NATO has some very flattering things to say about NATO. Surprise?
This post first appeared on Russia Insider
Russia. It's a terrible country full of baseless "claims" about NATO: "NATO bombed this, NATO killed that" - so hurtful and malicious. Luckily for us, a public relations intern has compiled a helpful "NATO fact sheet about NATO" in order to thwart this insensitive Russian smear campaign. Or to use NATO's own words:
Since Russia began its illegal military intervention in Ukraine, Russian officials have accused NATO of a series of provocations, threats and hostile actions stretching back over 25 years. This webpage sets out the facts.
As you already guessed, NATO's webpage of facts about NATO is actually little more than a smorgasbord of twisted logic and transparent bullshit topped off with self-denial sprinkles. Your correspondent has selected his three favorite "facts" for closer examination, and will now report on his findings.
FACT: Don't listen to the haters. Afghanistan's security forces are awesome
Claim: NATO's operation in Afghanistan was a failure
Fact: NATO took over the command of the UN-mandated International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan in 2003.
Under NATO's command, the mission progressively extended throughout Afghanistan, was joined by 22 non-NATO countries and built up from scratch an Afghan National Security Force of more than 350,000 soldiers and police.
Threats to Afghanistan's security continue. However, the Afghan forces are now ready to take full responsibility for security across the country, as agreed with the Afghan authorities.
NATO has agreed to continue providing training, advice and assistance to the Afghan forces, and has planned a mission to do so, "Resolute Support", as of 1 January.
This is terrific news. Given NATO's primary objective in Afghanistan is "to enable the Afghan authorities to provide effective security across the country," its circle-jerk boasting about creating a magnificent fighting force "from scratch" is more than appropriate:
But The New York Times is notoriously anti-war. We need a second opinion, preferably one from the Defense Department's own newspaper, which reported in February that
The authors of an independent, Pentagon-commissioned assessment of the Afghan National Security Forces concluded that current U.S. and NATO plans for the post-2014 ANSF are woefully inadequate to prevent a major deterioration in the Afghanistan security environment.
Pentagon pessimists! But just how "woeful" is the current "security environment" in Afghanistan? In August, an Afghan soldier trained by NATO shot and killed a US Army general. Quite on purpose. This marvel of Afghan security is called an "insider attack," and it happens all the time.
In at least one month in 2012, insider attacks were "the leading killer of American troops," according to CBS. For a more recent example of this security phenomenon: In September, an "an Afghan soldier shot an International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) trainer dead, injuring another trainer and an interpreter."
If you think that the security situation is only woeful for NATO forces training their mutinous Afghan army, think again. Afghan police officers are also frequent targets of insider attacks.
Yes, this is the Afghan National Security Force, "the leading killer of American troops", which NATO is so proud of. Never forget: NATO built this remarkable NATO-killing fighting force "from scratch".
In conclusion, Reuters reported earlier this month that "Afghan forces [are] ill equipped to fight [the] Taliban without NATO."
FACT: Under the Taliban, the Afghan drug trade basically ceased to exist. Under NATO, it has experienced a historic renaissance of poppy-fueled delight. So what?
Claim: The NATO-led mission in Afghanistan failed to stop the Afghan drugs trade
Fact: As with any sovereign country, the primary responsibility for upholding law and order in Afghanistan, including as regards the trade in narcotics, rests with the Afghan government.
The international community is supporting the Afghan government to live up to this responsibility in many ways, including both through the United Nations and through the European Union.
NATO is not a main actor in this area. This role has been agreed with the international community.
Do you know why the Afghan government can't stop the drug trade in its own country? Because the United States considers Afghan's endless fields of poppies a "potential good thing for Afghanistan and the Army." We can't make this shit up. US Army policy dictates that American forces are
not allowed to actually step foot in poppy fields or damage the fields in any way. They can’t even threaten to destroy the fields or send in Afghan troops to burn, plow under or poison the delicate, pastel-colored flowers.
It's even more incredible that NATO claims Afghanistan is a "sovereign nation," and yet the United States forbids Afghan troops from burning poppy fields in their own country. How can NATO chastise the Afghan government about its country's drug trade when it won't allow Afghan troops to combat its country's drug trade?
Meanwhile, the US Army's poppy policy has produced the desired results:
The total area under cultivation was about 224,000 hectares (553,500 acres) in 2014, a seven percent increase on last year, according to the Afghanistan Opium Survey released by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.
The survey said that potential opium production was estimated at 6,400 tonnes in 2014, a rapid increase of 17 percent from 2013, but not as high as the record 7,400 tonnes produced in 2007.
And what becomes of the hundreds of thousands of US-approved hectares of Afghan poppies? Many are transformed into delicious heroin, and then the heroin is sent to Russia.
You're welcome, Russia.
