Goodbye Islam: Hello Normalcy: the End of the Religion of Poverty

Eradication of Islam by:

Ali Sina Islam:

The Religion of Poverty

The greatest gift of Islam to its followers is poverty. All Islamic countries with the exception of those that have oil are poor. Amazingly even Iran that is oil rich and before the Islamic regime was a prosperous country, is now a poor third world country. With over 20 billion dollar revenue only from the Oil industry, the per capita income of the Iranians is $1200 annually. Just recently an 18-year-old girl burned herself. She died within a few days. When questioned why, she replied that without her there would be one less mouth to feed in her household and more food for her younger siblings. 20 million Bangalis have immigrated to India in the search of a better life. Bangladesh and Pakistan are languishing in poverty while India is now experiencing an economical boom. As for Afghanistan, let us not even mention it. Some Afghani women are forced to go “grazing”. They go to the mountains looking for a blade of grass to eat and feed their children. All Islamic countries are completely unproductive. Half of the population, i.e. women, virtually is left out of the work force. Those who work waste one month of a year in a quasi-hibernating state during the Ramadan and 5 time obligatory prayers rob the economy millions of valuable man-hours of productivity. Schools instead of teaching real science teach the Islamic non-sense of Fiqh and Shaira and brainwash the youth with mumbo-jumbo of creation, story of Noah and the miracles of Muhammad. If it weren’t for oil all Islamic countries without any exception would be the poorest countries of the world. Millions of Muslims from all Islamic countries to invad the West in the search of better life. Islamic Expansionism One would think that at least those economical refugees who have escaped the hardship of their native land, are mildly aware that the cause of the poverty of their brethrens back home is Islam and they would try to get away from it now that they have escaped from it and have managed to make some fortune in the Kafir land. One would expect that at least they would not slay the goose that lays the golden eggs and would not try to infiltrate Islam in their new homes. Unfortunately Muslims are bereft of that much discernment. When Muslims go to non-Islamic countries and once they overcome their economical hardships they start demanding special privileges to practice and promote their religion. They take advantage of the democracy in their host countries and start building mosques calling their hosts Kafir and strive to eradicate that democracy, and impose the brutal laws of Sharia. In the West, they have started converting the whites and inculcated in them the hate of their own culture to the extent that these new converts harbor the desire to destroy their own churches, loath democracy and capitalism and endeavor to establish the rule of Islam and theocracy of Khalifat world wide. In a Statement laid on the table of the house of Assam (India) Legislative Assembly under item no. 12 dated 6.4.2000 Shri Prafulla Kumar Mahanta the Chief Minister, Assam wrote: “During the recent past, Assam Police has gathered sufficient evidence to prove that the Pakistani intelligence agency ISI has been actively involved in fomenting violence and terrorism in the State. These activities are mainly in the following areas: a. Promoting indiscriminate violence in the State by providing active support to the local militant outfits. b. Creating new militant outfits along ethnic and communal lines by instigating ethnic and religious groups. c. Supply of explosives and sophisticated arms to various terrorist groups. d. Causing sabotage of oil pipelines and other installations, communication lines, railways and roads. e. Promoting fundamentalism and militancy among local Muslim youth by misleading them in the name of ‘jehad’. f. Promoting communal tension between Hindu and Muslim citizens by way of false and highly inflammatory propaganda.” This report goes on giving the details of various activities of the ISI in Assam and how Pakistan is training the Muslims, mostly the Bangali economical immigrants for their terrorist activities in India. The World React to Islam Many Indians justifiably are alarmed of the growth of the number of Muslims in India and fear that this would eventually result in another bloody civil war and further secession of their country. It is unfortunate though, that this threat has forced them to form militant fundamentalist groups to combat the spread of Islam in India. A similar move has already started in England where the Pakistani youth have clashed with the ultra right angry British youth and even police in several occasions with much property damage to the shops and private businesses. The anti Islamic sentiment is also brewing in Italy, France, Denmark and Germany. I cannot say that this fear of Islamic expansionism is unfounded. Islam must be confronted though violence is not the right method. In fact it is quite counterproductive and dangerous. This would make Muslims feel martyred and strengthens their resolve making them go deeper into their ignorance, become fundamentalists with the inevitable escalation of violence and terrorism. The world should know that terrorism for a true Muslim is a religious virtue. Jihad was prescribed by Muhammad (Q.2:216), and killing the non-believers is regarded a service to Allah (Q.4:84). The problem here is not Muslims but Islam. It is Islam that prevents Muslims from mingling with their hosts in amity, and integrate with the culture of the country where they reside. It is Islam that teaches them to separate the world in two quarters of Dar-al Harb and Dar-al Islam. The solution to this problem cannot come from the non-Muslims but from the Muslims themselves. What Feeds Islamic Frenzy? It is a fact that Muslims are encouraged by the news that their number is growing. This is of course a total misrepresentation of the truth because their number is not actually growing by conversion but by procreation. It is true that Muslims are the fastest growing population but they interpret this, as ISLAM being the fastest growing “religion” and they delight even in such an obvious self-deception. In one of my essays called Who Feeds Fundamentalism I quoted an article that reported the case of a woman born and raised in a middle class Muslim family of doctors in Malaysia. She turned a terrorist and a jihadi after reading a book telling the stories of the Western women converting to Islam. Those stories blazed her religious fervor making her conclude that Islam must be a true gem that now the Westerners are discovering it. She started to wear hejab, started throwing dye at women not wearing the Islamic veil, was encouraging her husband to take a second wife, had many brushes with the law for her subversive activities and proudly told the reporter that she wants her sons to grow with gun in their hands. Any news of the success of Islam, make Muslims dig deeper in their fundamentalism and foments their religious zeal transforming them into terrorists, killing and hating machines. It is a fact that Islam is kept alive because Muslims look at each other telling themselves: “not all these people can be wrong”. This is what is called sheep mentality. One sheep jumps; the other jumps too. Even Muhammad was aware of this weakness in human psyche and took full advantage of that. In the early days of Islam he targeted the influential Meccans like Omar and Abu Bakr. Many early Muslim’s faiths were fortified when they learned that these two important personalities have also accepted Islam and it made it easy for others to join. “If important persons like Omar and Abu Bakr have accepted Islam, then it must be true”, they reasoned. Today Muslims use names like Cat Stevens and Dr. Bucaille (who is not even a Muslim) to impress themselves and their victims. They even claim Neil Armstrong is a Muslim, though he himself has categorically denied this rumor. The Other Side of The Coin However, this coin has another side too. Just as the news of the growth of Islam and its alleged successes kindles religious fervor in Muslims, transforming them into zealot fanatics and terrorist zombies, the news of the failure of Islam disheartens and discourages them. Just as the news and even the rumors of the conversion of a great number of people to Islam strengthen the Muslims in their faith, the reverse is also true. Islam, especially in recent years, has had many setbacks, but they have not been publicized. There is a great number of Muslims who leave Islam, most of them among the intellectuals and the crème de la crème of the society. But unfortunately these dissenters are not organized and often do not wish to endanger their lives and their peace of mind by going public. In Islam the punishment of apostasy is death. Thomas Paine and Bertrand Russell would not have lived long if they were Muslims critics. Ahmad Kasravi was murdered brutally and Ali Dashti was jailed at his advance age and died in the prisons of Khomeini. So the field is left open for the Muslims to inseminate their lies about Islam being the fastest growing religion. The truth is that many Muslims are turning against Islam and their numbers is increasing. From a statistic of the Iranians in Scandinavia we learn that 50% of them call themselves atheists or agnostics. 40% say they are Muslims but do not follow Islam. Only 10% consider themselves to be practicing Muslims. This statistic did not take into account those Iranians who already belonged to other religions or those Muslims who converted to other religions after they left Iran. The anti Islamic sentiment in Iran can be detected by conversing with the Jewelers in that country. They say that only 5% of those who buy gold chain necklaces want Islamic emblems like Allah, Muhammad and Ali carved in their necklace. 95% now ask for Iranian emblems like the edict of Cyrus on human rights, the Hakhamanish soldiers, Persepolis and other Iranian national icons. 