expressed similar views. On peace process hypocrisy, settlements, Iran, and "near-pathological desire for career-preservation."

Netanyahu went way out of his way to "let the world know that it will quicken the pace of apartment-building in disputed areas of East Jerusalem," said Goldberg.

And express "contempt for the Obama administration and its understanding of the Middle East." 

In part, to mobilize his base. Ahead of possible 2015 elections. On October 27, he called critics of his East Jerusalem settlement construction policy "disconnected from reality."

Both countries disagree on major issues. Like all close allies. At the same time, Goldberg can't recall "a period of sustained and mutual contempt."

Much relates to Netanyahu's "periodic explosions of anti-American condescension," he said.

Months earlier, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon called John Kerry "obsessive and messianic." 

He denounced his peace plan. Calling it "not worth the paper it was written on." 

"(S)imply not connected to reality," Calling him "not an honest broker." Wishing he would win "the Nobel prize and leave us alone."

During Ya'alon's recent Washington visit, Kerry and national security advisor Susan Rice refused to meet with him. According to Goldberg:

"Netanyahu, and the even more hawkish ministers around him, seem to have decided that their short-term political futures rest on a platform that can be boiled down to this formula: 'The whole world is against us. Only we can protect Israel from what’s coming.' "

On October 30, Kerry expressed concern about escalating tensions across Jerusalem and particularly surrounding the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount."

He referred to violence following its closure. After radicalized right-wing rabbi Yehuda Glick was shot and seriously wounded. 

Before Al-Aqsa's Friday reopening, Kerry added:

"The continued commitment by Israelis, Palestinians, and Jordanians to preserve the historic status quo at this holy site is critical. Any decisions or actions to change it would be both provocative and dangerous." 

"The Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount must be re-opened to Muslim worshipers and I support the long-standing practices regarding non-Muslim visitors to the site, consistent with respect for the status quo arrangements governing religious observance there."

Following Friday prayers, protest marches are expected throughout the West Bank, Tensions remain high.

Jerusalem's Fatah chapter called for a day of rage following Mutaz Hijazi's murder. Israeli police blamed him for killing Glick.

Despite no evidence proving it. Denying him due process. Murdering him in cold blood. It's longstanding Israeli practice. He never had a chance.

According to Fatah's Jerusalem secretary-general, Adnan Ghaith, killing Hijazi was an Israeli "act of terrorism." 

Its "crimes are systematically increasing to target Jerusalem through killing, detentions, assaults, demolishing houses, and preventing worshipers from praying inside the compounds of the Al-Aqsa mosque."

Persecuting Palestinians led directly to Glick's shooting, he added. East Jerusalem residents live in Israeli stolen territory.

They're non-citizens. Subject to permit permission revocation for remaining away from the city beyond a specified period. With no right of appeal.

Treated like nonpersons. Discriminated against in all aspects of their lives. Including housing, employment, healthcare, education and other vital services.

Separation Wall blockage denies them access to West Bank services. Jerusalem is legally considered an international city. A corpus separatum (separate body) under a UN Trusteeship Council.

At the same time, East Jerusalem is recognized as Palestinian territory. Israel's annexation is illegitimate.

Nothing is done to change things. Longstanding injustice prevails.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Israel's War on Islam

Israel's War on Islam

by Stephen Lendman

Count the ways. Institutionalized racism is official Israeli policy. Arab lives are cheap. They don't matter. They're considered subhumans. 

Gaza is the world's largest open-air prison. Lockdown harshness prevails. Militarized occupation remains ongoing. Forty-seven years and counting. Ruthless and then some.

Civil law governs Israelis. Military orders control virtually all aspects of Palestinians' lives. Depriving them of fundamental rights.

Persecuting, brutalizing and terrorizing them. Languishing thousands in Israel's gulag. Politically held lawlessly.

in one of the world's harshest prison systems. Cruel and barbaric by any standard. 

Targeting Arabs for not being Jews. For praying to the wrong God. For wanting to live free on their own land in their own country.

For wanting fundamental freedoms everyone deserves. According to core humanitarian and human rights laws. 

Ones Israel consistently breaches. Governing extrajudicially. 
Waging cold, calculated, premeditated naked aggression at its aggression.

Calling non-combatant men, women, children, infants, the elderly and infirm legitimate targets. Violating international law in the process.

Committing high crimes against peace with impunity. With full US support, encouragement, and billions of dollars in funding.

