Thursday , November 21 2019
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Eric S. Margolis

Articles by Eric S. Margolis

Iraq: All Is in Ruins and Mourning

6 days ago

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Victor Hugo said of the devastated Balkans in the 19th century:  ‘The Turks have passed by here. All is in ruins or mourning.’
Welcome to modern Iraq.
The British were always masters of efficient imperialism.  In the 19th century, they managed to rule a quarter of the Earth’s surface with only a relatively small army supported by a great fleet.
Many of their imperial subjects were so overawed by the pomp and circumstance of British rule that they often willingly cooperated, or at least bent the knee.
Call it colonialism 101.  Ardent students of Roman history, the British early on adopted the Roman strategy of ‘divide et impera’, divide and conquer.  The application of this strategy allowed the British

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How We Betrayed Russia

13 days ago

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Where did all the time go?  Thirty years ago this week the Berlin Wall fell.  Then Soviet chairman Mikhail Gorbachev freed the Baltic states and allowed divided Germany to reunite.  It was a geopolitical earthquake of historic proportions – and a major miracle of our times.
The once mighty Soviet Union had become exhausted by its long military/economic/political struggle to keep up with the much wealthier United States and its rich allies.  Moscow had 40,000 tanks, but its economic infrastructure, crippled by Marxist ideology, was an empty shell.
A senior KGB general in Moscow told me that, a decade earlier, the renowned Soviet physicist Andrei Sakharov had warned the Politburo that failure by Soviet

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Spain: Let the Dead Sleep

25 days ago

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In 1936, as Spain’s brutal civil war was raging, Republican-leftist forces were besieging Toledo’s fortress, the Alcazar.  They took hostage the 16-year old son Luis of the citadel’s commander, Col. Moscardo.
`Surrender the Alcazar or we will shoot him,’ threatened the leftists.  Moscardo replied, ‘put him on the phone.’  When his terrified son came on, Col. Moscardo told him, ‘son, stand to attention, cry out Viva Espana, and die like a man.’
Spain’s Valley of the Fallen is a grim spooky place.  A gigantic mausoleum carved into a rocky hill outside Madrid, the monument houses the remains of tens of thousands killed in Spain’s brutal civil war, 1936-1939.
I visited this vast necropolis soon after it

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Syria: What a Tangled Web We Wove

October 19, 2019

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What a mess.  The imperial cooks in Washington have turned poor Syria into a poison pit of warring factions, with disastrous results for all.
Henry Kissinger once quipped that it is more dangerous being America’s ally than its enemy.  A good example is how Washington used the Kurds in Syria to fight ISIS and then ditched them to face the wrath of the mighty Turkish military alone.
A great hue and cry has gone up from the US corporate media and Congress that the Kurds are being betrayed.  The evangelical far right and Israel’s supporters are leading this charge.  Israel has secretly been arming and aiding Kurds in Iraq, Iran and Syria since 1975 as a dandy way of splintering the fragile Arab Mideast.

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More ‘Stupid War’ in Syria

October 12, 2019

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More war in wretched Syria.  Half the population are now refugees; entire cities lie shattered by bombing; bands of crazed gunmen run rampant; US, French, Israeli and Russian warplanes bomb widely.
Now, adding to the chaos, President Donald Trump has finally given Turkey, NATO’s second military power, the green light to invade parts of northeastern Syria after he apparently ordered a token force of US troops there to withdraw.
This, of course, puts the Turks in a growing confrontation with the region’s Kurds, who have occupied large swaths of the area during Syria’s civil war.  The Kurdish militia, known as YPG (confusingly part of the so-called Free Syrian Army), is armed, lavishly financed and

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Beware Awakening China

October 5, 2019

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“China is a sleeping giant.  Let her sleep, for when she wakes she will move the world.”  Napoleon
France’s future emperor never saw China, but he was wise enough to understand its immense latent strength and future importance.  Two centuries after making this prediction, China has proved the Corsican correct.
Last week, China feted the 70th anniversary of the Communist takeover of the mainland.  It was a gala demonstration of the nation’s military and social power.  I recall watching the 60th anniversary celebration in Hong Kong and wondering at how amazingly far China had come since I first went there in the early 1980’s.
At that time, China was a vastness filled with poverty, suffering and primitive

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Off With Trump’s Head?

September 28, 2019

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A crime worthy of impeachment?  Not really, just another unethical, improper, crass act by President Donald Trump.
Many Democrats are cock-a-hoop over the idea of impeaching Trump.  They would bed down with the Devil just to get rid of the boor in the White House.  But unless really damning information emerges regarding Trump’s efforts to dig up dirt on his presumptive presidential rival, Joe Biden, it looks so far as if Trump may survive this latest scandal.  Unless, of course, the mounting pressure on him seriously affects his health.  He is showing clear signs of stress.
In a recorded 25 July phone call, Trump, a former reality TV star, asked Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, a former TV

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The Saudis Get a Taste of Their Own Medicine

September 21, 2019

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The Mideast has its own variety of crazy humor.  The Saudis have been blasting and bombing wretched Yemen, one of this world’s poorest nations, since 2015.
These US-supported attacks and a naval blockade of Yemen imposed by Saudi Arabia and its sidekick ally, the United Arab Emirates, have caused mass starvation.  No one knows how many Yemenis have died or are currently starving.  Estimates run from 250,000 to one million.
The black humor?  The Saudis just claimed they were victims of Iranian `aggression’ this past week after the kingdom’s leading oil treatment facility at Abqaiq was hit by a flight of armed drones or cruise missiles.  The usual American militarists, now led by State Secretary Mike

