Saturday 23rd of October 2021

the doctor says...

docdoc

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Russian President Vladimir Putin, during a June 16 summit meeting with President Biden, objected to any role for American forces in Central Asian countries, senior U.S. and Russian officials said, undercutting the U.S. military’s efforts to act against new terrorist dangers after its Afghanistan withdrawal

 

The previously unreported exchange between the U.S. and Russian leaders has complicated the U.S. military’s options for basing drones and other counterterrorism forces in countries bordering landlocked Afghanistan. That challenge has deepened with the collapse over the weekend of the Afghan government and armed forces. 

The exchange also indicates that Moscow is more determined to try to maintain Central Asia as a sphere of influence than to expand cooperation with a new American president over the turmoil in Afghanistan, former and current U.S. officials said.

 

Read more:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/putin-rebuffed-u-s-plans-for-bases-near-afghanistan-at-summit-with-biden-11629398848

 

Meanwhile:

The oldest president in US history gave muddled answers to questions about events in Afghanistan in an interview with ABC this week and messed up details about his son. Some of his blunders were not televised, but they were disclosed when a full transcript of the interview was published the next day.


Following an interview concerning US President Joe Biden's management of the impending Afghanistan situation which received quite a mixed response given the fact that the president confused timelines and facts, questions have been raised about US President Joe Biden's mental health.

And several doctors, quoted by the Daily Mail, have expressed their concerns about how Biden is physically able to withstand such a demanding job.


The aforementioned interview transcript showed, for instance, that the president wrongly indicated that his late son Beau Biden served in the Navy in Afghanistan before correcting himself and stating that he actually served in the Army in Iraq. Moreover, from the version of the interview shown on TV, some bloopers and verbal knots of the president were cut or significantly reduced.

Biden has already had two brain aneurysms and a cardiac ailment that causes dizziness and confusion by forcing the muscle to pulse too quickly. Both illnesses are connected to memory problems and confusion, as well as dementia, according to cardiologist Dr. Aseem Malhotra, who is quoted in the report.

"Certainly there's a link [between the conditions and cognitive decline]," Malhotra, the NHS consultant and expert in evidence-based medicine, said. "But just as a doctor observing him, given his medical history and age, I'm worried about early onset dementia. I would be worried about anyone exhibiting issues with recall and memory at Joe Biden's age."
Another specialist, Dr. Amit Bajaj, an associate professor of speech science at Emerson University in Boston, Massachusetts, reportedly concurred that Biden's rising incidence of gaffes could be due to deteriorating cognitive health as he gets older.

"He has a reputation for gaffes. It’s hard to say if it is interlacing with anticipatory anxiety. I think there are several contributing factors. Part of is the speech. Part of it is cognitively where he might be at because he is old," Bajaj told the outlet. "But the relative influence of any one of them is uncertain. It’s probably a mix of both."

However, in a medical assessment revealed in December 2019, Biden's personal physician, Dr. Kevin O'Connor, stated that he was a "healthy and vigorous" man who was "fit to successfully execute the duties of the Presidency."

And, according to the report, citing Professor James Rowe, dementia and neurodegeneration expert at Cambridge University, Biden's memory lapses are "common" and "do not in themselves indicate a condition, let alone dementia."

"They are especially common when people are busy or tired after a long day, and over 50-years-old," Rowe said.

Rowe noted that many people over 50 are familiar with the "tip of the tongue" problem, "when a name does not come immediately to mind, or momentarily swapping names between people (or pets) close to them."

Biden's Medical History Probably Causing His Gaffes

Biden has established himself a certain reputation via a string of gaffes and blunders since the 78-year-old's successful presidential campaign in 2020. Earlier, he even called himself a "gaffe machine."

In 1988, while campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination, Biden suffered two brain aneurysms. To tackle the life-threatening problem, he underwent surgery. Aneurysms, which are bulging blood vessels that mainly originate in the brain or burst arteries, can cause memory impairments, such as trouble absorbing, retaining, and recalling information, according to scientists.

Biden also has atrial fibrillation, a condition in which the heart beats irregularly or rapidly, which was first diagnosed in 2003.