For its killing machine. Both countries partnering in genocidal  crimes of war and against humanity. 

They mock core principles they claim to support. They shock the most jaded doing so. Imagine a world without them. Imagine perhaps the difference between life and death.

The Al-Aqsa Mosque (alMasji al-Aqsa) on the Temple Mount is Islam's third holiest site. 

In Jerusalem's Old City. Where Palestinians lived for thousands of years. Stolen by Israel. Al-Aqsa now under complete Israeli lockdown. More on this below.

Yehuda Glick is an extremist American-born Israeli rabbi. A radicalized right-wing zealot. An Arab-hating Jew.

Chairman of the Temple Mount Heritage Foundation (TMHF). Previous Temple Institute executive director. 

RMHF focuses on "strengthening the relationship between Israel and the Temple Mount." Glick believes sacred Islamic ground belongs to Jews.

Israel previously banned him from entering the compound. Fearing incidents he'd likely provoke.

Critics say TMHF leads Jewish Temple Mount tours. Intending provocative Jewish prayers there. Currently prohibited.

At the same time, encouraging Jews to destroy Al-Aqsa. Replacing it with a Jewish temple. Banishing Muslims from Islam's third holiest site.

On Wednesday evening, Glick was shot at a Jerusalem rally. Reportedly in his upper body at close range. 

At an event outside the Menachem Begin Heritage Center. Where right-wing Knesset members and likeminded extremists were attending.

Jerusalem police reported a shooter on a motorcycle. Details remain unclear. Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said only that a "known right-wing activist" was shot.

Extremist Likud Knesset member Moshe Feiglin favors full Israeli Temple Mount sovereignty. He commented saying:

"The would-be killer turned to (Glick), confirmed in Hebrew with a thick Arab accent that this was indeed Yehuda, and shot several bullets at him from point blank."

"What happened is horrible but very expected. Glick was constantly threatened." 

"The fact that he was not assigned protection at all times is a failure. I say this as someone who is the target of constant incitement."

"Weakness and incompetence were behind this attack. This was a relaxed conference, the room was half full. This was not an impassioned event. An Arab came there with the urge to kill."

The incident occurred during heightened tensions. An expected Knesset vote may possibly divide Al-Aqsa between Muslims and Jews.

Perhaps restrict Muslim site worship more than already. Igniting a firestorm if occurs. What regional Muslims consider intolerable. Perhaps most Muslims everywhere.

In 1967, Israel and Jordan agreed on permitting Jewish Western Wall prayer. Not inside Al-Aqsa's compound.

After Glick's shooting, Israel declared Al-Aqsa closed "until further notice." It was the first time since 1967. Abbas called doing so a "declaration of war." 

A "dangerous Israeli escalation…on the Palestinian people and its sacred places and on the Arab and Islamic nation." 

His spokesman, Abu Rdeina, called it "a brazen challenge and dangerous behavior, and will lead to more tension and instability and create a very dangerous atmosphere."

He urged the international community to "take action immediately in order to stop this aggression." 

"(A)gainst the Palestinian people and their holy places and against both the Arab and Islamic nations."

Only Al-Aksa's director, Sheikh Azam al-Kahtib, and security guards were allowed in. Hundreds of students in religious schools were denied access.

"It is unacceptable that the Al-Aqsa Mosque pays a toll for the events in Jerusalem," al-Kahtib said. The mosque is a place for prayer and worship and all Muslims have the right to access it." 

On Thursday, Israeli police shot and killed Mutaz Hijazi. A Palestinian police blamed for killing Glick. Citing no corroborating evidence.

Claiming, of course, he was armed, dangerous and "opened fire on the police." Neighborhood residents dismissed police Big Lies. 

He was unarmed, they said. Threatening no one. Murdered in cold blood. Case closed. Standard Israeli operating procedure.

Shoot, ready, aim. Palestinian lives don't matter. Victims are blamed for Israeli crimes. Over and over again.

Several area residents said police used live fire against them. When they went outside to see what was happening.

Bloodstains and bullet holes were visible on Hajazi's roof several hours later. According to nearby resident Mohammed Shwayt:

"Police came into the neighborhood. (D)ozens of them. (Hajazi) ran to the roof of the building. (Police) started shooting almost immediately."

Innocence or guilt didn't matter. He never had a chance. He was murdered in cold blood.