FACT: NATO's 26,500 humanitarian bombing sorties protected Libyans from violence
Claim: NATO's operation over Libya was illegitimate
The NATO-led operation was launched under the authority of two UN Security Council Resolutions (UNSCR), 1970 and 1973, both quoting Chapter VII of the UN Charter, and neither of which was opposed by Russia.
UNSCR 1973 authorized the international community "to take all necessary measures" to "protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack". This is what NATO did, with the political and military support of regional states and members of the Arab League.
After the conflict, NATO cooperated with the UN International Commission of Inquiry on Libya, which found no breach of UNSCR 1973 or international law, concluding instead that "NATO conducted a highly precise campaign with a demonstrable determination to avoid civilian casualties."
It's difficult to know where to begin, but this Reuters report does a fairly good job of clarifying what NATO describes as "protecting civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack":
NATO said on Saturday it had bombed three satellite dishes in Tripoli to stop "terror broadcasts" by Muammar Gaddafi, but Libyan state TV remained on air and condemned what it said was the targeting of journalists.
Yes, NATO bombed a television station and killed three journalists in order to "protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack." That seems reasonable.
Right up until the very end of its glorious humanitarian bombing of Libya, NATO vehemently denied that it had killed a single civilian. This was because
only a death that NATO itself investigated and corroborated could be called confirmed. But because the alliance declined to investigate allegations, its casualty tally by definition could not budge – from zero.
NATO was eventually forced to admit that its magical humanitarian bombs had killed one or maybe two civilians after a New York Times investigation revealed that "NATO warplanes had bombed ambulance crews and civilians who were attempting to aid the wounded injured in earlier strikes." Classy.
It's worth going back and looking at exactly how NATO Secretary-General Rasmussen described his organization's "mandate" in Libya:
What we have decided tonight is to take the responsibility for enforcing the No-Fly Zone with the aim to protect the civilian population, and the mandate doesn't go beyond that, of course we can act in self-defence, but what we will do is to enforce the No-Fly Zone and ensure that we protect the civilian population.
Really? So how does Rasmussen explain this:
Special forces troops from Britain, France, Jordan and Qatar on the ground in Libya have stepped up operations in Tripoli and other cities in recent days to help rebel forces as they conducted their final advance on the Gadhafi regime, a NATO official confirmed to CNN Wednesday.
NATO's war against Libya was a clusterfuck of lies and deceit, so much so that
Human rights organisations have cast doubt on claims of mass rape and other abuses perpetrated by forces loyal to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, which have been widely used to justify Nato's war in Libya.
White lies. Like telling your pregnant wife that she doesn't look fat. We must never forget that NATO's valiant effort has led to "a self-declared government set up by an armed group that seized the Libyan capital in August."
Libya's "official" government and parliament now operate from towns hundreds of miles east of Tripoli.
Epilogue: How can anyone trust anything these assholes say, anyway?
How can we put this delicately? NATO doesn't exactly have the best track record when it comes to "not being entirely full of shit." Strong words, and we intend to defend them.
Exhibit A: If we killed them, they're bad
In September 2012, NATO proudly announced that it had attacked a group of 45 "hostiles" with "precision munitions and direct fire," resulting in the deaths of "a large number of insurgents". This is fancy NATO talk for "dropping a bomb on women collecting wood at night."
Or as CNN explains: "NATO admitted that it had killed Afghan civilians in an airstrike early Sunday morning, hours after saying there was no evidence of civilian deaths."
Exhibit B: Kill pregnant women, dig the bullets out of their dead bodies, and deny everything
In 2010, NATO forces conducted one of its signature "night raids," resulting in the deaths of five civilians, including three women, two of whom were pregnant. And how did NATO handle this sticky situation? You know already:
NATO military officials had suggested that the women were actually stabbed to death — or had died by some other means — hours before the raid, an explanation that implied that family members or others at the home might have killed them.
Survivors of the raid called that explanation a cover-up and insisted that American forces killed the women. Relatives and family friends said the bloody raid followed a party in honor of the birth of a grandson of the owner of the house.
On Sunday night the American-led military command in Kabul issued a statement admitting that “international forces” were responsible for the deaths of the women.
If that's not disgusting enough for you, here's an extra bonus:
“There was evidence of tampering at the scene, walls being washed, bullets dug out of holes in the wall,” the NATO official said, adding that investigators “couldn’t find bullets from the wounds in the body.”
Dig the bullets out of their pregnant corpses, and then blame family members for their deaths. Charming.
By the way, what is the current freedom-status of NATO's blossoming bastions of democracy? Let's consult Transparency International's Corruption Index:
Yes, Libya and Afghanistan are basically tied with North Korea for Most Corrupt Nation on Earth. It's fun to compare the 2014 index with results from 2010 (pre-NATO liberation of Libya). As you will observe, Gaddafi's Evil Arab Jamahiriya was outrageously less corrupt than the NATO-sponsored regime currently clinging to power. As for Afghanistan in 2010: It was the same corrupt, NATO-occupied hellhole that we know and love today.
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