Thursday, January 6, 2011

So The Constitution Has Been Read; Now What? Don’t Confuse With The Facts?

Now that Republicans have a majority in Congress, they are pretending to be constitutionalists. In order to demonstrate this, they will theatrically read aloud the Constitution from the floor of the House next week. “And then they will require that every new bill contain a statement by the lawmaker who wrote it citing the constitutional authority to enact the proposed legislation,” the Washington Post reports.

Establishment Republicans, of course, have the same amount of contempt for the Constitution as establishment Democrats. As dedicated worshippers of state power over the individual, Republicans and their ideological twins the Democrats hate the founding principles of this country.

“Conservatives regard civil liberties as coddling devices for criminals and terrorists. They see the First Amendment as a foolish protection for sedition,” writes Paul Craig Roberts. “The conservative assault on the US Constitution is deeply entrenched… Today’s conservatives are so poorly informed that they cannot understand that to lose the Constitution is to lose the country.”
While so-called conservatives pay lip-service to the Constitution, so-called progressives actively trash it and cosign the founding document to irrelevance, as the above video demonstrates…

By Lee Fang | Think Progress

17 Signs That The United States Is Becoming A Totalitarian Police State


Speaker Boehner Dismisses CBO's Report Health Care Repeal ...
Speaker of the House John Boehner dismissed a report by the Congressional Budget Office that found that repealing the health care law would increase the federal deficit and warned that the “best health care system in the world is going ...
The Note -

Republicans Will Explain That Cutting The Deficit Actually Increases The Deficit!

Since taking the majority -- and even before that -- Republicans have been at pains to explain away a problem they've seen coming for months: the fact that CBO and most analysts find that repealing the health care law will cost money. Big money. But they have a separate, less appreciated problem. 

Today, CBO forecast that the 10-year cost of repealing health care reform is actually $230 billion. That's nearly $100 billion higher than one might have expected, given that just under a year ago, the same budget analysts concluded that the Affordable Care Act would reduce the deficit by $143 billion in the first decade. 

And if the CBO's projections for the law hold, the cost of repeal will grow larger and larger the longer the law stays in effect. 

CBO's initial cost estimate of the health care law -- the $143 billion in additional revenue that its various cost-cutting and revenue-raising measures would bring to the Treasury -- covered the impact of the bill between its enactment and the end of 2019. 

But the CBO also predicted that in the second decade, as cost cutting, spending, and revenue measures take fuller effect, the bill's deficit reducing impact would increase dramatically. One year later, and the 10-year window takes us into that second decade, when the health care law will bring more money in.

Here's the relevant passage from the initial cost estimate explaining this.
The difference in the time horizons for the cost estimates will also differentiate the estimate for H.R. 2 from that for PPACA and the Reconciliation Act. The budgetary horizon for legislation considered in 2011 will span the fiscal years from 2011 through 2021, two years beyond the period covered by the cost estimate for the enacted legislation. Extrapolating the budgetary effects for 2019 of PPACA and the health care provisions of the Reconciliation Act, CBO anticipates that enacting H.R. 2 would increase federal budget deficits by a total of roughly $80 billion to $90 billion over the 2020-2021 period. 

Consequently, over the 2012-2021 period, the effect of H.R. 2 on federal deficits as a result of changes in direct spending and revenues is likely to be an increase in the vicinity of $230 billion, plus or minus the effects of technical and economic changes to CBO's and JCT's projections for that period.

So the $230 billion the government is expected to lose if the GOP push to repeal the health care bill is successful only gets us through 2021. And, if the CBO is right about the law's long term impact on the deficit, then Republicans will have an even bigger revenue loss problem on their hand if they try to repeal the law again next year -- or, worse, in the next Congress -- because each year that passes brings the CBO one further year into that second decade.

This isn't just a time bomb waiting to go off, but a series of ever larger time bombs. Today, House Speaker John Boehner dismissed the CBO's findings out of hand

"I do not believe that repealing the job-killing health care law will increase the deficit," he said. "CBO's entitled to their opinion, but they're locked within constraints of the 1974 Budget Act."

But that will get much harder to say if the cost estimates for repeal grow more and more unfavorable. Republicans have their work cut out for them. 

Julian Assange's Sex-Crime Accusers Deserve To Be Named

The shielding of sex-crime accusers is a Victorian relic. Women are moral adults and should be treated as such.