Doing so prompted Abu Tor daylong clashes. South of Jerusalem's Old City. Dozens of youths threw stones at police. 

They responded brutally as always. With tear gas, rubber bullets  and stun grenades. The entire area was affected for hours. 

Residents uninvolved with what happened were harmed. A canister ignited a delivery van. Palestinian Red Crescent workers reported no injuries.

Days earlier, a neighboring Silwan district resident drove his car into a crowd of passengers disembarking from the city's light rail service.

Killing two. Injuring seven others. Police shot and killed him. No due process. No questions asked. Case closed. 
CIt bears repeating. Typical Israeli justice. For Palestinians, none at all.

Since July, Jerusalem has been a hotbed of anger. Since teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir was burned alive. A revenge attack for killing three West Bank Israeli Jews he had nothing to do with.

On Thursday, Jerusalem Police commander Moshe (Chico) Edri announced Al-Aqsa's reopening on Friday. Restricted to men over 50 and women of all ages.

Large security force detachments remain stationed in Jerusalem. Especially in eastern clash-prone areas.

Protest marches are expected throughout the West Bank after Friday prayers. Tensions remain high.

Jerusalem's Fatah chapter called for a day of rage following Hijazi's murder.

On October 30, the  Al Haq Palestinian human rights organization expressed grave concern about Israel's provocative actions.

They'll "lead to further escalation in violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and possibly neighboring countries," said Al Haq.

It "urge(d) the international community to view the recent events in a broader domestic and regional context."

It wants Israel held accountable for international law breaches. It called Al-Aqsa ones regular occurrences since 1967. Past incidents include:

  • January 1986 Knesset and Jewish extremists conducting two provocative Al-Aqsa visits triggering clashes;

  • October 1990 Israeli security forces accompanied by extremist settlers clashing with Palestinians inside Al-Aqsa's compound;

  • September 1996 clashes following Israel's new tunnel entrance near Al Aqsa. Sixty-two deaths and 1,600 injuries followed.

  • Ariel Sharon's provocative September 2000 Al-Aksa visit, sparking the second Intifada.

According to Al Haq:

"Recent statements made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu regarding maintaining the status quo and Israel's respect for freedom of worship are not only disingenuous given the aforementioned events, but also fail to acknowledge Israel's more routine breaches of Palestinians' right to freedom of religion, including access to holy sites." 

"Both Palestinian Muslims and Christians are routinely denied their rights to freely worship in Jerusalem." 

"Infringement of these rights becomes even more severe during times of Jewish holidays."

"More specifically, Palestinian access to Al-Aqsa is regularly hindered by Israel via arbitrary prohibitions based on age and gender."

"Israel also often includes the prohibition of access to Al-Aqsa as a condition for release of individuals, many of whom are arbitrarily arrested and detained."

Israel is a rogue terror state. Brutalizing Palestinians continues daily. Expect no relief ahead. Not any time soon for sure.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

America's Rogue Agenda

America's Rogue Agenda

by Stephen Lendman

Cold-blooded ruthlessness defines US policy. Giving pure evil new meaning. Tyrannical. Merciless. Brutal. Barbaric. Lawless. Stopping at nothing to achieve imperial aims. 

Instituting homeland police state state rule. Spurning fundamental rule of law of law principles. Mocking human and civil rights. Making democracy pure fantasy.

Sponsoring state terrorism. Intimidating, threatening, and otherwise pressuring other nations to comply with its will. Obey or else is policy.

Waging war on humanity. Targeting all sovereign independent states for regime change. Wanting pro-Western stooge governance replacing them.

Wanting control of world resources. Wanting ordinary people exploited as serfs. Waging wars without mercy to achieve aims. 

Lunatics in America run things. Neocon fanatics. Demanding unipolar/New World Order dominance. 

Targeting Russia to eliminate a rival power. Risking world peace in the process.

Russian MP Roman Roman Khudyakov wants Obama stripped of his Nobel Peace Prize. Blood on his hands demands it.

Waging  one dirty war after another. Without mercy. Lawlessly. Ruthlessly.

"More and more international experts are calling Obama's presidency dark times," said Khudyakov. 

"The reason for that is the brutal policy that he is conducting all over the world, like Napoleon or Hitler had done before." 

"But I want to warn Obama so that he pays more attention to history and understands that he can end up like Hitler."

He wants Obama's prize given to Putin. He's a deserving recipient. He's polar opposite his US counterpart.