23 years ago this percentage was completely the other way round. Today the government pays people to go to the Mosques. Some go because they are in dire poverty and need the money and the food that is served there, but still the mosques are empty. The dislike of Islam among Iranians is evident from the fact that now they prefer traditional Iranian names for their newborns. Just 5% of them choose Islamic (Arab) names. In earlier generations this percentage was over 80%. Iran has traditionally played a decisive role for Islam. It provided it with its philosophy. Most of Islamic philosophers are Iranians. Sufism is an Iranian invention, and even the founders of the 4 Sunni schools of thoughts were Iranians. Without the Iranian input Islam would be a primitive cult. Islam owes its greatness, architecture philosophy and culture to Iranian luminaries. The Islamic revolution of Iran gave a boost to Islam and Islamic fundamentalism in the entire world. The Ebbing of The Tide Today, however, the fortunes of Islam are ebbing. Islam is hated in Iran, especially among the generation born and raised after Islamic Revolution. Iran is pregnant with history-making events. Ere long the Iranian younger generation is going to rebel and Islam will suffer its biggest setback ever. It is enough to visit any Iranian forum on the Internet to see the level of hate that the Iranians feel for Islam. The Iranian students inside the country feel the same way, though they are unable to vent their anger now. As soon as this atmosphere of terror is lifted all that anger will come to the surface and Islam will die in Iran with the same swiftness and perhaps violence that it was imposed 1400 years ago. As Iranians start attacking Islam openly and blame it for all that went wrong in their country it will have a domino effect in all Islamic world. The immediate outcome of the fall of Islam in Iran is that the Islamist terrorist groups in Lebanon, Palestine, Pakistan, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and other countries will have their financial supply cut off. This in itself will hamper their activates and dampens their fervor. But the biggest blow on Islam would be psychological. Throughout the centuries, Iran has been a major player in the Middle East and it has always set the standard. After the demise of Islam in Iran, Muslims in the neighboring countries would feel disheartened and their faith will weaken. Other Fundamentalists Attack of Hindus or Christians on Islam makes Muslims defensive. I was amazed when a freethinking friend of mine who constantly writes against Islam retorted when a Christian Reverend of an evangelical church posted his criticism of Islam in our freethinkers forum. Of course this good friend of mine is himself critical of Islam but instinctively he felt that he had to respond to this other Christian fundamentalist by defending Islam. If an atheist like my own friend is moved to defend a religion that he loathes when it is attacked by another non-Muslim fundamentalist, then it is not unreasonable to believe that the opposition of the Hindu and Christian fundamentalists of Islam is counterproductive. Islam can be eradicated only from within. It seems that Muhammad was very much aware of this and that is why he was so unforgiving towards the dissenters. If the ex-Muslim freethinkers get organized and attack Islam systematically we will have much more success than if Islam is attacked from outside by other equally fallacious groups whose own curriculum vitae is marred with the same sins they accuse Islam of. These other groups lack credibility. They are guilty of the same faults that Muslims are. But we, as freethinkers do not subscribe to any ideology. We can be theists, atheists or agnostics and still disbelieve in Islam. Unlike the members of other religions we have no hidden skeletons in our closets to fear a counter attack. Islam can, and it has survived the attacks of other religions, but it cannot and will not survive the attack from its own renegades. Just as Christianity, Judaism and Hinduism are waning not because of the onslaughts of other religions but because of the rebellion of their own freethinkers, Islam will not be weakened by the attacks of fundamentalist groups of other religions but by the criticism of its own freethinkers. We should also be aware that fundamentalism in one religion encourages the rise of fundamentalism in other religions. This is a vicious circle. The formation of Hindu and Christian fundamentalist groups does not only not reduce the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, but it actually throws gasoline on their fire. This will only hardens the Islamist fanatics and strengthens their resolve. It creates an atmosphere of competition among the fundamentalists of all the religions. In this mindless race the winner is the loser. This is the race of ignorance. The runners are heading towards the precipice and an Armageddon is awaiting them at the end of the lane. The best thing non-Muslims can do to stop the Islamic fundamentalism, is to stop fundamentalism in their own religions. The End Is Nigh I know many of you are pessimistic about it but I foresee the end of Islam at sight. I am not concerned of the ignorant mass of Muslims. The intellectuals of Islam are turning against it and it is the intellectuals that chart the course of the history not the ignorant mass. A billion ignorant Muslims can do nothing to stop the momentum that a few of their enlightened intellectuals who have turned against Islam can generate. They eventually will have to give in and follow their intellectuals or they will be annihilated under the pressure of poverty like Afghanistan and Iran. Many Muslim intellectuals feel that they have hit the bottom and even though they still are unable to cut their umbilical cord from Islam, they admit that Islam cannot bring prosperity, democracy and peace and they openly call for the separation of Mosque from State. This admission that Islam has failed, at least in political front, is a great step forward. Whether these people are aware or not, they are tacitly acknowledging that Islam is a failed paradigm; because Islam unlike Christianity, Hinduism or Buddhism is a religion that seeks power and pretends to be the religion of the state. Islam becomes meaningless once it is reduced into a mere set of moral codes. Islam has very few moral codes. The essence of Islam is to fight and promote the religion of Allah until it becomes the sole religion of mankind. (Q.3: 85), (Q.2: 193) Without this expansionist drive, Islam will wither and die. The whole message of Islam is not: to do good, be kind, loving and honest, but to “believe” and make others believe in Allah and his messenger. In Islam the words “righteousness” and “virtue” do not mean the same as defined in dictionaries. They mean belief in Allah and obedience to his prophet. Unlike other religions, Islam is not a religion of individual salvation but of the state domination. Secularism in Islamic countries does not work. Turkey became a secular country in 1912 but now the fundamentalists are fighting hard to regain the power and convert that country once again into an Islamic state. Reza shah in Iran imposed secularism and tried to modernize that country. 50 years later the fundamentalists came back with revenge and reversed the cloak 1400 years. Muhammad Ali Jinah aspired a secular Pakistan but that country is now caught in the claws of the fundamentalists digging deeper and deeper in ignorance. Islam cannot survive without power. The separation of the state and religion in Islam does not work. If Islamic countries desire secularism, freedom and democracy, they have to get rid of Islam altogether. They have to decide between democracy and Islam. Just as you cannot house the sheep and the wolves in the same fold, you cannot have democracy and Islam in the same country. Today, we can make history. For the first time the dissenters of Islam are reuniting and are getting organized. Our number is growing rapidly. There is not a day that I do not receive an email from someone who claims having left Islam. Many of them are Iranians. This is despite the fact that I don’t know much about search engines and my sites (www.humanists.net/alisina) does not show in many of them. I notice that there is a great anti-Islamic momentum building up especially among the ex-Muslims. Christianity vs. Islam There is a fundamental difference between Muslims leaving Islam and the Christians leaving their religion. Most born and raised Christians when leave Christianity, become critical of the Church and the Bible but still respect Christ. In fact Christ as described in the New Testament is a loving person. Many Christians also cannot get rid of Christianity because their god is the god of love. At least this is what they are being told and this is the idea they have of their god. Muslims on the other hand believe in Allah through fear. The god of Muhammad is not a loving god but a dreadful and an unforgiving god of vengeance (Q.4:48). When Muslims learn the fallacies of Islam and discover the real face of Muhammad, they hate that religion and despise its founder. Therefore although the Christianity in the West, in the last two centuries, has been in demise it has managed to survive and perhaps it will survive for another two or three centuries. Christianity still has spiritual lessons to give. It can still be a source of guidance and inspiration to its followers. Christianity as taught and lived by Christ is a moral religion. Christianity may be logically wrong but ethically it is not. A few letters written by Paul are discriminatory towards women. But that can be easily overlooked when one pays attention to the overall message of love and tolerance taught by Jesus. None of that can be said about Islam. Quran is replete with intolerance, violence, discrimination and hate. We could have overlooked the logical absurdity of Islam’s holy book but how can we fail to see its intolerance and its message of hate? Moreover the person of Jesus as is reported in the Bible, is sanctified