Tag Archives: US

WSJ Hamer/Robinson/AP: ‘I just want to leave’: Afghan refugees speak out about conditions at Fort McCoy

15 Sep 2021  | 

original article: ‘I just want to leave’: Afghan refugees speak out about conditions at Fort McCoy 


“I have depression, stress and anxiety, insomnia and it’s getting worse.”

18-year-old Afghan refugee

 

 

“Waiting in line for hours to get food, wearing the same clothes day after day, getting harassed by some of the Afghan men, not knowing the timeline for resettlement — all are problems a pair of Afghan women say they have faced staying at Fort McCoy military base in western Wisconsin, though officials said Tuesday the issues are being addressed.

“There are many people who don’t have anything to wear, anything to eat,” an 18-year-old Afghan woman told the Wisconsin State Journal on Saturday. “They make us wait here for six hours behind the cafeteria, and when you go in there’s nothing left.

“I just want to leave this place so I can start my own life.”

The two women spoke by phone with the Wisconsin State Journal Saturday about their experience at Fort McCoy on the condition of anonymity. They said they feared a negative reaction from some Afghan men housed at the base, many of them former members of the U.S.-trained Afghan National Army who have caused problems, such as harassing women and skipping people in the food lines.

Fort McCoy officials have not granted media requests to interview refugees nor access to the base. They have shared some photos and videos from inside. They have also discouraged volunteers from speaking with the press.

Thomas Gresback, a Fort McCoy spokesperson with the Department of Homeland Security, said Fort McCoy experienced supply chain issues in being able to provide enough food to feed the 12,500 Afghans now at the base. But Fort McCoy has been working to address the issue, Gresback said, and “over the last five days we improved that significantly.” He said the refugees are offered “three hot meals per day” with a protein, a carbohydrate option, fruits, vegetables and drinks.

Gresback said he visited the base’s cafeteria line Monday and saw that Afghans were “very happy” with the changes Fort McCoy made.

“We feel we’ve come a very long way in a very short period,” Gresback told the State Journal on Tuesday.

Fort McCoy is one of eight military bases housing refugees who fled from Afghanistan after the recent collapse of the country’s government to the Taliban. Though the number of refugees in Wisconsin has grown week by week, the U.S. halted incoming flights last week after discovering cases of measles among the refugees, including one case at Fort McCoy.

Gresback acknowledged other complaints raised by Afghan evacuees such as a lack of access to clothing donated to Fort McCoy. Gresback said personnel at the base are “working absolutely as fast as we can” to distribute clothes.

He noted that Fort McCoy is still accepting donations and is especially looking for warm clothes for winter. Donations of new or gently used clothing that has been freshly laundered can be made at the Salvation Army in Madison at 3030 Darbo Drive from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, as well as other Salvation Army locations across Wisconsin.

The second woman who spoke with the State Journal said she desperately wants to change her clothes. On Saturday afternoon, the 40-year-old said she was still wearing the same clothing she wore while escaping from Afghanistan out of the Kabul airport as her country fell to the Taliban. She arrived at Fort McCoy on Sept. 1, 10 days before the interview.

“I couldn’t bring anything from home,” she said, adding she developed an infection after not being able to change her only pair of underwear. “I have to wash that and wait until that is dried and I can wear them again.”

The State Journal was unable to reconnect with the women Tuesday to ask whether conditions had indeed improved over the last few days.

Chris Hennemeyer, who is leading the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ volunteer efforts at Fort McCoy, said the long lines for food are “a thing of the past.”

“(Those issues), they’re all being worked out, and some of them have been sorted out really well,” Hennemeyer said when asked about the long cafeteria lines and the clothing shortage. “The lines that existed a week or so ago, you don’t see them anywhere.”

But one major thing has not been sorted out: when the Afghans get to leave.

Both women said they have Special Immigrant Visas, and are frustrated they’re not being processed through the military base more quickly. After traumatic experiences at the Kabul airport, they’re ready to start their new lives living and working in the U.S.

“I’m not saying I’m not glad I got out of there. I’m saying I’m very happy. I’m very glad I got out of there,” the 18-year-old said of fleeing Afghanistan. “It’s just that I want to be processed out fast. I’m losing lots of my time. It’s a waste of time staying here (at Fort McCoy).”

How Much is Enough? A Look at the US Military (Updated)

How much military does the US government have?  It all depends on what you consider a base or a site or a combat machine or what the government wants you to know and what is to be secret.

 

“The US today is the main imperialist power in the world and responsible for around 1,000 foreign bases in about 172 countries. This is around 20 times the number of foreign military bases as all other countries in the world combined. The countries with the second and third highest number of foreign bases are Britain and France, 2 of the US’s NATO allies.”