As Swedish prosecutors' sex-crime allegations against Julian Assange play out, one aspect of the case merits serious scrutiny. We know Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, by name. But his two accusers are consistently identified only as "Miss A" and "Miss W" in the media, and their images are blurred. In the UK it is against the law to name an accuser in a sex-crime case once a complaint has been made; elsewhere – in the US, and much of Europe – media convention demands that accusers get the same protection. This is bad law and bad policy. Motivated by good intentions, the outcome harms women.

The convention of shielding rape accusers is a relic of the Victorian era, when rape and other sex crimes were being codified in what descended to us as modern law. Rape was seen as "the fate worse than death", rendering women – supposed to be virgins until marriage – "damaged goods". The practice of not naming rape victims took hold for this reason.

Borrowing from a poem by Coventry Patmore, Virginia Woolf labelled the ideal of womanhood in this period "the Angel in the House": a retiring creature who could not withstand the rigours of the public arena. "Good" women's ostensible fragility and sexual purity was used to exclude them from influencing outcomes that affected their destinies. For example, women could not fully participate in legal proceedings. Indeed, suffragists fought for the right to be found guilty of one's own crimes.

Nonetheless, even after women gained legal rights – and as other assumptions about women went the way of whalebone stays – the convention of not naming women who make sex-crime allegations remains. Not only is this convention condescending, but it makes rape prosecutions more difficult.
Anonymity serves institutions that do not want to prosecute rapists. In the US military, for instance, the shielding of accusers' identities allows officials to evade responsibility for transparent reporting of assaults – and thus not to prosecute sex crimes systematically. The same is true with universities. My alma mater, Yale, used anonymity to sweep incidents under the carpet for two decades. Charges made anonymously are not taken as seriously as charges brought in public.

It is only when victims have waived their anonymity – a difficult, often painful thing to do – that institutions change. It was Anita Hill's decision in 1991 not to make anonymous accusations against Clarence Thomas, now a US supreme court justice, that spurred a wave of enforcement of equal opportunity law. Hill knew that her motives would be questioned. But as a lawyer she understood how unethical anonymous allegations are, and how unlikely to bring about change.

The convention of anonymity, conversely, lets rape myths flourish. When accusers are identified, it becomes clear that rape can happen to anyone. Stereotypes about how "real" rape victims look and act fall away, and myths about false reporting of rape relative to other crimes can be challenged.
Feminists have long argued that rape must be treated like any other crime. But in no other crime are accusers' identities hidden. Treating rape differently serves only to maintain its mischaracterisation as a "different" kind of crime, loaded with cultural baggage.

Finally, there is a profound moral issue here. Though children's identities should, of course, be shielded, women are not children. If one makes a serious criminal accusation, one must be treated as a moral adult. The importance of this is particularly clear in the Assange case, where public opinion matters far more than usual. Here, geopolitical state pressure, as well as the pressure of public attitudes about Assange, weigh unusually heavily. Can judicial decision-making be impartial when the accused is exposed to the glare of media scrutiny and attack by the US government, while his accusers remain hidden?

It is no one's business whom a victim of sex crime has had sex with previously, or what she was wearing when attacked. Laws exist to protect women from such inquiries. But some questions of motive and context, for both parties, are legitimate in any serious allegation.

The Oscar Wilde trial of 1895 is worth remembering. Wilde, like Assange, was held in solitary confinement. Like Assange, he faced a legal proceeding for alleged sex crimes in which there was state pressure on the outcome: the alleged behind-the-scenes involvement of the then prime minister, Lord Rosebery, ensured the likelihood of a "guilty" verdict. The roar of public opprobrium, in the wake of reports from accusers shielded in some cases by anonymity, also sealed Wilde's fate. His sentence – two years' hard labour – was atypically severe.

No one is proud of the outcome of that trial today. The lesson for us? Top-level political pressure and virulent public opprobrium – inflamed and enabled by anonymous accusations – can grossly distort legal process.
War Crimes Times--Winter 2011 Vol. III No. 1                                                                                                                                   

Wall Street Fat-Cats Flip Public Service Workers the Bird

Freedom Fighters for a Fading Empire

What It Means When We Say We Have the World’s Finest Fighting Force

By William Astore

January 06, 2010 "
Tom Dispatch" -- Words matter, as candidate Barack Obama said in the 2008 election campaign.  What to make, then, of President Obama’s pep talk last month to U.S. troops in Afghanistan in which he lauded them as “the finest fighting force that the world has ever known”?  Certainly, he knew that those words would resonate with the troops as well as with the folks back home.