"He stopped the war in Iran, in Syria and he is still saving a lot of people from major bloodshed," said Khudyakov. 

"He is a vivid example of a politician who preserves peace and love in the world."

In 2013, the International Academy of Spiritual Unity and Cooperation Among Nations of the World (IASUCANW) nominated him for this year's award.

Its President Georgiy Trapeznikov said "he proved his adherence to the cause of peace."

"We know very well what peacemaking role our president played in conflict regions, especially Beslan and South Ossetia."

He's very much involved in resolving Syria's conflict peacefully. Ukrainian crisis conditions.

Putin's press secretary Dmitry Pekov said:

"The primary criterion for the president is satisfaction from a job well done." He seeks no special recognition or awards.

At the time, State Duma MP Iosif Kobzon said Putin deserves next year's prize. He's polar opposite Obama.

America's president "initiated and approved…aggressive actions in Iraq and Afghanistan," said Kobzon. Against Libya.

"Now he is preparing for an invasion into Syria. He bears this title nevertheless." 

"Our president, who tries to stop the bloodshed and who tries to help the conflict situation with political dialogue, is in my view more worthy of this high title."

Last summer, Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky said Obama wasn't worthy of Nobel honors.

Awarding him the Peace Prize did "huge damage," he said. It's time to correct things. 

In March, Russian upper house Federal Council Senator Lyudmila Bokova asked Nobel Committee members to annul Obama's award.

In November 2013, Officers of Russian Mothers made the same request. So have activists worldwide. Awarding peace prizes to war-makers is longstanding Nobel practice.

They deplore peace. They represent wealth, power and privilege. They believe war is peace. It shows in their annual selections.

Obama gives rogue governance new meaning. According to Sergey Lavrov, he "send(s) emissaries all over the world (to) persuad(e) everybody to be against us."

He wants Russia marginalized, weakened, isolated, and contained. En route to eliminating its sovereign independence altogether. "A democratic world" runs counter to its objectives.

At the same time, they "persuade(d) practically no one except for the EU and some of its closest allies outside NATO and the European Union."

"I cannot agree that everybody is against us, that everybody is trying to steer clear of us, that we have no partners with whom we can develop a constructive and decent agenda."

"The geographic scope of international contacts in Russia and outside it is a confirmation of that. And not just the geographic scope, but the content of the agreements we conclude.”

Washington uses the Ukrainian crisis it created to isolate Russia from Europe, said Lavrov.

"These efforts have been stepped up lately, including through attempts to impose American liquefied gas supplies upon Europe at prices that cannot compete with Russian gas prices." 

"There are undoubtedly economic interests behind this. But geopolitical calculations are playing a big and even key role."

"The fact that that EU countries, not even the major or leading ones, are beginning to openly say that the policy of sanctions leads nowhere and is counterproductive speaks volumes."

"It is Europe that produced the thinkers who said that economics determines politics, but the EU is declaring the opposite of that now." 

"It is ready to sacrifice the economy for the sake of politics. This is an extreme degree of ideologisation." 

"This cannot last long and one can already hear reasonable voices in the European Union which have noted an absolutely paradoxical situation where the EU instructed the Committee of Permanent Representatives in Brussels to prepare new sanctions on the very same day the peace agreement was signed in Minsk; on the very day things got off the ground, primarily owing to the initiative put forth by Russian President Vladimir Putin."

Lavrov barely stopped short calling America the world's greatest evil force. Operating lawlessly. Threatening world peace.

In contrast, Russia "consistently" supports international law, he said. "We have never deviated from this policy just an inch." 

"We have urged compliance with the achieved agreements and creation of new instruments facilitating proper response to the modern challenges."

"Let us not forget that the US National Security Doctrine adopted in 2010 states very clearly that the US respects international law but reserves the right to resort to any action to protect its interests, including the use of force without the UN authorisation," said Lavrov.

Rogue states operate this way. None match America's ruthlessness. It does whatever it damn pleases. Anywhere for any reason or none at all.

Putin is polar opposite. In mid-October, he addressed the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit. He spokesman Dmitry Peskov said:

"He emphasized that the format of regional cooperation is the sole alternative to negative trends and the desire of some countries to determine the destiny of other states and whole regions on their own."

Eurasian conflicts bode ill, Putin stressed. They risk "collapse of whole regions and deplorable consequences for a whole number of countries."