from any blemish. Muhammad on the other hand was a violent man. He was a lustful, pervert, ruthless, arrogant and a maniac mass murder. A man who wishes to emulate Muhammad in this day and age is a man that should be locked in jail. Those who follow truly the example of the Prophet of Islam are terrorists. They are dangers to society. One can be a good Christian and still be a good person. But one CANNOT be a good Muslim, follow all those hate mongering teachings of Muhammad, and be a good human being at the same time. To compare Islam with Christianity and assume that since Christianity has survived the attacks from its dissenters and enlightened freethinkers, Islam would do the same is a mistake. This is like comparing apples to oranges. The only thing that Islam and Christianity have in common is that both are called religion. But the similarity ends there. To understand the difference between Muhammad and Jesus is enough to compare how they reacted to two very similar incidents. John 8:3-7 ”The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman who had been caught committing adultery, and they made her stand before them all, “Teacher.” They said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. In our law Moses commanded that such a woman must be stoned to death, Now what do you say?” They said this to trap Jesus, so that they could accuse him. But he bent over and wrote on the ground with his finger. As they stood there asking him questions, he strengthened himself up and said to them, “Whichever one of you has committed no sin may throw the first stone at her.” Then he bent over again and wrote on the ground. When they heard this, they all left, one by one, the older ones first. Jesus was left alone with the woman standing there. He straightened himself up and said to her, “Where are they? Is there no one left to condemn you?” “No Sir” she answered. “Well, then.” Jesus said, “I do not condemn you either. Go but do not sin again.” Volume 2, Book 23, Number 413: Narrated ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar : The Jew brought to the Prophet a man and a woman from amongst them who have committed (adultery) illegal sexual intercourse. He ordered both of them to be stoned (to death), near the place of offering the funeral prayers beside the mosque.” Now let us compare the teachings of Christ with those of Muhammad: Luke 5:27 “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who ill-treat you. Q. 9: 23 “O ye who believe! take not for protectors your fathers and your brothers if they love Infidelity above Faith: if any of you do so, they do wrong”. Q. 3:28, Let not the believers Take for friends or helpers Unbelievers rather than believers: if any do that, in nothing will there be help from Allah Luke 5:37 “Do not judge others, and God will not judge you; do not condemn others and God will not condemn you; forgive others, and God will forgive you. Give to others and God will give to you Q. 9:29, Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued. It is clear why Muslim dissidents hate intensely Muhammad and his fictitious Allah. It is because the essence of the massage of Jesus is love, but the essence of Islam is hate. That is why the Christianity, despite its illogicality has survived the age of enlightenment and has been able to adapt itself, somehow, to the changing world. But Islam would not survive the light of reason and will die a quick death. Christianity is illogical but it elevates the human spirit. Islam is hodgepodge of gibberish too, but provokes terror, advocates strife, calls for blood and foments hate. it sinks the human spirit and brings out the worst of the animal instinct of its followers. Once Islam is proven false, there is nothing else left for its followers to cling to. The only thing that keeps Muslims clinging to it is fear. Once the light of knowledge dissipate the darkness of ignorance and the fear of this revengeful monster called Allah is vanished. Islam will die a quick death. I can give this assurance that Islam will not see the next century and even go as far as to say we may see its death in our own lifetime. You may call this a wishful thinking, but I call it a guts feeling. The Oil Factor It is in fact more than just a guts feeling. In 25 years the oil reserve of the Islamic countries will finish. The world may also find an alternative source of energy This research is already on the way and indeed this alternative source is in operation. Many busses in Canada are powered by Fuel Cell Power Generators. It is absolutely feasible to have our cars, our houses, our cities and our factories powered by this new technology, which is much more cleaner and environmentally friendlier than carbon based fuels within a decade or two. The implication of this new technology for oil dependent Muslim countries are disastrous. Islamic countries are not productive. They lack technology and they suffer from brain drain. Today a lot of Islamic terrorism and expansionism are financed by oil rich countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia. When the oil wells dry out or another source of energy make them superfluous, the life blood of Islamic expansionism/terrorism will also come to an end. The Mighty Internet Another important factor is the Internet. The internet has been a great tool of communication in the West, but for Islamic countries it is revolutionary. People in the West could easily communicate among each other and exchange ideas freely even before the advent of the Internet. But for Muslims especially in Islamic countries the Internet provides for the first time, a medium to exchange thoughts candidly and without the fear of the consequences. Islam is a religion that is founded on ignorance and fear. When people can openly exchange thoughts, the ignorance will be dissipated. The safety of the Internet also shelters them against fear. when Muslims start talking to each other, they will learn about the real Islam, the Islam that was taught in Quran and lived by Muhammad. This would shock them. Up until now they blamed the Mullahs for misinterpreting and misrepresenting the “pure” teachings of Islam and not being the legitimate representatives of the “real Islam”. They had created a romantic idea of Islam in their minds that was not real. But Internet will demolish that romantic idea and the true Islam will be know to everyone. It is true that faith blinds and many Muslims would not be shaken even if it is proven to them that Muhammad was an assassin, a rapist, a thief, a ruthless mass murderer, a pedophile or a highway robber. The light will startle those who have eyes. No amount of light will ever affect those who have no eyes to see. I have had many debates with Muslims who after having received the irrefutable proof that Muhammad was all the above and more, have said that they don’t care who Muhammad was and his person is absolutely unimportant to them. They claim what really matters is the Quran and not the messenger. Of course this response would have been a legitimate response had Allah written his book with his own hand, signed and sealed it and Muhammad was nothing but a mailman. In this case the Prophet’s character would have been insubstantial. But as it is, no one can vouch for Muhammad. Therefore his character is very important. What if he lied? Can we really trust a man who is deprived of human qualities? Can we trust the words of a man who has demonstrated lack of moral values, who has not been able to control his sexual and animalistic instincts? How can we believe a person who has acted like a mafia godfather sending his gangsters to terror his enemies? How can we believe in one who has broken all moral and ethical codes by initiating war in holy months, desecrating holy places, murdering cold bloodedly this prisoners of war, raping his war captives, enslaving free people and trading them, and sleeping with a 9 year old child at the age of 54? Could really God choose a man of such low moral fiber to be his messenger among the people? All these questions were never discussed among the Muslims. How could they? Muhammad created such an atmosphere of terror that any whisper of doubt was dealt with mercilessly. But now Muslims can talk about these issues. They can question what was taboo. They can even criticize and reject Islam and live to see the next day. This is new! The Internet has provided a unique opportunity for the Muslims that was unthinkable since the inception of Islam and that is to question it. But Islam has no answers. Islam’s answers to criticism has been imprisonment, and execution. In Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan you can even lose your life if you are found with a Bible, let alone books that are critical of Islam. How Muslims could have found the truth is such an atmosphere of mind control and terror? The Internet is going to make a revolution. This would be the revolution of minds. Muslim countries cannot prevent their subjects from using the Internet. As the Internet make its way in the homes of the Muslims, Islam will be weakened and eventually will die out. That is why I am confident that many of us, would see the end of Islam in our own life time. This is not a dream nor wishful thinking. No matter how dark is the night, it cannot stand the light of the day. No matter how dense the ignorance, it cannot survive the shattering impact of knowledge. For 1400 years ignorance was safeguarded by Mullahs. Today the Mullahs are powerless. They no more can control the minds. One enlightened mind is more powerful than a billion ignorant ones. Aug. 2001 TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs KEYWORDS: islam Navigation: use the links below to view more comments. first 1-50, 51-77 next last This is quite an amazing website. There are many articles, letters, and debates. Go check it out and send thanks to this very brave person. I’d like to thank the Freeper who provided a link to this site a few days ago. I apologize if someone has posted this before. I don’t have a good record when it comes to posting unseen articles.