In fact, this sort of description of the U.S. military has become something of a must for American presidents.  Obama’s predecessor George W. Bush, for example, boasted of that military as alternately “the greatest force for freedom in the history of the world” and “the greatest force for human liberation the world has ever known.”  Hyperbolic and self-promoting statements, to be sure, but undoubtedly sincere, reflecting as they do an American sense of exceptionalism that sits poorly with the increasingly interconnected world of the twenty-first century.

I’m a retired U.S. Air Force officer and a historian who teaches military history.  The retired officer in me warms to the sentiment of our troops as both unparalleled fighters and selfless liberators, but the historian in me begs to differ.

Let’s start with the fighting part of the equation.  Are we truly the world’s greatest fighting force, not only at this moment, but as measured against all militaries across history?  If so, on what basis is this claim made?  And what does such triumphalist rhetoric suggest not just about our national narcissism, but Washington’s priorities?  Consider that no leading U.S. politician thinks to boast that we have the finest educational system or health-care system or environmental policies “that the world has ever known.” 

Measured in terms of sheer destructive power, and our ability to project that power across the globe, the U.S. military is indeed the world’s “finest” fighting force.  Our nuclear arsenal remains second to none.  Our air forces (including the Navy’s carrier task forces, the Army’s armada of helicopter gunships, and the CIA’s fleet of unmanned aerial drones prosecuting a “secret” war in Pakistan) dominate the heavens.  Our Navy (“a global force for good,” according to its new motto) rules the waves -- even more so than old Britannia did a century ago.  And well should we rule the skies and seas, given the roughly one trillion dollars a year we spend on achieving our vision of “full spectrum dominance.”

But this awesome ability to exercise “global reach, global power” hardly makes us the finest military force ever.  After all, “finest” shouldn’t be measured by sheer strength and reach alone.  First and foremost, of course, should come favorable results set against the quality of the opponents bested.  To use a sports analogy, we wouldn’t call the Pittsburgh Steelers “the finest team in NFL history” simply because they annihilated Penn State in football.  Similarly, we can’t measure the success of today’s U.S. military solely in terms of amazingly quick (if increasingly costly and ultimately dismal) “victories” over the Taliban in 2001 or Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi forces in 2003.

To carry the football analogy a few yards further, one might ask when our “finest fighting force” had its last Super Bowl win.  Certainly, 1918 and 1945 (World Wars I and II) were such wins, even if as part of larger coalitions; 1953 (Korea) was a frustrating stalemate; 1973 (Vietnam) was a demoralizing loss; 1991 (Desert Storm in Iraq) was a distinctly flawed win; and efforts like Grenada or Panama or Serbia were more like scrimmages.  Arguably our biggest win, the Cold War, was achieved less through military means than economic power and technological savvy.

To put it bluntly: America’s troops are tough-minded professionals, but the finest fighting force ever?  Sir, no, sir.

We’re Number One!

Americans often seem to live in the eternal now, which makes it easier to boast that our military is the finest ever.  Most historians, however, are not so tied to nationalistic rhetoric or the ceaseless present.  If asked to identify the finest fighting force in history, my reaction -- and I would hardly be alone in the field -- would be to favor those peoples and empires which existed for war alone.

Examples immediately spring to mind: the Assyrians, the Spartans, the Romans, the Vikings, the Mongols, and the Nazis.  These peoples elevated their respective militaries and martial prowess above all else.  Unsurprisingly, they were bloodthirsty and ruthless.  Unstinting ambition for imperial goals often drove them to remarkable feats of arms at an unconscionable and sometimes difficult to sustain cost.  Yes, the Spartans defeated the Athenians, but that internecine quarrel paved the way for the demise of the independent Greek city states at the hands of Philip of Macedon and his son, Alexander (soon enough to be known as “the Great”). 