International Conference Against US/NATO Military Bases


Comparing US military to China: US has 20 times the nuclear warheads. Twice the tonnage of warships at sea. The US has over 800 overseas bases, China has 3. The US military has over 2000 fighter jets compared to China’s 600, and the Lockheed F-35 program is set to deliver 2500 nuclear capable jets.

Washington Post: The Pentagon is using China as an excuse for huge new budgets

https://twitter.com/FareedZakaria/status/1373696826205999107


“U.S. bases represent 90-95 percent of the world’s foreign bases, constituting the largest collection of extraterritorial bases in world history…”

Military spending has many points of contention: Closing overseas bases isn’t one of them (2019)  
BY MEDEA BENJAMIN, JOHN TIERNEY, DAVID VINE, AND COL. (RET.) LAWRENCE WILKERSON

 


“…let’s talk military budgets:

The US will spend, if we want to be purists, $716 billion on the military. It’s actually a lot more because the National Security Agency is part of the military, and the CIA to all intents and purposes is military in nature and between them their secret budgets top more than the $50 billion that was leaked in a Congressional hearing eight years ago, and could be double that now since so much more US military activity is now handled by Special Forces acting under the direction of the CIA, but for sake of argument let’s just leave it at $716 billion.

Russia’s military budget is $65 billion, and even if you tripled that to account for how much more expensive everything is in the US from soldiers’ pay to weapons systems would represent less than a third of what the US spends.

China’s military budget is $183 billion, and again, you could double that if you like to account for different costs and it would still be less than half of the US military budget.

That is to say, even if you put the Chinese and Russian militaries together, their budgets would be significantly smaller than the US military budget.”

Counterpunch – MARCH 18, 2021

Let’s Stop Pretending Russia and China are Military Threats BY DAVE LINDORFF

 


 

 

“MEMBERS OF THE U.S. special operations forces deployed to 154 countries, or roughly 80 percent of the world’s nations, last year, but information about exactly where elite forces conduct missions, under what authorities they operate, who they’ve killed, and whether they’re adhering to the laws of armed conflict is closely guarded, buried in obscure legal provisions, shrouded in secrecy, or allegedly unknown even to Special Operations Command…”

The Intercept, March 20, 2021

WILL THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION SHINE LIGHT ON SHADOWY SPECIAL OPS PROGRAMS? by Nick Turse


At Least Seven Hundred Foreign Bases
“It’s not easy to assess the size or exact value of our empire of bases. Official records on these subjects are misleading, although instructive. According to the Defense Department’s annual “Base Structure Report” for fiscal year 2003, which itemizes foreign and domestic U.S. military real estate, the Pentagon currently owns or rents 702 overseas bases in about 130 countries and HAS another 6,000 bases in the United States and its territories…”

America’s Empire of Bases (2004)
By Chalmers Johnson


Military dot com: Base Guide  


National Park Service: Military Bases in the Continental United States


 

“While we are opposed to all foreign military bases, we do recognize that the United States maintains the highest number of military bases outside its territory, estimated at almost 1000 (95% of all foreign military bases in the world). Presently, there are U.S. military bases in every Persian Gulf country except Iran…”

Coalition Against U.S. Foreign Military Bases


David Vine on Closing U.S. Military Bases – November 30, 2018

The Scott Horton Show


“Today, while there are no foreign bases in the United States, there are around 800 U.S. bases in foreign countries…”

Trumping Democracy in America’s Empire of Bases (2017)
By David Vine


“It’s not a matter of whether the war is not real or if it is. Victory is not possible.
The war is not meant to be won. It is meant to be continuous. A hierarchical society is only possible on the basis of poverty and ignorance.”

~ George Orwell ~

End support for bombing and starvation of Yemen: Cassandra Dixon and Barb Olson

Letter to the Editor. Cap Times 25 January 2021

original article:

Cassandra Dixon and Barb Olson: Biden should end support for bombing and starvation of Yemen

“For over five years, Yemenis have endured a civil war which has already killed nearly a quarter-million people. Roughly half of those who perished died from war-induced malnutrition, disease and lack of basic services.

Intervening on one side, a Saudi-led and U.S.-supported coalition has used overwhelming military force — including laser-guided bombs and other high-tech weapons supported by our tax dollars — to systematically devastate huge areas of Yemen that their rivals control.

The U.S. has supplied combat ships that are vital to the naval and air blockade presently denying millions of people in Yemen essential food and medicine (90% of Yemen’s food supply is imported).

The U.S. has also directly carried out bombing raids against those it labels “terrorists.” Recently, Congress failed to stop the Trump administration from selling F-35s like those the Air Force wants to station at Truax to the United Arab Emirates, one of the countries bombing Yemen.