 

Last but not least, the US oldest president's age may be catching upwith him in terms of an increased risk of dementia. After age 65, the chance of dementia increases every five years, and one in every six persons has it by the age of 80.

 

In the same interview with ABC, Biden caused particular surprise among the public when he said that the US has no troops in Syria, while according to estimates, at least 900 military personnel are present on the territory of the country torn apart by civil war.

In late July, the president forgot one of his reasons for running for president, and early in his term, he once referred to his vice president as "President Kamala Harris."

Since becoming president, Biden has had several mishaps, including falling three times in March while mounting the stairs of Air Force One. Last November, when playing with one of his dogs, he suffered hairline fractures in his foot and had to wear a protective boot for weeks. He also referred to his granddaughter as his late son Beau, who died in 2015 from brain cancer, and confused Syria and Libya at the G7 summit this June.

 

Read more:

https://sputniknews.com/us/202108201083673699-is-biden-fit-to-run-the-us-doctors-worry-his-gaffes-are-signs-of-early-onset-dementia---report/

 

Being an old kook of a certain age, Gus understands how Joe Biden feels, except I am not burdened with running the bleeding world. When I could not take care of things, I sold them to the lowest bidder — to make sure they went away... At this stage I am prepared to say that the anaesthetic used in his cosmetic surgery around the eyes may have affected his brain. Let's hope Joe can remember tomorrow...

 

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the winning side...

Columns of Afghan soldiers in armored vehicles and pickup trucks sped through the desert to reach Iran. Military pilots flew low and fast to the safety of Uzbekistan’s mountains.

Thousands of Afghan security force members managed to make it to other countries over the past few weeks as the Taliban rapidly seized the country. Others managed to negotiate surrenders and went back to their homes — and some kept their weapons and joined the winning side.

They were all part of the sudden atomization of the national security forces that the United States and its allies spent tens of billions of dollars to arm, train and stand against the Taliban, a two-decade effort at institution-building that vanished in just a few days.

But tens of thousands of other Afghan grunts, commandos and spies who fought to the end, despite the talk in Washington that the Afghan forces simply gave up, have been left behind. They are now on the run, hiding and hunted by the Taliban.

“There’s no way out,” said Farid, an Afghan commando, in a text message to an American soldier who fought with him. Farid, who agreed to be identified by his first name only, said he was hiding in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan, trapped after the regular army units surrendered around him. “I am praying to be saved.”

 

READ MORE:

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/19/world/asia/taliban-afghanistan-usa.html

 

 

MEANWHILE:

Likely billions of dollars of American weapons and vehicles are now in the hands of the Taliban extremist group after the collapse of the Afghan government and army, with numerous videos and photos surfacing online showing Taliban members seizing the equipment.

 

https://www.theepochtimes.com/billions-of-dollars-in-us-weapons-aircraft-likely-seized-by-taliban_3956556.html

 

(Note: the Epoch Times is a rightwing media outlet that tells many lies but from time to time tells a truth or two)

 

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not bullying the world...

Whatever Russia/Putin does is not a question of wits or "competition", but of common sense to protect Russia's interest and other people's lives in general — without having to bully the world to submit to flappy ideals... This article from 2015 in The Spectator is telling... yet it misses the point made above.

 

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Saddam Hussein hanged: is Iraq a better place? A safer place? Gaddafi murdered in front of the viewers: is Libya a better place? Now we are demonising Assad. Can we try to draw lessons?

— Sergei Lavrov, Russian foreign minister, United Nations, 1 October

 

Russia was right about Iraq and Libya, and America and Britain were dead wrong. Regime change doesn’t seem to have changed Middle Eastern countries for the better, as Vladimir Putin has been warning for years. His policy is not to support any armed groups ‘that attempt to resolve internal problems through force’ — by which he means rebels, ‘moderate’ or otherwise. In his words, the Kremlin always has ‘a nasty feeling that if such armed groups get support from abroad, the situation can end up deadlocked. We never know the true goals of these “freedom fighters” and we are concerned that the region could descend into chaos.’