Yes, the Romans conquered an empire, but one of their own historians, Tacitus, put in the mouth of a Celtic chieftain this description of being on the receiving end of Roman “liberation”:

"The Romans’ tyranny cannot be escaped by any act of reasonable submission.  These brigands of the world have exhausted the land by their rapacity, so they now ransack the sea.  When their enemy is rich, they lust after wealth; when their enemy is poor, they lust after power.  Neither East nor West has satisfied their hunger.  They are unique among humanity insofar as they equally covet the rich and the poor.  Robbery, butchery, and rapine they call 'Empire.'  They create a desert and call it 'Peace.'"
Talk about tough love.

The Romans would certainly have to be in the running for “finest military” of all time.  They conquered many peoples, expanded far, and garrisoned vast areas of the Mediterranean, North Africa, and what would become Europe, while their legions marched forth, often to victory (not to speak of plunder), for hundreds of years.  Still, the gold medal for the largest land empire in history -- and the finest fighting force of all time -- must surely go to the thirteenth century Mongols. 

Led by Genghis Khan and his successors, Mongol horsemen conquered China and the Islamic world -- the two most powerful, sophisticated civilizations of their day -- while also exerting control over Russia for two and a half centuries.  And thanks to a combination of military excellence, clever stratagem, fleetness of foot (and far more important, hoof), flexibility, and when necessary utter ferocity, they did all this while generally being outnumbered by their enemies.

Even the fighting power of the finest militaries waxed and waned, however, based in part on the quality of those leading them.  The Macedonians blossomed under Philip and Alexander.  It was not simply Rome that conquered Gaul, but Julius Caesar.  The Mongols were at each other’s throats until Genghis Khan united them into an unstoppable military machine that swept across a continent.  The revolutionary French people in their famed levée en masse had martial fervor, but only Napoleon gave them direction.  History’s finest fighting forces are associated closely with history’s greatest captains.

Measure that against the American military today.  General David Petraeus is certainly a successful officer who exhibits an enviable mastery of detail and a powerful political sense of how to handle Washington, but a Genghis Khan?  An Alexander?  A Caesar?  Even “King David,” as he’s been called both by admirers and more than a few detractors, might blush at such comparisons.  After all, at the head of the most powerfully destructive force in the Middle East, and later Central Asia, he has won no outright victories and conquered nothing.  His triumph in Iraq in 2006-2007 may yet prove more “confected” than convincing.

As for our armed forces, though most Americans don’t know it, within U.S. military circles much criticism exists of an officer corps of “tarnished brass” that is deficient in professionalism; of generals who are more concerned with covering their butts than leading from the front; of instruction at military academies that is divorced from war’s realities; of an aversion “to innovation or creativity… [leading to] an atmosphere of anti-intellectualism” that undermines strategy and makes a hash of counterinsurgency efforts.  Indeed, our military’s biting criticism of itself is one of the few positive signs in a fighting force that is otherwise overstretched, deeply frustrated, and ridiculously overpraised by genuflecting politicians.

So I’m sorry, President Obama.  If you wish to address the finest fighting force the world has ever known, you’ll need a time machine, not Air Force One.  You’ll have to doff your leather Air Force-issue flight jacket and don Mongolian armor.  And in so doing, you’ll have to embrace mental attitudes and a way of life utterly antithetical to democracy and the rights of humanity as we understand them today.   For that is the price of building a fighting force second to none -- and one reason why our politicians should stop insisting that we have one.

“The Greatest Force for Human Liberation”

Two centuries ago, Napoleon led his armies out of France and brought “liberty, equality, and fraternity” to much of the rest of ancien régime Europe -- but on his terms and via the barrel of a musket.  His invasion of Spain, for example, was viewed as anything but a “liberation” by the Spanish, who launched a fierce guerrilla campaign against their French occupiers that sapped the strength of Napoleon’s empire and what was generally considered the finest fighting force of its moment.  

British aid to the insurgency helped ensure that this campaign would become Napoleon’s “Spanish ulcer.

The “Little Corporal” ultimately decided to indirectly strike back at the British by invading Russia, which was refusing to enforce France’s so-called continental blockade.  As Napoleon’s army bled out or froze solid in the snows of a Russian winter, the Prussians and the Austrians found new reasons to reject French “fraternity.”  Within years, Napoleon’s empire was unsaddled and destroyed, a fate shared by its leader, sent into ignominious exile on the island of Saint Helena.