As was predicted, famine is now widespread. Two-thirds of Yemenis are hungry and many tens of thousands, especially children, are truly bloated-belly-and-stick-limbs starving. Moderate to severe malnutrition afflicts a quarter of the population, including more than 2 million children.

And now COVID-19 has joined cholera and diphtheria in exponentially compounding their misery.


related

  1. US Envoy to Yemen Is ‘Aggressively’ Pursuing Talks With Houthis to End War
  2. BIDEN WITHDRAWS U.S. SUPPORT FOR SAUDI “OFFENSIVE OPERATIONS” IN YEMEN
  3. UAE Ambassador Al Otaiba’s yells at Rep. Khanna over Yemen Changes
  4. Biden’s Bolt From Yemen?: Symbolic Step, Systemic Limits, and Linguistic Gymnastics

Bad Yemen policy predates the outgoing administration, but things got worse under Trump. Along with Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the U.S. slashed contributions to international relief agencies trying to mitigate the carnage in Yemen.

Just as they applied “maximum pressure” to the recalcitrant Palestinians by eliminating U.S. funds to UNRWA, the UN agency critical to their survival, the Trump administration did not hesitate to further destroy the lives of the poor, weak, sick and elderly people of Yemen in pursuit of its foreign policy agenda.

Now the Trump administration has made good on its long-standing threat to label Ansar Allah, an Iran-supported Houthi militia in the coalition opposing our dear friends the Saudis, as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. This is designed to tighten the already suffocating blockade of Yemen.

In November, major international humanitarian organizations begged U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo not to make this designation, warning that humanitarian relief could be crippled by charges of aiding terrorism for cooperating with rebels in delivery of relief to civilian populations.

Neither Ansar Allah nor the Houthis pose any threat to the U.S. or its citizens, but that didn’t keep the FTO designation from speeding ahead as Trump, egged on by his allies in Israel and Saudi Arabia, maneuvered to keep the Biden administration from altering our reckless, aggressive campaign against Iran.

 

No FTO designation has yet been reversed in less than two years.

Millions of Yemen’s children don’t have another two years.

Momentum is building to get the Biden administration to immediately reverse the FTO designation. Jan. 25 has been declared a worldwide day of action to finally stop the Yemen war.

Please contact your representative and Sens. Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson, asking them to end the U.S. role in the vicious, criminal war on Yemen.

 

 


more…

A look at the current US military situation in November 2020

This is a good way to get a sense of how some of the experienced and military veteran people look at the current situation.  To me, it is not accurate to say that what the Trump administration has done is about peace. I find it to be the same old propaganda. Troops get moved around, for example to closer to the Russian border.  That is not bringing the troops home.

Netanyahu and Likud has been helped while Palestinians are undermined and their human rights and property rights ignored. What has been called peace building is mostly just gestures to allow for more weapons sales, meanwhile lobbyists, war hawks and corporate executives with conflicts are in each department.

Will things get better?  As the Zen master says: “we’ll see.”  Either way, it will turn out better if the people step up and show their desires.  We need to help create change, create progress. – Brad


“President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team is full of war hawks and weapons industry shills. Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton speak with US Army veteran Danny Sjursen, who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan before becoming an anti-imperialist activist and journalist, about what a Biden-Harris administration foreign policy would look like.

Sjursen, who previously taught at the United States Military Academy, also discusses how warmongering members of the West Point Mafia dominate the US government and military-industrial complex.” 

Check out the video…

Moderate Rebels: Anti-war US Army veteran warns of hawks in Biden transition team

Skeptical Vet

Danny Sjursen website 


Moderate Rebels is a podcast and video by journalists Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton.
Moderate Rebels website 


“File under stuff you can’t make up:

Sure, Kathleen Hicks runs Biden’s DOD trans-team [Department of Defense transition team]; but she’s also got a pod! “Defense 2020” a CSIS-joint& VP/host Kath opens all episodes thus: “This pod is made possible by contributions from BAE, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Thales…”

– Major Daniel ‘Danny’ Sjursen, retired Major in the US Army and combat veteran, graduate and educator at Westpoint,

The leader of the Pentagon transition team for Biden is part of a think tank that has funding from the top war profiteering corporations:  BAE, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Thales…

Center for Strategic and International Studies has been led by such war hawks as Henry Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Richard L. Armitage, Brent Scowcroft, James L. Jones, William S. Cohen and Harold Brown.  You can try and guess the amount of money these people have collected murdering the innocent and stealing their resources.

Biden’s DOD Transition Team Taps Think Tanks, Cross-Agency Experience – Air Force Magazine

CSIS Kathleen Hicks: Defense, Diplomats, or Dollars: Balancing the National Security Toolkit

Wikipedia: Center for Strategic and International Studies