It's up to responsible ones to reverse things. Prioritizing peace and stability is a good way to start. So is rejecting war-making for any reason besides self-defense.

Russophobia threatens world peace. It's headquartered in Washington. 

Former Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov said US-led sanctions and other anti-Russian policies constitute "color revolution" aggression.

Their aim "is to weaken Russia, corner us, put into practice the idea of a 'color revolution' in our country."

Imposing them without Security Council authorization contradicts what Primakov calls "global processes." Economic and political ones.

Creating real threats to world security. Doing it recklessly without just cause.

Russia won't accept "a course for self-isolation," said Primakov.

"Those who don’t turn a blind eye to that see that the overwhelming majority of the Russian population support the head of state and do not accept threats addressed to Putin, whose policy is justly assessed as one serving Russia’s interests and at the same time not slamming the door for cooperation with all countries, including the US and the EU, to neutralize real threats and challenges to the international community."

It bears repeating. Obama represents rogue governance. He threatens world peace. 

Putin is polar opposite. Paul Craig Roberts calls him the world's moral leader for good reason.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Irresponsibly Targeting Russia

Irresponsibly Targeting Russia

by Stephen Lendman

Russia is geopolitical enemy No. 1. Not for wrongdoing. Or posing an existential threat. Or acting irresponsibly in any way. 

For defending its sovereign independence responsibly. Lawfully. Wanting other nations respecting it. Believing rule of law principles are inviolable.

For Vladimir Putin, Sergey Lavrov and other officials telling it like it is. Expressing important views candidly, forthrightly and unambiguously.

Polar opposite duplicitous Western politicians. Especially Obama. A caricature of a leader. 

Arguably America's worst ever. A serial liar. A moral coward. A war criminal multiple times over.

A shameless head of state. A deplorable one. A dangerous one. A lawless one. A ruthless one. 

Neoliberal, reactionary, belligerent, pro-war, pro-monied interests, anti-democratic, anti-progressive, anti-populist, anti-labor and anti-social justice.

A world-class thug. A threat to global peace at the most perilous time in world history. Russia's Deputy Defense Minister Dmitry Rogozin commented.

He explained Moscow's response to real existential threats. It's proud independence. Able to defend its interests effectively.

Not about to roll over for Washington or other rogue Western partners. More on his remarks below.

Welcome to Cold War 2.0. The first one never ended. Since Soviet Russia's 1991 dissolution, Western policy remained hard-wired in place. 

Russia bashing persists. Intensely. Raging daily. Exceeding the worst of Soviet era levels. 

Daily vilifying a maliciously reinvented Evil Empire. It's back to the future. Unsurprisingly. 

Neocons infest Washington. Other Western capitals. Business as usual continues. At stake is world peace.

Numerous incidents occur. Contrived ones. Invented to vilify Moscow recklessly.

Sweden's so-called search for "foreign underwater activity" heghtened regional tensions irresponsibly.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said:

"Such unfounded actions of the Swedish Defense Department, fueled by the Cold War-style rhetoric, are only leading today to escalation of tension in the region."

He referred to "never-ceasing speculations" about Sweden claiming a Russian submarine's presence in Stockholm archipelago region waters.
Moscow denied the accusation. Sweden announced readiness to use force. 

It ludicrously claimed Russian Baltic Sea area challenging activity. With no corroborating evidence whatever.

Acting provocatively without cause. Suspending defense cooperation with Moscow. Perhaps on orders from Washington. 

Willingly serving as a convenient US stooge. Sacrificing its sovereign independence in the process.

The latest incident involved UK Royal Air Force warplanes intercepting a Latvian cargo plane. Threatening to down it. 

Claiming it failed to respond to air traffic control over Kent in Southern England. UK media irresponsibly broadcast a British pilot saying:

"I am instructed by Her Majesty's government of the United Kingdom to warn you that, if you do not respond immediately to my orders, you will be shot down."

Doing so heightened fear without just cause. Communications with civilian pilots were restored. Everything was in order. Things were resolved without force.

Media scoundrels wrongfully reported a Russian cargo plane. Then switching to "Russian-made."

It was a Latvian-owned Ukrainian one. It didn't matter. Frenzied reporting claimed Russian military aircraft in Atlantic and Black Sea waters.

US-led NATO said it intercepted four groups of Russian planes since Tuesday. According to an Alliance statement:

"These sizable Russian flights represent an unusual level of air activity over European airspace."