Yet after a decade and a half of scolding the West for non-UN-sanctioned military interventions, Putin has now unilaterally committed Russian forces to what the former CIA director General David Petraeus calls the ‘geopolitical Chernobyl’ of Syria. Russia finds itself allied with Syria, Iraq and Iran — a new ‘coalition’ no less, as Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad described it on Iranian state TV last week. How and why did Putin fail to take his own advice about the unintended consequences that breed in middle-eastern quagmires? And most importantly, how has he managed — so far at least — to make Russia’s intervention in Syria into something close to a diplomatic triumph?

Russia’s decisive intervention has left Barack Obama and David Cameron looking weak and confused. When the usually steadfastly patriotic readers of the New York Daily News were asked whether Putin or Obama had ‘the stronger arguments’, 96 per cent said Putin. In Britain even hawks like Sir Max Hastings — no friend of the Kremlin — are arguing that Russia can help beat Isis. And most importantly, Putin stole the show at the United Nations General Assembly last month with an impassioned speech denouncing the whole US-backed project of democracy in the Middle East at its very root.

The Arab Spring has been a catastrophe, Putin argued, and the western countries who encouraged Arab democrats to rise against their corrupt old rulers opened a Pandora’s box of troubles. ‘Instead of the triumph of democracy and progress, we got violence, poverty and social disaster,’ he told assembled delegates, in remarks aimed squarely at the White House. ‘Nobody cares about human rights, including the right to life. I cannot help asking those who have forced this situation, do you realise what you have done?’ It was quite a sight: a Russian president taking the moral high ground against an American president — and getting away with it.

It’s a message that encapsulates Putin’s world-view. Stability and predictability are better than the uncertainties of democracy and revolution — that’s been the Kremlin’s line ever since a wave of ‘colour’ revolutions swept away Putin’s allies across the former Soviet bloc. When the Arab Spring obliterated Russian buddies Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, he had just the same idea. The Assad family — allies that Putin inherited from the days of Leonid Brezhnev — are simply the last of Moscow’s allies left standing in a world turned upside down by people power and its unpredictable consequences. In backing Assad, Putin is pushing back not just against the West and its support for democracy, but against the whole idea of popular revolt against authority.

 

Putin has emerged from his Syria gamble looking decisive because he at least knows who his allies are — and, no less importantly, who his enemies are. The US and UK, on the other hand, are against almost every major group fighting in Syria. The West opposes not just Assad and his allies (in the form of Lebanese Hezbollah forces and Iranian Revolutionary Guards) but almost every one of his opponents, in the form of Islamic State, the al-Qaeda offshoot Jabhat al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham. True, there are a handful of moderate Syrian Sunni opposition groups which have received arms and training from the CIA. In Washington, you still hear fantasies of an ‘apolitical, nonsectarian and highly integrated’ new Syrian opposition army being sent forth to hold territory against both Assad and the jihadis, creating an inclusive government for all. Just this week David Cameron said he wanted Assad out because he would not be accepted by all Syrians. It is as if he still thinks straightforward regime change is possible. That kind of strategy might have sounded good in 2001 — but it’s hard to swallow after the utter collapse of US-trained local forces in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.

In Syria the most effective US-backed, anti-Isis troops on the ground are the Kurdish rebels of the YPG — but the US has been powerless to stop its Nato ally Turkey from bombing the YPG in retaliation for a Kurdish insurgency inside Turkey that has little to do with the Syrian civil war. Nor has the US been able to protect two of the Syrian Sunni opposition groups that it backs from Moscow’s airstrikes — Russian jets have already hit the front-line positions of Tajammu al-Aaza in Talbiseh and Jaish al-Tawhid (part of the Free Syrian Army) on the outskirts of Al-Lataminah. ‘On day one, you can say it was a one-time mistake,’ a senior US official told the Wall Street Journal after an allied rebel group’s headquarters was destroyed. ‘But on day three and day four, there’s no question it’s intentional. They know what they’re hitting.’ Protests by London and Washington have been politely ignored by Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, who speaks of ‘fighting terrorism together’.

 

But it’s precisely because Putin has been proved right about the dangers of intervention that his own adventure in Syria is likely to end badly. For one, it’s a myth that Assad is the main bulwark against Isis in Syria. According to figures from IHS Jane’s, only 6 per cent of the Syrian regime army’s 982 operations last year were actually directed against Isis. Most of Assad’s attacks — including with Scud missiles and the infamous barrel bombs dropped from helicopters on residential areas — targeted groups that opposed Isis, thereby helping pave the way for Isis to take over Raqqa and the oilfields of northern Syria.