Afghanistan: Slave Nation

They believe in a religion that is grounded in the 13th century.
If someone insults the pope, he doesn’t send people out to kill you.
If you insult a Rabbi he doesn’t send people out to blow you up.
These people do.
Their beliefs haven’t evolved like Christianity and Judaism.
Those two are thousands of years old.
Islam is 700 years old.
A guy, usually a minority, gets drawn into or is a member of the community of Islam and typically is doing okay in America, then he has marital problems, and financial problems.
He gets depressed and wants to die, and rather than die a loser, he can die as a hero.
They convince themselves that they are acting as weapons of Islam.
We kill some Muslims in Afghanistan and they try to kill some of us.
Sometimes they use this as an excuse for their own failures .
Sometimes their frame of mind is, “They killed a hundred of us, in this or that village so we are going to kill a hundred of them.”
We need to fight these Jihadi with power and vigor.
We have to be honest with each other, Islam, or at least a significant portion of it, has declared those who don’t follow their religion to be the enemy.
They don’t wish to be brought into the 21st Century, they think the 13th century was better.
They see influence with their atavistic religion as blasphemy.
Their beliefs codify oppression of Jews and Christians, and returning woman to the “good old days”, when one could beat and rape his wife, and she was a slave.
That’s the bottom line.
As you can plainly see in Afghanistan and Gaza, when this portion of Islam gains power they are brutal to the extreme.
To me, however, the most obvious crimes of these Islamic  Republican Governments or regimes is their treatment of women.
The religion is primitive
We have to fight them, but I do think one idea might help a little.
We should change our role in Afghanistan to where we are bombing less and causing less casualties.
We should, the civilized world, tell the Muslim countries that are brutalizing and enslaving women, that this is a crime, and we are not  going to tolerate it.
The burka is not a fashion statement, it is a sign if inferiority, a sign of submission.
In Afghanistan women are forced to wear burkas that cover them head to foot, with a small gauze outlet, so that a man can’t get a good look at her eyes and be tempted to rape her.
Their have been women in Islamic countries that have been sentenced to be publicly whipped, after reporting a rape.
Because Islamic judges determined that the women in question seduced the rapist by, perhaps a glimpse of hair, or not having the gauze over her eyes, or dancing.
Some people have said to me, “Well, that’s their custom, it’s not up to us to make them change their customs.”
If their customs allow them to brutalize woman and girls, and basically prevent a female from having any opportunities in life other than having babies on demand, and their customs allow men to beat women for whatever reason,
We have every right in the world to interfere.
We have the duty to interfere.
Women’s groups in Afghanistan have ask for protection, what the military calls security.
There are stories of barbarians overpowering civilizations because the civilized countries didn’t realize the nature of the threat from the barbarians.
They attack us in Gaza and from Gaza, and the world hears about the  “quaint Arab chieftains” of Hamas suffering under our oppression.
One important factor in our thinking should be a consideration of what the impact of casualties will be over time.
A certain amount of innocent people will be killed in any type of warfare, what is the impact of that going to be?
Imagine you are sitting at home, you haven’t done anything harmful, and suddenly a missile crashes through your roof and wipes out half your family.
Then you walk up and down the street, and your neighbors homes have been bombed too.
People are killed and crippled all around you.
Then imagine the military shows up and says, “Well, we were after so and so, and to get to him we had to soften up this area. Sorry. It’s for a good cause.”
Or, “We shelled your house by mistake.”
I’m just wondering, will we be creating as many terrorists as we kill?
I’m just wondering what the ratio would be, 10 terrorists for every innocent person we shell?
Less or more?
Afghanistan is asymmetrical warfare, we are not going to conquer the Radical Islamicists in the usual sense of the word.
What we may need to do in Afghanistan is change the focus of the mission from killing Taliban members to protecting the people of Afghanistan.
Afghanistan women’s groups have asked for security, for protection of the schools where girls are learning, for the first time in their lives, many of them.
They have been told that we can’t afford it, or in the words of one Congressman, “We expect you to take care of that yourselves.”
If we were dealing directly with women’s rights, at least the women of Afghanistan would support us.
Slavery is wrong, whether the slave is black or white or male or female.
The literal enslavement of women in Afghanistan  is a horror that goes unremarked upon for the most part.
I saw an interview with an Afghanistani woman recently, she had 8 kids, she didn’t want anymore, but her husband did.
She was asked, “Who will make the decision?”
She pointed to her husband and said, “He does. We have no choice.”
The  reporter, a woman, asked, “Do you know what rape is?”
The woman’s eyes grew large, and she looked uncomprehending, “No.” she answered, quietly.
This abuse of human beings should be stopped.
That should be the focus of our efforts in Afghanistan.

Obama Orders Up Contingency Plans to Derail Iran Nukes

CNN and other sources are reporting that President Obama has ordered the military and intelligence agencies to update contingency planning for a military option against Iran, should their leaders continue to refuse cooperation with world leaders calling on them to allow inspections and cease development of Nuclear Weapons.

The effort has been underway for several weeks and comes as there is growing concern across the administration’s national security team that the president needs fresh options ready for his approval if he were to decide on a military strike, according to the official who is familiar with the effort.

Meanwhile, like Saddam Hussein, before his denoument, Ahmadinejad  is blustering and threatening civilized nations “”Iran’s army is so mighty today that no enemy can have a foul thought of invading Iran’s territory,” the Iranian leader said in a speech, according to state media.

There have been growing signs of Iranian efforts to militarily protect their nuclear sites. The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency notes that last year Iran established a separate air defense force, with the stated intention of defending nuclear sites with missiles and air defense radars.

Nancy Grace, Judge, Jury, Executioner

The body of a child was found in a duffel bag, Correy Byrd, the boyfriend of the mother, was babysitting the child when he disappeared.
On tonights show, talking about the mother, the word “mother” dripping with sarcasm, and if the audience didn’t catch it, Grace said, and “And I use the term ‘Mother” very loosely in this case.”
The mother works all day at low wages. As a reporter commented, “I have been to her house, she is a good mother.”
This sent Grace into an angry tirade against the mother for dating a man with a criminal record.

