Posts Tagged ‘Afghanistan’

Douglas Macgregor

Retired U.S. Army Colonel Douglas Macgregor was on TVO’s The Agenda with Steve Paikin on March 1, 2012 and said (starting at 7:58):

Because we’ve had now for 10, 11, almost 12 years, a number of people in positions of high authority who tend to see the world through this lens of unending enemies and dangers to the United States, when in fact the United States has never been safer and more secure in its entire history than it is today.

He’s referring, of course, to the “neocon crazies” that were kept in check under the George H.W. Bush administration and who have run wild since September 11, 2001.

So much, then, for the need to take out the non-existent threat of Iran, which Israel’s former spy agency head admitted wouldn’t have the capability of a nuclear device until 2018, presuming they are feverishly working toward one now, when there is no so evidence whatsoever.

On the failures of U.S. military operations that are kept hidden from the American people (starting at 11:05):

Some of these things have gone south. You simply haven’t heard about them. We don’t discuss failures or near-failures. We don’t talk about operations that we’ve conducted in Afghanistan particularly in 2001 and 2002 that didn’t come off well at all. We were very fortunate in most of these that large numbers of people were not killed.

On the expectation of hearing about such failures after hearing about alleged successes (starting at 11:35);

The danger of publicizing something like the bin Laden raid is that there’s an expectation that you are also gonna publicize your failures — we’re not going to do that. And I was one of those people that didn’t think we should talk at all about the details surrounding the bin Laden raid. We should simply announce that the man is gone and be done with it. I like the British model with the SAS much — SAS much better than the one that we’re pursuing here in the United States.

For more on the bin Laden killing, see my article, The Osama bin Laden killing: where was the kidney dialysis equipment or the DNA results of his kidneys?

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On a visit to Rome this month, at the airport:

  • They immediately stamped my Canadian passport, and I could stay for up to 90 days without a tourist visa
  • No questioning
  • They didn’t mention anything about liquids
  • No full body scan
  • Customs declaration appears to work on the honour system

Returning to Canada through the U.S., at JFK airport:

  • Required to take off my shoes
  • Required to separately x-ray my laptop
  • Required to put 100 mL or less of liquids in a plastic re-sealable bag
  • Questioned for a minute about customs and what my intentions were
  • Passport stamped for connecting flight only

This, despite Canada and the U.S. sharing the longest undefended land border in the world, and being parties to NAFTA, the largest trade union in the world as of 2010, and most Canadians being exempt from US-VISIT fingerprinting and photographing procedures, unlike U.S. green card holders.

Indeed, the U.S. was attacked on 9/11 and Italy and Canada weren’t. However, the disparity in security checks for Canadians at the airport in Italy’s largest city versus the United States is vast.

This, despite Italy having been a member of the Iraq War coalition, all three countries with troops in Afghanistan, and Italy’s longest-serving and current Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, having been the most pro-Bush foreign leader aside from UK prime ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

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North Korea, formally known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, is often referred to in the mass media as “The Hermit Kingdom.” There is much justification for that designation.

It came as a surprise to me that you can actually obtain a tourist visa for North Korea. I first read an article in 2007 about how there are a few Canadians who visit each year on a tourist visa.

That is unlike Saudi Arabia, for instance.¬†From visahq.com, “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia does not issue tourist visas.” There is the irony that you can get a tourist visa to visit an “Axis of Evil” country, as branded by the George W. Bush administration, yet can’t get one to visit a designated ally.

The travel advisories issued by the Canadian government, which has among the best relations with most nations of the world, North Korea has the second-lowest travel risk, with 22 countries having a higher level of risk.

The countries with an “avoid all essential travel” advisory are: Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, East Timor, Eritrea, Iran, Lebanon, Liberia, Madagascar, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, and Pakistan.

The countries with an “avoid all travel” advisory are: Afghanistan, Chad, Guinea, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.

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