And as Nato found out in Libya, air campaigns can produce unpredictable results. Even with hundreds of thousands of boots on the ground, as the coalition had in Iraq, US commander David Petraeus found that ‘you can’t kill or capture your way out of an industrial-strength insurgency’.

The Russian operation in Syria is minuscule compared to the vast bases like Camp Victory that Halliburton built for the US military in Iraq, which looked like major airports and boasted full-scale food courts, shopping malls and acres of air-conditioned accommodation. Reports so far show a shipshape but tiny Russian operation, complete with a field bakery, a portable laundry and a single squadron of aircraft as well as some combat helicopters.

With this relatively small military force, Putin has achieved remarkable diplomatic leverage — and halted any renewed western attempts to depose Assad. But even the Kremlin cannot believe that Russian air power alone can deliver Assad victory. One senior British diplomat in the region expects the Russian airstrikes to be followed up with an Iranian-led ground offensive — possibly led by Iran’s general Qasem Soleimani, who visited Moscow earlier this summer. ‘That puts Russian-backed guys in the field into hostile contact with US-backed guys,’ says the diplomat. ‘That’s what we used to call a proxy war.’

There is also dangerous potential for direct escalation — deliberate or accidental — with Nato too. Russian and Nato planes could be flying in the same skies against different targets with no co-ordinated traffic control. Already a Russian jet has been intercepted by Turkish Air Force F-16s after allegedly violating Turkish (i.e. Nato) airspace. If Cameron calls for airstrikes on Syria — and the body language from Westminster suggests that a parliamentary vote is in prospect — then this should give his MPs pause. Why send the RAF into this mess, and risk entanglement with Russia and a far wider conflagration?

Putin’s intervention has certainly cast Assad a lifeline. Russian TV regularly shows images of happy Syrians watching Putin on the television with rapt attention, or waving Russian flags. But it may end up prolonging the war, since the Russian deployment has put paid to western plans for a no-fly zone to protect civilians in built-up areas. Assad will doubtless now attempt the impossible — recapturing the 80 per cent of Syria that he has lost since the beginning of the insurgency that has cost 220,000 lives so far. So Russia’s intervention may, ironically, end up strengthening the hand of Isis and other Sunni extremists who see Assad’s Alawite sect as apostates, who are now backed not only by Shia Iranians but Russian Orthodox infidels too.

But fundamentally, Putin is much more interested in being seen to project Russian power than in fixing Syria’s war. His aim is to hold up Britain and America as paper tigers whose indecision has created a policy vacuum on Syria, into which Putin has confidently stepped. The Russian operation is small and portable enough for Putin to be able to roll it up in a week — and declare victory if and when the going gets tough. That, as he knows, is more than Britain and America have been able to do in any of our recent wars.

 

Read more:

https://www.spectator.com.au/2015/10/how-putin-outwitted-the-west/

 

Now it's time for the US army to leave Syria as well. It's not needed and it's impeding progress... SO FAR, PUTIN HAS SHOWN RESTRAINT and a single-track precision in diplomacy. This is where he has succeeded against the boots and all of the US hubris.

 

Read from top.

 

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putin wasn't there...

It's a natural chest beating — re the defeat of the US — for the Western media to bring back the disastrous venture of the Soviet Union into Afghanistan... The trap had been set by the CIA, under the supervision of Zbigniew Brzezinski to destroy the Soviet Union, a destruction which was achieved. Point taken. So here comes the interviews with Soviet veterans of this Afghanistan disaster, IN WHICH PUTIN HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH. Until the Soviets retreated from Afghanistan and demolished the Berlin wall, Putin was still at spy playschool. 

 

The history of such debacle did not go over his head. He would have understood the dynamics of human foibles and hopes in "War and Peace" by Leo Tolstoy. In 2000 when he was elected president, he was a young man — unlike the old foggy and the Dumbdumb that have been and are ruling Amerika. Putin was cleverer and still is. 