This is typical of Grace.
A case is unfolding, and it does appear that the boyfriend had some involvement in the child’s death.
The mother is obviously distraught, she is poor, and black, but she obviously is in deep pain.
That is not enough for Grace however, Grace feels the need to completely smear and assassinate the mother’s character.

Nancy Grace once drove a young, female suspect in a child’s disappearance to commit suicide.

The mother in this case is a victim.
But to Grace she is evil incarnate.

To me, Nancy Grace is evil incarnate.

Global Apartheid

This article appeared in the July 9, 2001 edition of The Nation.

In mid-April, worldwide protests forced an international cartel of pharmaceutical giants to withdraw a lawsuit against the South African government. The suit–an effort by “Big Pharma” to protect its enormous profits–sought to block implementation of a 1997 South African law that would make it easier to acquire lifesaving medicines for more than 4 million South Africans living with HIV/AIDS. Like the proponents of apartheid before them, these companies acted to maintain the rules of a system that denies the value of black lives in favor of minority privilege. The result in Africa has been murder by patent.

The global pattern of AIDS deaths–2.4 million in sub-Saharan Africa last year, out of 3 million worldwide; only 20,000 in North America but most in minority communities–also evokes the racial order of the old South Africa. To date, access to lifesaving medicines and care for people living with HIV and AIDS have been largely determined by race, class, gender and geography. AIDS thus points to more fundamental global inequalities than those involving a single disease, illuminating centuries-old patterns of injustice. Indeed, today’s international political economy–in which undemocratic institutions systematically generate economic inequality–should be described as “global apartheid.”

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Are feminists in love with the surge?

In Afghanistan, the Taliban nailed a 70-year-old woman to a tree for allegedly talking with the enemy.

Human rights violations widespread across Afghanistan
Human rights violations are widespread across Afghanistan

The struggle for women’s rights in Afghanistan is a struggle for Human Rights.
Please check out this site for further information and videos on Afghan Women who are heroically waging this battle.   Michael
Earlier this week, Dana Goldstein, writing for the Daily Beast, explored “the left’s latest divide,” pitting feminists and nation-builders against antiwar sentiment. But where does this leave Afghan women?
Goldstein bases a large portion of her piece around the argument of women’s rights activists who explain that leaving Afghan women is not part of the deal. Using Obama’s Afghanistan strategy speech as a springboard, organizations like the Feminist Majority Foundation are raising their voices in support for continued engagement in the country for the benefit of women. Not everyone is an enthusiastic about our prospects. Goldstein explains:
Other progressives, though, say the women’s rights activists are naïve, and have failed to grapple with the fact that feminism was never more than a rhetorical ploy in debates about the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan, whose real goal has always been to root out al Qaeda. They also point to the occupation’s high cost in dollar terms, as well as the American public’s limited tolerance for foreign wars. A recent Pew poll found that isolationist sentiment is at a four-decade high.
Even if the administration was willing to commit to a nation-building project in Afghanistan, it would be with an Afghan partner whose own record on women’s issues is mixed at best. Though President Hamid Karzai recently signed the new Law on Elimination of Violence Against Women-which ups the penalties for rape, domestic violence, and child marriage-he also supported, earlier this year, the Shia Family Law, which subjected women in the Shia minority group to a number of discriminatory laws, including rules regarding when they can and cannot leave home unaccompanied by a man. Karzai has also made political alliances with warlords who hold regressive opinions on women’s rights.
There is good reason to be worried about women. According to the Human Rights Watch:
Eight years after the Taliban were ousted from power, rapists are often protected from prosecution, women can still be arrested for running away from home, and girls have far less access to schools than boys, the report says.
With the insurgency strengthening in the south and making inroads into the north, the few gains made for women’s rights since the US-led invasion of 2001 could be further eroded if Hamid Karzai’s government and the international community push for peace talks with factions of the fundamentalist movement.
Elenor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority Foundation, and Helen Cho, a board member for the Feminist Majority foundation, co-penned a piece in the Huffington Post, arguing that securing women’s rights would call for a lot more investment in the region.
[M]ake no mistake. Afghanistan is in terrible shape. The Taliban have gradually returned. Nothing is as it should be, which is why we are asking for no less than a Marshall Plan to rebuild Afghanistan, the same way we did for Germany and Japan after World War II. Afghanistan’s water, sewage, electrical, and their once proud hospital systems have been all but destroyed by 30 years of war. We bombed it. We have an obligation to rebuild it.
Though we’d prefer that all U.S. funding be spent on development aid, we cannot in good conscience advocate the immediate military pullout that some are suggesting. The 2009 UN Humanitarian Action Plan noted that in 2008, “Approximately 40% of the country, including much of the South, remains inaccessible for most humanitarian organizations.” Last year, 92 aid workers were abducted and 36 were killed, double the number from 2007. In recent public opinion polls, Afghans put security in their top three concerns right after food. Without stabilizing the country, there can be no significant redevelopment effort.
In March, President Obama announced a significant change in the Afghanistan/Pakistan strategy. He shifted the focus from Iraq to this troubled region not a moment too soon. The Taliban had taken over the Swat Valley in Pakistan and were within 100 miles of its capital. In case anyone was wondering if the Taliban had changed its ways, they promptly closed girls’ schools, began flogging young women publicly, and committed other atrocities. In Afghanistan, the Taliban nailed a 70-year-old woman to a tree for allegedly talking with the enemy.
The new administration’s strategy recognizes the need for development and reconstruction. The military appears to be changing its priorities, announcing that protection of civilians is their first priority. Virtually everyone knows that a military solution alone won’t work. Yet, we cannot ignore that security and the Taliban are among Afghans’ top concerns.
Linda Bereystein, investigative journalist, points to a different perspective on her blog.
Westerners usually frame the debate over U.S./NATO policy in Afghanistan is usually framed as a choice between handing the country back to the Taliban or propping up the Karzai regime. The latter is assumed to be a dramatically better option for women’s rights.
Karzai pays lip service to women’s rights, but jettisons them whenever they need to make a compromise to stay in power. It should be noted that the Karzai government was responsible for the infamous Shia Family Law which legalized marital rape within Shia marriages.
Last month, Malalai Joya, a former member of the Afghan parliament, told Michelle Goldberg of the Daily Beast that the situation for Afghan women is every bit as bad under Karzai as it was under the Taliban. Joya is also concerned that civilian casualties are fueling popular support for the Taliban.
RAWA and its grassroots allies think that pro-democracy forces could transform the country on their own without U.S. military occupation. That’s a point of view we seldom hear in U.S. media.
I don’t know how realistic it is to think that pro-democracy forces could prevail against warlords and the Taliban, but the question hasn’t gotten nearly as much attention as the issue of whether the U.S. could force reform at gunpoint. Maybe RAWA and its allies would have a better shot at power if the occupation wasn’t shoveling billions of dollars to the most reactionary elements in society.
Over on GritTV, a woman known as Zoya, representing RAWA, outlines many of the issues with our current strategy in Afghanistan. After 30 years of war, Zoya discusses how the US occupation is still undermining Afghanistan, by propping up some terrorist groups to pursue others. After regretfully admitting the most realistic options for many women if Afghanistan were either leaving the country or suicide, Zoya explains why she was motivated to join RAWA and describes how Afghanistan needs a resolution.
Zoya:
These videos that your are showing about the rape and domestic violence against women, [is happening] under the domination of the United States. It’s a time when thousands of troops are present. It’s a time that [troops and groups from] more than 40 foreign countries are inside the country. […]These things are [still] happening daily. This is the proof that America cannot do anything. The only solution – that RAWA was always saying – is that domestic violence [always depends] on political situations. It very much depends and relates to that. So as long as we don’t have a democratic government, who cares for women’s rights, how can we expect rights and the liberation of women?
Zoya explains that there are other alternatives to occupation, like helping to disarm the various factions that are fighting for dominance. She challenges Americans to rise up and tell the government to stop supporting warlords and criminals. She believes this is the best way to help, saying:
If you cannot to help us, leave us. But if you want to help us, the first help is to remove all these fundamentalist, these viruses that the United States government created for Afghanistan.
Send an email to Latoya, the author of this post, at latoya@racialicious.com.