Media reports left unexplained what was most important. Russian planes were legally in international airspace. They crossed no territorial borders. They threatened no one.

Reuters quoted a Norwegian military spokesman saying:

"We see Russian aircraft near our airspace on a regular basis but what was unusual is that it was a large number of aircraft and pushed further south than we normally see."

Unexplained was they posed no threat whatever. Nor violated air space rules. Had they been US or other Western planes, nothing whatever would have been reported.

Cold, calculated Russia bashing changed things. Expect lots more ahead. Intense. Irresponsible. Malicious. Uncalled for.

Washington's dirty hands bear full responsibility. Rogue EU partners share it. Dark side geopolitics continues. No end in sight looms.

Dmitry Rogozin commented on Russia's response. It's militarily modernizing to meet potential threats. With the "most ultra-modern weapons."

By 2015, to be 30% equipped. By 2020, 70%. Perhaps 100% or close to it. "In fact, our Army and Navy will be the best armed and equipped in the world," Rogozin believes.

In terms of "efficiency, quality and price," he thinks Russia "will be able to realize (its) goal."

"We have to make weapons that will be more straightforward and cheaper than" America's. In terms of efficiency, they must equal or surpass its capability.

Washington relies on military power, said Rogozin. "It's an old formula, known since old mafia times. A gun lying on the table makes negotiations more effective."

"That is to say, a kind word can solve a lot, but a kind word with a gun can solve a lot more."

Washington operates this way. With help from NATO partners. "(H)aving evaluated the military threat, (we) understand that our weapons must be able to reflect not only an attack from one aggressor, but from an aggregate number of countries (with) a high level of technology and can use force against us."

At the same time, "(w)e have to create a compact army, so it can be mobile and transferred" wherever a threat of war exists.

Russia has the largest territorial country in the world by far. With a population of only 135 million. 

Adequate protection requires 600 million, Rogozin believes. "Therefore, out task is to create a weapon that will allow each soldier and officer to replace five people."

"So we must have lots of weapons. Military personnel at all levels should be trained as "universal soldier(s)." Able to operate complex weapons.

Since people are few compared to territorial expanse to protect, every soldier's life is important. "(M)ov(ing) (them) as far away as possible from the actual line of fire" is essential.

Doing so requires "funding for the advancing (of) cutting-edge area(s) of science. (W)e need to stay ahead of the world. If we lag behind, we will lose."

"Will we have types of weapons (Putin says) will surprise our Western colleagues?"

"I can only say one thing. The formation of the technical basis for strategic nuclear forces is going at a surprising pace."

Russia is ahead of earlier plans. A nuclear submarine fleet is being created. 

With strategic nuclear weapons "capable of reaching any country on any continent, if it suddenly becomes the aggressor and our topmost national interests come under threat."

"(M)ulti-purpose vessels (will be) capable of autonomous navigation to deal with any obstacles and that can compete in an armed confrontation with (an) entire enemy fleet."

"With regard to the Strategic Missile Forces, the President has already adopted and is implementing strategies."

"(W)e updated almost the entire fleet of strategic bombers. We have restored the capability of unique engines" lost earlier.

"(F)ramework has been laid for the creation of an advanced aviation complex for a long-range aircraft."

"Design works have been initiated to create a heavy bomber, which will be a powerful replacement for the strategic aviation which we inherited from the Soviet era."

Efforts began "to create a new missile complex, which will replace the current one." Everything is being produced in Russia.

Including electronics, engines, nuclear warheads, special part and other device management systems, Rogozin explained.

Ukraine's disintegration began when Soviet Russia dissolved, he said. The country was "up for grabs." Competing elements "gnawing each other's throats."

Reliance on Ukrainian military imports is ending. "In 2.5 years at most, we will fully replace everything" Kiev supplied.

"For Ukraine, it is the end. (A) complete demise of (its) state as an an industrial country." Their products and technology are outdated.

"What they are doing right now is suicide." Its science and industry are incompetent. Putin months earlier tried "wretch(ing) Ukraine from a tailspin."

To no avail once putschists usurped power. Ukraine is "finished. It is a personal tragedy" for its people. They can either accept mediocracy or move to Russia. 

They're coming, said Rogozin. Those doing so know where their future lies. Able to continue working as scientists, experts, engineers, "but now in Russia as Russians," Rogozin explained.