 

So in order to show some "balance" here is what the Western media sees:

 

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When US and European governments raced to get their citizens and Afghan colleagues out of Kabul this week, Russia was one of very few countries not visibly alarmed by the Taliban takeover.


Russian diplomats described the new men in town as "normal guys" and argued that the capital was safer now than before. President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that the Taliban's takeover was a reality they had to work with.


It is all a far cry from the disastrous nine-year war in Afghanistan that many Russians remember from propping up Kabul's communist government in the 1980s.

 


Warm words for Taliban


Unlike most foreign embassies in the capital, Russia says its diplomatic mission remains open and it's had warm words for the new rulers. Ambassador Dmitry Zhirnov met a Taliban representative within 48 hours of the takeover and said he had seen no evidence of reprisals or violence.
Moscow's UN representative Vassily Nebenzia spoke of a bright future of national reconciliation, with law and order returning to the streets and of "the ending of many years of bloodshed".

 

President Putin's special envoy to Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, even said the Taliban were easier to negotiate with than the old "puppet government" of exiled President Ashraf Ghani.


Moscow has had little time for Mr Ghani: its diplomats claimed this week he had fled with four cars and a helicopter full of cash - accusations he dismissed as lies.

 


Charting Russia's improving ties


Russia is not racing to recognise the Taliban as Afghanistan's rulers, but there has been an apparent softening of rhetoric. State news agency Tass this week replaced the term "terrorist" with "radical" in its reports on the Taliban.


Moscow has been building contacts with the Taliban for some time. Even though the Taliban have been on Russia's list of terrorist and banned organisations since 2003, the group's representatives have been coming to Moscow for talks since 2018.

 

The former Western-backed Afghan government accused Russia's presidential envoy of being an open supporter of the Taliban and of excluding the official government from three years of Moscow talks.


Mr Kabulov denied that and said they were ungrateful. But as far back as 2015 he said Russia's interests coincided with the Taliban when it came to fighting Islamic State (IS) jihadists.


That did not go unnoticed in Washington. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson accused Russia in August 2017 of supplying arms to the Taliban, a remark that Moscow rejected and described as "perplexing".


The foreign ministry in Moscow said it had "asked our American colleagues to provide evidence, but to no avail… we do not provide any support to the Taliban".


In February this year, Mr Kabulov angered the Afghan government by praising the Taliban for fulfilling its side of the Doha agreements "immaculately" while accusing Kabul of sabotaging them.

 


Focus on regional security


Despite its closer ties with the Taliban, Moscow is for now staying pragmatic, watching developments and not removing the group from its terror list just yet. President Putin said he hoped the Taliban would make good on its promises to restore order. "It's important not to allow terrorists to spill into neighbouring countries," he said.


The key factors shaping Russia's policy are regional stability and its own painful history in Afghanistan. It wants secure borders for its Central Asian allies and to prevent the spread of terrorism and drug trafficking.


When the US targeted the Taliban after the 9/11 attacks and set up bases in former Soviet states in the region, Russia initially welcomed the move. But relations soon grew strained.


Earlier this month Russia held military exercises in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, aimed at reassuring Central Asian countries, some of which are military allies of Moscow.


Last month Russia obtained Taliban assurances that any Afghan gains wouldn't threaten its regional allies and that they would continue to fight IS militants.

 


Danger lies on Kabul road to freedom


Russia's bitter memory of war


Russia stresses it has no interest in sending troops to Afghanistan, and it is not hard to see why. It fought a bloody and, many would argue, pointless war there in the latter years of the Soviet Union in the 1980s.

 

What began as a 1979 invasion to prop up a friendly regime lasted nine years and cost the lives of 15,000 Soviet personnel.


It turned the USSR into an international pariah, with many countries boycotting the 1980 Moscow Olympics. It became a massive burden on the crumbling Soviet economy.


While the Soviet Union installed a government in Kabul led by Babrak Karmal, the US, Pakistan, China, Iran and Saudi Arabia supplied money and arms to the mujahideen, who fought the Soviet troops and their Afghan allies.

 

Read more:

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-58265934

 

Yes the US sponsored Bin Laden to do the business... etc... Note that the Taliban is still seen as a terrorist outfit in Russia.