President Obama: How He Came To Decision On Afghanistan

This is a fascinating analysis of President Obama’s thinking regarding the War in Afghanistan.

MB

President Obama paying respects to fallen soldiers

By PETER BAKER

WASHINGTON — On the afternoon he held the eighth meeting of his Afghanistan review, President Obama arrived in the White House Situation Room ruminating about war. He had come from Arlington National Cemetery, where he had wandered among the chalky white tombstones of those who had fallen in the rugged mountains of Central Asia.
How much their sacrifice weighed on him that Veterans Day last month, he did not say. But his advisers say he was haunted by the human toll as he wrestled with what to do about the eight-year-old war. Just a month earlier, he had mentioned to them his visits to wounded soldiers at the Army hospital in Washington. “I don’t want to be going to Walter Reed for another eight years,” he said then.
The economic cost was troubling him as well after he received a private budget memo estimating that an expanded presence would cost $1 trillion over 10 years, roughly the same as his health care plan.
Now as his top military adviser ran through a slide show of options, Mr. Obama expressed frustration. He held up a chart showing how reinforcements would flow into Afghanistan over 18 months and eventually begin to pull out, a bell curve that meant American forces would be there for years to come.
“I want this pushed to the left,” he told advisers, pointing to the bell curve. In other words, the troops should be in sooner, then out sooner.
When the history of the Obama presidency is written, that day with the chart may prove to be a turning point, the moment a young commander in chief set in motion a high-stakes gamble to turn around a losing war. By moving the bell curve to the left, Mr. Obama decided to send 30,000 troops mostly in the next six months and then begin pulling them out a year after that, betting that a quick jolt of extra forces could knock the enemy back on its heels enough for the Afghans to take over the fight.
The three-month review that led to the escalate-then-exit strategy is a case study in decision making in the Obama White House — intense, methodical, rigorous, earnest and at times deeply frustrating for nearly all involved. It was a virtual seminar in Afghanistan and Pakistan, led by a president described by one participant as something “between a college professor and a gentle cross-examiner.”
Mr. Obama peppered advisers with questions and showed an insatiable demand for information, taxing analysts who prepared three dozen intelligence reports for him and Pentagon staff members who churned out thousands of pages of documents.
This account of how the president reached his decision is based on dozens of interviews with participants as well as a review of notes some of them took during Mr. Obama’s 10 meetings with his national security team. Most of those interviewed spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, but their accounts have been matched against those of other participants wherever possible.
Mr. Obama devoted so much time to the Afghan issue — nearly 11 hours on the day after Thanksgiving alone — that he joked, “I’ve got more deeply in the weeds than a president should, and now you guys need to solve this.” He invited competing voices to debate in front of him, while guarding his own thoughts. Even David Axelrod, arguably his closest adviser, did not know where Mr. Obama would come out until just before Thanksgiving.
With the result uncertain, the outsize personalities on his team vied for his favor, sometimes sharply disagreeing as they made their arguments. The White House suspected the military of leaking details of the review to put pressure on the president. The military and the State Department suspected the White House of leaking to undercut the case for more troops. The president erupted at the leaks with an anger advisers had rarely seen, but he did little to shut down the public clash within his own government.
“The president welcomed a full range of opinions and invited contrary points of view,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in an interview last month. “And I thought it was a very healthy experience because people took him up on it. And one thing we didn’t want — to have a decision made and then have somebody say, ‘Oh, by the way.’ No, come forward now or forever hold your peace.”
The decision represents a complicated evolution in Mr. Obama’s thinking. He began the process clearly skeptical of Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal’s request for 40,000 more troops, but the more he learned about the consequences of failure, and the more he narrowed the mission, the more he gravitated toward a robust if temporary buildup, guided in particular by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates.
Yet even now, he appears ambivalent about what some call “Obama’s war.” Just two weeks before General McChrystal warned of failure at the end of August, Mr. Obama described Afghanistan as a “war of necessity.” When he announced his new strategy last week, those words were nowhere to be found. Instead, while recommitting to the war onAl Qaeda, he made clear that the larger struggle for Afghanistan had to be balanced against the cost in blood and treasure and brought to an end.
Aides, though, said the arduous review gave Mr. Obama comfort that he had found the best course he could. “The process was exhaustive, but any time you get the president of the United States to devote 25 hours, anytime you get that kind of commitment, you know it was serious business,” said Gen. James L. Jones, the president’s national security adviser. “From the very first meeting, everyone started with set opinions. And no opinion was the same by the end of the process.”
Taking Control of a War
Mr. Obama ran for president supportive of the so-called good war in Afghanistan and vowing to send more troops, but he talked about it primarily as a way of attacking Republicans for diverting resources to Iraq, which he described as a war of choice. Only after taking office, as casualties mounted and the Taliban gained momentum, did Mr. Obama really begin to confront what to do.
Even before completing a review of the war, he ordered the military to send 21,000 more troops there, bringing the force to 68,000. But tension between the White House and the military soon emerged when General Jones, a retired Marine four-star general, traveled to Afghanistan in the summer and was surprised to hear officers already talking about more troops. He made it clear that no more troops were in the offing.
With the approach of Afghanistan’s presidential election in August, Mr. Obama’s two new envoys — Richard C. Holbrooke, the president’s special representative to the region, and Lt. Gen. Karl W. Eikenberry, a retired commander of troops in Afghanistan now serving as ambassador — warned of trouble, including the possibility of angry Afghans marching on the American Embassy or outright civil war.
“There are 10 ways this can turn out,” one administration official said, summing up the envoys’ presentation, “and 9 of them are messy.”
The worst did not happen, but widespread fraud tainted the election and shocked some in the White House as they realized that their partner in Kabul, President Hamid Karzai, was hopelessly compromised in terms of public credibility.
At the same time, the Taliban kept making gains. The Central Intelligence Agency drew up detailed maps in August charting the steady progression of the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, maps that would later be used extensively during the president’s review. General McChrystal submitted his own dire assessment of the situation, warning of “mission failure” without a fresh infusion of troops.
While General McChrystal did not submit a specific troop request at that point, the White House knew it was coming and set out to figure out what to do. General Jones organized a series of meetings that he envisioned lasting a few weeks. Before each one, he convened a rehearsal session to impose discipline — “get rid of the chaff,” one official put it — that included Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Gates and other cabinet-level officials. Mr. Biden made a practice of writing a separate private memo to Mr. Obama before each meeting, outlining his thoughts.
The first meeting with the president took place on Sept. 13, a Sunday, and was not disclosed to the public that day. For hours, Mr. Obama and his top advisers pored through intelligence reports.
Unsatisfied, the president posed a series of questions: Does America need to defeat the Taliban to defeat Al Qaeda? Can a counterinsurgency strategy work in Afghanistan given the problems with its government? If the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan, would nuclear-armed Pakistan be next?