Like Napoleon’s fired up revolutionary troops, the American military also sees itself as on a mission to spread democracy and freedom.  Afghans and Iraqis have, however, proven no more eager than the Spaniards of two centuries ago to be “liberated” at gun (or “Hellfire” missile) point, even when the liberators come bearing gifts, which in today’s terms means the promise of roads, jobs, and “reconstruction,” or even cash by the pallet.

Because we Americans believe our own press releases, it’s difficult to imagine others (except, of course, those so fanatic as to be blind to reality) seeing us as anything but well-intentioned liberators.  As journalist Nir Rosen has put it: “There’s… a deep sense among people in the [American] policy world, in the military, that we’re the good guys.  It’s just taken for granted that what we’re doing must be right because we’re doing it.  We’re the exceptional country, the essential nation, and our role, our intervention, our presence is a benign and beneficent thing.”

In reporting on our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Rosen and others have offered ample proof for those who care to consider it that our foreign interventions have been anything but benign or beneficent, no less liberating.  Our invasion of Iraq opened the way to civil war and mayhem.  For many ordinary Iraqis, when American intervention didn’t lead to death, destruction, dislocation, and exile, it bred “deep humiliation and disruption” as well as constant fear, a state of affairs that, as Rosen notes, is “painful and humiliating and scary.”

In Afghanistan, Rosen points out, most villagers see our troops making common cause with a despised and predatory government.  Huge infusions of American dollars, meanwhile, rarely trickle down to the village level, but instead promote the interests of Afghan warlords and foreign businesses.  Small wonder that, more than nine years later, a majority of Afghans say they want to be liberated from us.

If the U.S. military is not “the greatest force for human liberation” in all history, what is?  Revealingly, it’s far easier to identify the finest fighting force of history.  If put on the spot, though, I’d highlight the ideas and ideals of human dignity, of equality before the law, of the fundamental value of each and every individual, as the greatest force for human liberation.  Such ideals are shared by many peoples.  They may sometimes be defended by the sword, but were inscribed by the pens of great moralists and thinkers of humanity’s collective past.  In this sense, when it comes to advancing freedom, the pen has indeed been mightier than the sword.

Freedom Fighters for a Fading Empire

The historian John Lukacs once noted: “There are many things wrong with the internationalist idea to Make the World Safe for Democracy, one of them being that it is not that different from the nationalist idea that What Is Good for America Is Good for the World.”

In our post-9/11 world, whatever our rhetoric about democratizing the planet, our ambitions are guided by the seemingly hardheaded goal of making Americans safe from terrorists.  A global war on terrorism has, however, proven anything but consistent with expanding liberty at home or abroad.  Indeed, the seductive and self-congratulatory narrative of our troops as selfless liberators and the finest freedom fighters around actually helps blind us to our violent methods in far-off lands, even as it distances us from the human costs of our imperial policies.

Though we officially seek to extinguish terrorists, our actions abroad serve as obvious accelerants to terror.  To understand why this is so, ask yourself how comforted you would be if foreign military “liberators” kicked in your door, shouted commands in a language you didn’t understand, confiscated your guns, dragged your father and brothers and sons off in cuffs and hoods to locations unknown, all in the name of “counterterror” operations?  How comforted would you be if remotely piloted drones hovered constantly overhead, ready to unleash Hellfire missiles at terrorist “targets of opportunity” in your neighborhood?

Better not to contemplate such harsh realities.  Better to praise our troops as so many Mahatma Gandhis, so many freedom fighters.  Better to praise them as so many Genghis Khans, so many ultimate warriors.

At a time of feared national decline, our leaders undoubtedly prescribe military action in part to comfort us (and themselves) and restore our sense of potency and pride.  In doing so, they violate the famous phrase long associated with the Hippocratic Oath: First, do no harm.

William J. Astore, a retired lieutenant colonel (USAF) and professor of history, is a TomDispatch regular.  He welcomes reader comments at To listen to Timothy MacBain's latest TomCast audio interview in which Astore discusses the military nightmares of a fading empire, click here or, to download it to your iPod, here.