 

See also: 

mining lithium...

 

inshallah...

 

an interview with lazarus — former prime minister...

 

they should be in prison....

 

interpreting history...

 

and 

 

the legacy of bin laden...

 

 

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the former spy says...

 

Intel failure or deliberate ‘bloody nose’ for Biden? Ex-CIA analyst tells RT what went wrong in Afghanistan [?]

 

US military intelligence so severely underestimated the capabilities of Afghanistan’s Taliban that it’s hard to believe it was a mistake at all, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern told RT, likening the snafu to the Vietnam War.  

“What did they expect would happen” when CENTCOM chief General Kenneth McKenzie announced the US was withdrawing all air support for the Afghan army in mid-June, McGovern asked rhetorically in an interview with RT on Friday. Even if civilian intelligence had screamed to the sky that the Taliban was “just going to roll through,” crushing the Afghan army in its wake, the Pentagon would have turned a deaf ear, he added.

 

The catastrophe was a “liminal event” for President Joe Biden, McGovern said, arguing it was as important as 9/11 and expressing concern that the commander-in-chief would get the blame for the 20 years of military failures in the country under the three previous presidents that truly created last weekend’s collapse.

“I’m not so sure that people like McKenzie didn’t want to give Biden a bloody nose by making it possible for such a mess to happen so quickly,” McGovern mused, acknowledging that this was his “conspiratorial view.”

If you look at the chronology, you can see that McKenzie was virtually inviting what happened.

McGovern seemed especially concerned that the Republicans – in particular ex-president Donald Trump – could “capitalize on this because the major media wouldn’t be able to tell the truth about what happened.”

He also worried that the Taliban’s return might spur chatter about Al-Qaeda also coming back to Afghanistan, something he insisted had “no chance” of happening. While the Taliban might have needed “a little help” from Al-Qaeda 15 years ago, they don’t need any now, McGovern explained, describing how the military-industrial complex’s “gravy train” had become self-perpetuating and self-financing over the intervening two decades.

 

Not only were they “building weapons” and “financing lobbyists,” but they “had every incentive to keep this thing going,” he said, adding it’s very much to their discredit that the arrangement continued for a full two decades, paying out generals and impoverishing both American and Afghan citizens.

Channeling a sense of “deja vu,” McGovern likened the thankless task of the civilian intelligence officers charged with delivering intelligence estimates to the generals serving under Biden and his predecessors to his own efforts during the Vietnam War to deliver ‘bad news’ to his superior, Gen. William Westmoreland. Even though the generals were profoundly wrong, he recalled, the intelligence agencies were interested first and foremost with self-preservation, prompting their leaders to suppress technically correct estimates rather than embarrass the military brass.

The Taliban officially reconquered Afghanistan over the weekend, declaring victory and establishing the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan” after 20 years of combat – or rather, a brief period of combat followed by a prolonged interval of “nation-building,” in which Washington attempted to set up a functional puppet government that would carry out its wishes while allowing it to plunder the land for natural resources.

While there were only too many willing candidates to serve as the head of the US vassal state, few if any were trusted by the people, and the $2.2 trillion that inexplicably swirled down the drain over those two decades suggested levels of corruption that were unsustainable even in the most resource-rich country.

The US invaded Afghanistan in the months following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, though none of the individuals believed responsible for those crimes were Afghani in origin. While the Taliban was willing to turn over the attacks’ alleged mastermind Osama bin Laden, they required the US first provide some proof of his culpability, which then-president George W. Bush refused to do, insisting that Washington did not “negotiate with terrorists.”

McGovern co-founded Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity in 2003, in response to the hard neocon turn in US foreign policy that saw the invasion of Afghanistan followed by the attack on Iraq. He had served as a CIA analyst from 1963 until 1990 – receiving the Intelligence Commendation Medal upon his retirement only to return it in 2006 to protest the CIA’s involvement in torture – and remains a vocal opponent of American war crimes.

 

Read more:

https://www.rt.com/news/532660-mcgovern-afghanistan-intel-failure-deliberate/

 

Read from top. See also: MUCH longer for them...

 

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13 years ago...

equanimity .....

 

equanimityequanimity