They'll help Moscow's defense/industrial complex. Added competence against Washington's threat.

Rogozin calls its behavior "amusing, quite selective. They're saying (they) want to create problems for the Russian space, for the Russian rocket-space industry."

"They are trying to squeeze us out of the market where Russian companies gained opportunities to launch foreign satellites."

They're "attempting to cause as much damage as possible to the development of Russian space."

At the same time, they're dependent on Russia to transport astronauts and supplies to the International Space Station.

Until 2018, they have no other way. They're "completely dependent on our goodwill." They're biting the hand feeding it.

Moscow is up to the challenges it faces, Rogozin stressed. It understands them. It's acting accordingly. Responsibly.

It bears repeating. It's not rolling over for Washington. Or rogue European partners. It's preparing to address future challenges successfully.

Rogozin believes its state-of-the-art technology, competent professionals and commitment to achieve goals shows it's able to confront potential adversaries effectively.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

America's Deplorable Afghanistan Legacy

America's Deplorable Afghanistan Legacy

by Stephen Lendman

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg absurdly calls Afghanistan an Alliance success story. 

As ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) "completes" its "mission at the end of this year."

"This unprecedented international effort has contributed to a better future for Afghan men, women and children," Stoltenberg claims. "And it has enhanced global security."

Disaster more accurately describes things. Conditions are horrific. Perhaps worse than ever. A testimony to US-led NATO high crimes against peace.

Afghanistan's new puppet government agreed to let around 10,000 US troops remain indefinitely. 

Immune from Afghan laws. Free to rampage with impunity. On the pretext of serving in an advisory capacity.

Afghanistan today reflects "the grand illusion of the American cause." What CIA officials called Vietnam decades earlier.

After over 13 years of neo-colonial war, Washington won't cut its losses and leave. For good reason.

Afghanistan is strategically important. A geopolitical prize. Straddling the Middle East, South and Central Asia. In Eurasia's heartland.

Permanent occupation is planned. War won't end. At issue is exploiting Eurasia's vast oil, gas and other resources. 
Significant Afghan resources rarely discussed.

Controlling the world's largest opium supply. Flooding world markets with heroin. 

Providing enormous profits for Wall Street. Giving CIA crime bosses access to billions of dollars in ilicit drug money.

Giving America a strategically located land-based aircraft carrier. Part of its plan to encircle Russia and China with military bases.

Both nations represent the only challengers to US global dominance. Imperial supremacy depends on neutralizing their alliance.

Sabotaging their governments. Replacing them with pro-Western stooge ones.

China is the world's largest economy. Based on purchasing power parity (PPP). What a representative basket of goods in one country costs v. another.

By 2019, IMF economists expect it to be 20% larger than America. Based on PPP. It's perhaps the greatest economic success story in modern times. 

Thirty-five years ongoing. The best America achieved was around 25 years in colonial times.

Russia is a formidable military power. The only nation able to challenge America's military might.

With enormous oil and gas resources. Both nations benefit strategically by allying. 

Doing so weakens America longterm. The new great game pits Washington against Sino/Russian unity. 

In the long run, hegemons fail. America is no different from earlier ones.

Afghanistan is its longest war in history. Its most fruitless. One of its most brutal. Most expensive. More on this below.

A previous article discussed US Lt. Colonel Daniel Davis. He assessed conditions accurately. His unclassified report called them disastrous.

"How many more men must die in support of a mission that is not succeeding," he asked? His report's opening comments said:

"Senior ranking US military leaders have so distorted the truth when communicating with the US Congress and American people in regards to conditions on the ground in Afghanistan that the truth has become unrecognizable." 

"This deception has damaged America’s credibility among both our allies and enemies, severely limiting our ability to reach a political solution to the war in Afghanistan."

His classified report was more explicit, saying: 

"If the public had access to these classified reports, they would see the dramatic gulf between what is often said in public by our senior leaders and what is actually true behind the scenes." 

"It would be illegal for me to discuss, use, or cite classified material in an open venue, and thus I will not do so."

Davis traveled thousands of miles throughout the country. He spoke to US commanders, subordinates, and low-ranking soldiers. 

He talked at length with Afghan security officials, civilians and village elders. What he learned bore no resemblance to rosy scenario official accounts. 