Uprooted Palestinians: Israeli War Crimes: From the USS Liberty to ...
By uprooted Palestinian
Just as the entire leadership of the 51 principle American Jewish organizations defended every Israeli war crime in the past, from the bombing of the US Liberty , to the Occupation of the West Bank and the blockade of Gaza so too did ...
Uprooted Palestinians -

Sen. Graham Wants U.S. in Afghanistan Permanently

Liberal Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, known in conservative anti-immigration circles as Sen. Grahamnesty, says the United States must maintain a permanent “presence” in Afghanistan. He proposes this imperial outpost because he believes it will prevent the Taliban, the ruling political party in the graveyard of empires when Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida terrorists struck the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, from returning to the country. Taliban fighters, however, who operate from bases in Pakistan with covert Pakistani support, are still in Afghanistan.

The remarks raise the question of what Graham thinks United States can gain from this military adventure, and whether he is as interested in protecting the borders of the United States as he is in protecting the borders from Afghanistan.

Responding to a question from NBC’s David Gregory on Sunday, Graham answered thusly:

“I hope we can find an enduring relationship with Afghanistan that will make sure that country never goes back in the hands of terrorists.  And the idea of putting permanent military bases on the table in 2011, I think would secure our national interest and tell the bad guys and the good guys we're not leaving, we're staying, in a responsible way if the Afghan people want us to stay. …

I think it would be enormously beneficial to the region, as well as Afghanistan.  We've had air bases all over the world.  A couple of air bases in Afghanistan would allow the Afghan security forces an edge against the Taliban in perpetuity.  It would be a signal to Pakistan that the Taliban are never going to come back in Afghanistan.  They could change their behavior.  

It would be a signal to the whole region that Afghanistan is going to be a new and different place.  And if the Afghan people want this relationship, they're going to have to earn it.  But I hope they will seek a relationship with the United States of where we can have an enduring relationship, economic and militarily and politically.  And a couple of air bases in Afghanistan will give us an edge militarily, give the Afghan security forces an edge militarily, to ensure that country never goes back into the hands of the Taliban, which would be a stabilizing event throughout the whole region.  That has to be earned by the Afghan people, and it has to be requested by them.”

Regardless of Mr. Graham’s earnest concern for the benighted Afghanis, he might learn something about what the United States can gain from this military “presence” by watching Sebastian Junger’s documentary called "Restrepo." Junger and a colleague spent a year with the a platoon of  the Army’s 503rd Infantry Regiment (airborne) of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team. It was stationed in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley in the Hindu Kush, known to American fighting men as "The Valley of Death." The documentary takes its name from a medic killed during filming. Korengal was also the scene of then Staff Sgt. Sal Giunta’s heroic feats that made him the first living recipient of the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War.

Restrepo’s panoramic vistas of the Korengal alone tell a viewer the United States has nothing to gain from its expedition in Afghanistan. Its depiction of Americans troops fighting an invisible enemy, supposedly with the help of suspicious and reluctant Islamic tribesman, drives the point home. The great victory depicted in “Restrepo” is that most of the Americans Junger filmed returned home alive. They fought to no avail, and their intercourse with the indigenous residents should invite even the most optimistic supporter of the war to wonder why in heaven’s name this country is sending the flower to its youth to die there. Such was the fighting in the Korengal Valley that the U.S. military, having sustained more than 40 men killed in action and hundreds wounded, abandoned the area last April.

As for Afghanistan generally, American families have suffered more than 1,400 dead, almost all of them killed in action. The United States cannot declare victory. The Obama administration has announced plans to abandon the military effort. “We’re going to be totally out of there, come hell or high water, by 2014,” Vice President Joe Biden said in December…

Taliban Rejects Idea Of US Bases In Afghanistan

WASHINGTON -- A senator's suggestion that the United States consider establishing permanent military bases in Afghanistan has drawn the ire of the Taliban. 

In an online message released Tuesday, the Afghan Taliban said Sen. Lindsey Graham's comments proved that the U.S. is intent on occupying Afghanistan and depriving its citizens of their rights. 

"His remarks definitely lifts the curtain from the colonialist motives of America," the Taliban said in a statement detailed by the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors militant websites. America, the Taliban said, wants to establish dominance over the region. 

Graham, R-S.C., a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday that having a few U.S. air bases in Afghanistan would benefit the region and give Afghan security forces an edge against the Taliban. 

Graham responded to the Taliban critique Thursday, saying that he wants to have an enduring relationship with the Afghan people that would benefit both the U.S. and Afghanistan. And he said the majority of Afghan people don't want to return to Taliban control. ..

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