The deep skepticism he expressed at that opening session was reinforced by Mr. Biden, who rushed back overnight from a California trip to participate. Just as he had done in the spring, Mr. Biden expressed opposition to an expansive strategy requiring a big troop influx. Instead, he put an alternative on the table — rather than focus on nation building and population protection, do more to disrupt the Taliban, improve the quality of the training of Afghan forces and expand reconciliation efforts to peel off some Taliban fighters.
Mr. Biden quickly became the most outspoken critic of the expected McChrystal troop request, arguing that Pakistan was the bigger priority, since that is where Al Qaeda is mainly based. “He was the bull in the china shop,” said one admiring administration official.
But others were nodding their heads at some of what he was saying, too, including General Jones and Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff.
A Review Becomes News
The quiet review burst into public view when General McChrystal’s secret report was leaked to Bob Woodward of The Washington Post a week after the first meeting. The general’s grim assessment jolted Washington and lent urgency to the question of what to do to avoid defeat in Afghanistan.
Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Gen. David H. Petraeus, the regional commander, secretly flew to an American air base in Germany for a four-hour meeting with General McChrystal on Sept. 25. He handed them his troop request on paper — there were no electronic versions and barely 20 copies in all.
The request outlined three options for different missions: sending 80,000 more troops to conduct a robust counterinsurgency campaign throughout the country; 40,000 troops to reinforce the southern and eastern areas where the Taliban are strongest; or 10,000 to 15,000 troops mainly to train Afghan forces.
General Petraeus took one copy, while Admiral Mullen took two back to Washington and dropped one off at Mr. Gates’s home next to his in a small military compound in Washington. But no one sent the document to the White House, intending to process it through the Pentagon review first.
Mr. Obama was focused on another report. At 10 p.m. on Sept. 29, he called over from the White House residence to the West Wing to ask for a copy of the first Afghanistan strategy he approved in March to ramp up the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban while increasing civilian assistance. A deputy national security adviser, Denis McDonough, brought him a copy to reread overnight. When his national security team met the next day, Mr. Obama complained that elements of that plan had never been enacted.
The group went over the McChrystal assessment and drilled in on what the core goal should be. Some thought that General McChrystal interpreted the March strategy more ambitiously than it was intended to be. Mr. Biden asked tough questions about whether there was any intelligence showing that the Taliban posed a threat to American territory. But Mr. Obama also firmly closed the door on any withdrawal. “I just want to say right now, I want to take off the table that we’re leaving Afghanistan,” he told his advisers.
Tension with the military had been simmering since the leak of the McChrystal report, which some in the White House took as an attempt to box in the president. The friction intensified on Oct. 1 when the general was asked after a speech in London whether a narrower mission, like the one Mr. Biden proposed, would succeed. “The short answer is no,” he said.
White House officials were furious, and Mr. Gates publicly scolded advisers who did not keep their advice to the president private. The furor rattled General McChrystal, who, unlike General Petraeus, was not a savvy Washington operator. And it stunned others in the military, who were at first “bewildered by how over the top the reaction was from the White House,” as one military official put it.
It also proved to be what one review participant called a “head-snapping” moment of revelation for the military. The president, they suddenly realized, was not simply updating his previous strategy but essentially starting over from scratch.
The episode underscored the uneasy relationship between the military and a new president who, aides said, was determined not to be as deferential as he believed his predecessor,George W. Bush, was for years in Iraq. And the military needed to adjust to a less experienced but more skeptical commander in chief. “We’d been chugging along for eight years under an administration that had become very adept at managing war in a certain way,” said another military official.
Moreover, Mr. Obama had read “Lessons in Disaster,” Gordon M. Goldstein’s book on the Vietnam War. The book had become a must read in the West Wing after Mr. Emanuel had dinner over the summer at the house of another deputy national security adviser, Thomas E. Donilon, and wandered into his library to ask what he should be reading.
Among the conclusions that Mr. Donilon and the White House team drew from the book was that both President John F. Kennedy and President Lyndon B. Johnson failed to question the underlying assumption about monolithic Communism and the domino theory — clearly driving the Obama advisers to rethink the nature of Al Qaeda and the Taliban.
The Pakistan Question
While public attention focused on Afghanistan, some of the most intensive discussion focused on the country where Mr. Obama could send no troops — Pakistan. Pushed in particular by Mrs. Clinton, the president’s team explored the links between the Afghan Taliban, the Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda, and Mr. Obama told aides that it did not matter how many troops were sent to Afghanistan if Pakistan remained a haven.
Many of the intelligence reports ordered by the White House during the review dealt with Pakistan’s stability and whether its military and intelligence services were now committed to the fight or secretly still supporting Taliban factions. According to two officials, there was a study of the potential vulnerability of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, posing questions about potential insider threats and control of the warheads if the Pakistani government fell.
Mr. Obama and his advisers also considered options for stepping up the pursuit of extremists in Pakistan’s border areas. He eventually approved a C.I.A. request to expand the areas where remotely piloted aircraft could strike, and other covert action. The trick would be getting Pakistani consent, which still has not been granted.
On Oct. 9, Mr. Obama and his team reviewed General McChrystal’s troop proposals for the first time. Some in the White House were surprised by the numbers, assuming there would be a middle ground between 10,000 and 40,000.
“Why wasn’t there a 25 number?” one senior administration official asked in an interview. He then answered his own question: “It would have been too tempting.”
Mr. Gates and others talked about the limits of the American ability to actually defeat the Taliban; they were an indigenous force in Afghan society, part of the political fabric. This was a view shared by others around the table, including Leon E. Panetta, the director of the C.I.A., who argued that the Taliban could not be defeated as such and so the goal should be to drive wedges between those who could be reconciled with the Afghan government and those who could not be.
With Mr. Biden leading the skeptics, Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Gates and Admiral Mullen increasingly aligned behind a more robust force. Mrs. Clinton wanted to make sure she was a formidable player in the process. “She was determined that her briefing books would be just as thick and just as meticulous as those of the Pentagon,” said one senior adviser. She asked hard questions about Afghan troop training, unafraid of wading into Pentagon territory.
After a meeting where the Pentagon made a presentation with impressive color-coded maps, Mrs. Clinton returned to the State Department and told her aides, “We need maps,” as one recalled. She was overseas during the next meeting on Oct. 14, when aides used her new maps to show civilian efforts but she participated with headphones on from her government plane flying back from Russia.
Mr. Gates was a seasoned hand at such reviews, having served eight presidents and cycled in and out of the Situation Room since the days when it was served by a battery of fax machines. Like Mrs. Clinton, he was sympathetic to General McChrystal’s request, having resolved his initial concern that a buildup would fuel resentment the way the disastrous Soviet occupation of Afghanistan did in the 1980s.
But Mr. Gates’s low-wattage exterior masks a wily inside player, and he knew enough to keep his counsel early in the process to let it play out more first. “When to speak is important to him; when to signal is important to him,” said a senior Defense Department official.
On Oct. 22, the National Security Council produced what one official called a “consensus memo,” much of which originated out of the defense secretary’s office, concluding that the United States should focus on diminishing the Taliban insurgency but not destroying it; building up certain critical ministries; and transferring authority to Afghan security forces.