Insurgent forces control "virtually every piece of land beyond eyeshot of a US or International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) base," he said

Everywhere he visited, "the tactical situation was bad to abysmal."
Afghanistan's government can't "provide for the basic needs of the people." At times, local security forces collude with insurgents.

Davis hoped to learn something positive. He "witnessed the absence of success on virtually every level." 

One senior enlisted leader spoke for others. He hoped to get out alive in one piece.

War without end continues. No end in sight looms. Afghanistan's so-called government controls little more than Kabul. 

Other than ISAF bases and pockets Taliban fighters haven't yet taken over. Don't expect Obama to explain. Or Pentagon commanders.

It's hard imagining a more long-suffering people. Humanitarian aid enough to matter is sorely lacking. Millions of Afghans are on their own.

US imperial victims. Suffering horrifically. Only 6% have reliable electricity sources. Only 30% have semi-safe potable water. Nearly 80% of Afghan children lack access.

Only 6% of them are registered at birth. Most are nonpersons. With no legal identity. Vulnerable. Unprotected. Defenseless.

Washington doesn't give a damn about them. Whether they live or  die, lack basic services, suffer, or experience horrific indignities.

Few Afghans have telephones. They're mostly in Kabul. Millions of internally and externally displaced refugees are largely on their own.

According to to the World Food Program (WFP), life expectancy is 44.5 years for men. It's 44 for women. Afghanistan has one of the world's highest maternal mortality rates.

Many thousands of women die annually. From no access to obstetrical and other health services. 

Infant mortality is high. Around 165 deaths per thousand births occur before age one. Over 20% of children perish before age five.

No one's sure from day to day who'll live or die. US drone attacks kill mostly noncombatants. Claims otherwise are Big Lies. 

Millions are vulnerable to preventable diseases. Epidemic levels of malnutrition persist.

Vital infrastructure is lacking. Severe poverty is overwhelming. So is environmental contamination. 

Mass unemployment goes unnoticed. Healthcare, housing, education, proper sanitation and other vital needs are sorely lacking.

Human misery is a growth industry. So is hunger. Thousands starve to death for lack of food. 

Millions suffer chronic malnutrition. Tens of thousands of children have protruding bones.

Like famine victims. With distended stomachs. Begging in streets for whatever help they can get.

Chronic malnutrition and overall depravation deprive them of anything approaching normality.

Iron deficiency alone disrupts brain development. Around 75% of Afghan children are affected.

Iodine deficiency is the world's leading cause of mental impairment. Insufficient vitamin A harms immune system functioning.

Micronutrients deprivation causes enormous harm. Millions of Afghans can't afford minimally healthy diets. 

In some provinces, only one in five have anything close to what's needed. Conditions were woefully inadequate before America's war. They're far worse now.

Afghanistan's troubled history goes back centuries. Its people endured what few can imagine.

In the 1980s, America's involvement began. US recruited mujahideen fighters battled Soviet occupiers. 

In 1989 they left. A ravaged country remained. Civil war followed. Then 9/11. US-led naked aggression. 

Invasion. Occupation. Millions of deaths. Mass destruction, and horrific human suffering to this day.

Washington doesn't give a damn about ordinary Afghans. Whether they live or die. Starve or succumb to violence or preventable diseases.

Imperial priorities matter most. Long-suffering Afghans remain on their own out of luck. 

Perhaps millions more will perish before conflict ends. Who knows when or how.

A Final Comment

Linda Bilmes and Joseph Stiglitz wrote earlier on the true cost of the Iraq war. She believes Washington's Iraq and Afghan wars alone will cost up to $6 trillion.

Including longterm medical care and disability compensation for vets and families.

Over 2.5 million men and women served in both wars. Over 1.5 million left active duty by September 2012.

Over half of them get government medical care. Another 50% applied for permanent disability benefits.

Costs are staggering. Increasing exponentially. Eventually they'll approach $1 trillion. Over 600,000 service members were seriously harmed.

Over 250,00 suffered traumatic brain injury. According to Bilmes:

"Research from previous wars has shown that these veterans are at a higher risk for lifelong medical problems, such as seizures, decline in neurocognitive functioning, dementia, and chronic diseases."

Medical and personnel costs skyrocketed. In future years they'll be much greater than now.

Over $2 trillion was borrowed to finance the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, said Bilmes. Debt service is huge. Even at low interest rates.

The human and financial cost of US wars is staggering. Trillions of dollars down a black hole to make America safe for war profiteers.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.