There was no consensus yet on troop numbers, however, so Mr. Obama called a smaller group of advisers together on Oct. 26 to finally press Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Gates. Mrs. Clinton made it clear that she was comfortable with General McChrystal’s request for 40,000 troops or something close to it; Mr. Gates also favored a big force.
Mr. Obama was leery. He had received a memo the day before from the Office of Management and Budget projecting that General McChrystal’s full 40,000-troop request on top of the existing deployment and reconstruction efforts would cost $1 trillion from 2010 to 2020, an adviser said. The president seemed in sticker shock, watching his domestic agenda vanishing in front of him. “This is a 10-year, trillion-dollar effort and does not match up with our interests,” he said.
Still, for the first time, he made it clear that he was ready to send more troops if a strategy could be found to ensure that it was not an endless war. He indicated that the Taliban had to be beaten back. “What do we need to break their momentum?” he asked.
Four days later, at a meeting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Oct. 30, he emphasized the need for speed. “Why can’t I get the troops in faster?” he asked. If they were going to do this, he concluded, it only made sense to do this quickly, to have impact and keep the war from dragging on forever. “This is America’s war,” he said. “But I don’t want to make an open-ended commitment.”
Bridging the Differences
Now that he had a sense of where Mr. Obama was heading, Mr. Gates began shaping a plan that would bridge the differences. He developed a 30,000-troop option that would give General McChrystal the bulk of his request, reasoning that NATO could make up most of the difference.
“If people are having trouble swallowing 40, let’s see if we can make this smaller and easier to swallow and still give the commander what he needs,” a senior Defense official said, summarizing the secretary’s thinking.
The plan, called Option 2A, was presented to the president on Nov. 11. Mr. Obama complained that the bell curve would take 18 months to get all the troops in place.
He turned to General Petraeus and asked him how long it took to get the so-called surge troops he commanded in Iraq in 2007. That was six months.
“What I’m looking for is a surge,” Mr. Obama said. “This has to be a surge.”
That represented a contrast from when Mr. Obama, as a presidential candidate, staunchly opposed President Bush’s buildup in Iraq. But unlike Mr. Bush, Mr. Obama wanted from the start to speed up a withdrawal as well. The military was told to come up with a plan to send troops quickly and then begin bringing them home quickly.
And in another twist, Mr. Obama, who campaigned as an apostle of transparency and had been announcing each Situation Room meeting publicly and even releasing pictures, was livid that details of the discussions were leaking out.
“What I’m not going to tolerate is you talking to the press outside of this room,” he scolded his advisers. “It’s a disservice to the process, to the country and to the men and women of the military.”
His advisers sat in uncomfortable silence. That very afternoon, someone leaked word of a cable sent by Ambassador Eikenberry from Kabul expressing reservations about a large buildup of forces as long as the Karzai government remained unreformed. At one of their meetings, General Petraeus had told Mr. Obama to think of elements of the Karzai government like “a crime syndicate.” Ambassador Eikenberry was suggesting, in effect, that America could not get in bed with the mob.
The leak of Ambassador Eikenberry’s Nov. 6 cable stirred another storm within the administration because the cable had been requested by the White House. The National Security Council had told the ambassador to put his views in writing. But someone else then passed word of the cable to reporters in what some in the process took to be a calculated attempt to head off a big troop buildup.
The cable stunned some in the military. The reaction at the Pentagon, said one official, was “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” — military slang for an expression of shock. Among the officers caught off guard were General McChrystal and his staff, for whom the cable was “a complete surprise,” said another official, even though the commander and the ambassador meet three times a week.
A Presidential Order
By this point, the idea of some sort of time frame was taking on momentum. Mrs. Clinton talked to Mr. Karzai before the Afghan leader’s inauguration to a second term. She suggested that he use his speech to outline a schedule for taking over security of the country.
Mr. Karzai did just that, declaring that Afghan forces directed by Kabul would take charge of securing population centers in three years and the whole country in five. His pronouncement, orchestrated partly by Mrs. Clinton and diplomats in Kabul, provided a predicate for Mr. Obama to set out his own time frame.
The president gathered his team in the Situation Room at 8:15 p.m. on Nov. 23, the unusual nighttime hour adding to what one participant called a momentous wartime feeling. The room was strewn with coffee cups and soda cans.
Mr. Obama presented a revised version of Option 2A, this one titled “Max Leverage,” pushing 30,000 troops into Afghanistan by mid-2010 and beginning to pull them out by July 2011. Admiral Mullen came up with the date at the direction of Mr. Obama, despite some misgivings from the Pentagon about setting a time frame for a withdrawal. The date was two years from the arrival of the first reinforcements Mr. Obama sent shortly after taking office. Mr. Biden had written a memo before the meeting talking about the need for “proof of concept” — in other words, two years ought to be enough for extra troops to demonstrate whether a buildup would work.
The president went around the room asking for opinions. Mr. Biden again expressed skepticism, even at this late hour when the tide had turned against him in terms of the troop number. But he had succeeded in narrowing the scope of the mission to protect population centers and setting the date to begin withdrawal. Others around the table concurred with the plan. Mr. Obama spoke last, but still somewhat elliptically. Some advisers said they walked out into the night after 10 p.m., uncertain whether the president had actually endorsed the Max Leverage option or was just testing for reaction.
Two days later, Mr. Obama met with Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker and a critic of the Afghan war. The president outlined his plans for the buildup without disclosing specific numbers. Ms. Pelosi was unenthusiastic and pointedly told the president that he could not rely on Democrats alone to pass financing for the war.
The White House had spent little time courting Congress to this point. Even though it would need Republican support, the White House had made no overtures to the party leaders.
But there was back-channel contact. Mr. Emanuel was talking with Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, who urged him to settle on a troop number “that began with 3” to win Republican support. “I said as long as the generals are O.K. and there is a meaningful number, you will be O.K.,” Mr. Graham recalled.
The day after Thanksgiving, Mr. Obama huddled with aides from 10:30 a.m. to 9:15 p.m. refining parameters for the plan and mapping out his announcement. He told his speechwriter, Ben Rhodes, that he wanted to directly rebut the comparison with Vietnam.
On the following Sunday, Nov. 29, he summoned his national security team to the Oval Office. He had made his decision. He would send 30,000 troops as quickly as possible, then begin the withdrawal in July 2011. In deference to Mr. Gates’s concerns, the pace and endpoint of the withdrawal would be determined by conditions at the time.
“I’m not asking you to change what you believe,” the president told his advisers. “But if you do not agree with me, say so now.” There was a pause and no one said anything.
“Tell me now,” he repeated.
Mr. Biden asked only if this constituted a presidential order. Mr. Gates and others signaled agreement.
“Fully support, sir,” Admiral Mullen said.
“Ditto,” General Petraeus said.
Mr. Obama then went to the Situation Room to call General McChrystal and Ambassador Eikenberry. The president made it clear that in the next assessment in December 2010 he would not contemplate more troops. “It will only be about the flexibility in how we draw down, not if we draw down,” he said.
Two days later, Mr. Obama flew to West Point to give his speech. After three months of agonizing review, he seemed surprisingly serene. “He was,” said one adviser, “totally at peace.”

Reporting was contributed by Elisabeth Bumiller, Helene Cooper, Carlotta Gall, Carl Hulse, Mark Landler, Mark Mazzetti, David E. Sanger, Eric Schmitt, Scott Shane and Thom Shanker.