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Dead Men Tell No Tales

September 14, 2019

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A large number of Americans still don’t believe the official version of the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington.  I am one of them.
The government and tame media version – that crazed Muslims directed by Osama bin Laden  attacked New York’s twin towers and the Pentagon because they hated ‘our freedoms’ and our religions – is wearing very thin as contrary evidence piles up.
Ever since the attacks, I’ve held the belief that neither bin Laden nor Afghanistan’s Taliban were involved, though bin Laden did applaud the attacks after the fact and remains a key suspect.  Unfortunately, he was murdered by a US hit squad instead of being brought to the US to stand trial.  Mullah Omar, the Taliban leader, was

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Fool’s War Over Trade

September 7, 2019

According to the great military thinker, Maj. Gen. J.F.C. Fuller, ‘the object of war is not victory.  It is to achieve political goals.’
Too bad President Donald Trump does not read books.  He has started economic wars against China, Russia, Iran, Cuba and Venezuela without any clear strategic objective beyond inflating his ego as the world’s premier warlord and punishing them for disobedience.
Trump’s wars are economic.  They deploy the huge economic and financial might of the United States to steamroll other nations that fail to comply with orders from Washington.  Washington’s motto is ‘obey me or else!’  Economic wars are not bloodless.  Imperial Germany and the Central Powers were starved into surrender in 1918 by a crushing

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Beware the Vengeance of the Afghans

August 31, 2019

After 18 years of war in Afghanistan– America’s longest – US and Taliban negotiators are said to be close to an agreement that may see the withdrawal of many of the 14,000 US soldiers in that remote nation.
That’s the official version.  President Donald Trump keeps changing his mind about the number of US troops to be withdrawn.  The latest version from the White House has 5,000 US troops remaining in Afghanistan as a permanent garrison to guard the major air bases at Bagram and Kandahar and protect the US-installed puppet Afghan government in Kabul.
Without US troops to defend it, the Afghan regime of Ashraf Ghani would be swept away in days.  Even Trump has admitted this.  Keeping the Ghani regime safe in Kabul would at least

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Brazil’s Insane War Against Trees

August 28, 2019

Cut down the trees.  Kill the wild animals.  Burn the bush.  Pollute the rivers.   Pave over the grass.  Raise more beef, pigs and poultry in cages.
That’s the credo of the new right.  Hatred of Nature is an integral part of its politics.  President Donald Trump is the high priest of such environmental vandalism.  In his narrow land-developer mind, Nature is a left-wing liberal conspiracy.
Trump’s Brazilian wannabe, President Jair Bolsonaro, is now doing his mentor one better:  he encouraged Brazilian farmers, loggers and miners, all key Bolsonaro constituencies, to accelerate their destruction of the Amazon rain forest, which provides 20% of the Earth’s oxygen.
The farmers, miners and loggers responded to his call by burning the

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China Is Getting Ready To Crush Hong Kong

August 17, 2019

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Time was when flying to Hong Kong was a really big thrill – or maybe scare would be a better term.  Its old airport, Kai Tak, was right in the middle of bustling downtown Hong Kong.  Flying into Kai Tak used up 11 of one’s 12 lives.
The wide-bodied jumbo aircraft would drop down into a long fjord that was usually shrouded in fog or mist.  The nervous passenger would see nothing but cloud.  Suddenly, the aircraft would break out of the thick cloud cover right over the airport.
To the left and right were apartment buildings festooned with drying laundry at the same height as one’s plane.  The big 747 airliner landed with a huge thud and screaming tires right in front of another bunch of apartment

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Risk of Nuclear Conflict in Asia Grows

August 10, 2019

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Two of the world’s most important powers, India and Pakistan, are locked into an extremely dangerous confrontation over the bitterly disputed Himalayan mountain state of Kashmir.  Both are nuclear armed.
Kashmir has been a flashpoint since Imperial Britain divided India in 1947.  India and Pakistan have fought numerous wars and conflicts over majority Muslim Kashmir.  China controls a big chunk of northern Kashmir known as Aksai Chin.
In 1949, the UN mandated a referendum to determine if Kashmiris wanted to join Pakistan or India.  Not surprisingly, India refused to hold the vote.  But there are some Kashmiris who want an independent state, though a majority seek to join Pakistan.
India claims that

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The British Trump?

July 27, 2019

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Britain’s new prime minister, Boris Johnson, is being called by many ‘the British Trump.’  It’s an easy comparison, given their quirky, confrontational styles, prominent blond hair, tribal politics and xenophobic policies.
But they are not alike.  Johnson is a literate, witty product of Britain’s finest educational institutions, Eton and Oxford, who down-plays his erudition and upper class roots.  Trump is just the opposite.  But both are consummate entertainers, which is essential in today’s TV-driven politics.
Trump and Johnson are allowed political license to act outrageously and say taboo things that would get other politicians kicked out of office.  Last week, in a threat barely noticed by US

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Who Was Epstein Working for?

July 20, 2019

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NEW YORK – I’ve had many strange experiences in my decades of covering intelligence affairs.  These run from being invited to KGB HQ in Moscow, Chinese intelligence in Beijing, US intelligence in Virginia, Libyan intelligence in Tripoli, South African intelligence, and even Albanian intelligence in Tirana.
But none was odder than the day I was invited to lunch in New York City with the by now notorious figure Jeffrey Epstein.  The golden boy of Manhattan and Palm Beach society now sits in a grim jail cell accused of having sex with underage girls.  He’s been doing this in plain view since the early 1990’s but, until recently, he seemed bullet-proof.
Soon after I walked into the entrance of Epstein’s

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Turkey Disobeys the US

July 13, 2019

Turkey has just called Donald Trump’s bluff by going ahead with the purchase of Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missiles.  The outrage in Washington is volcanic.  Trump is vowing to rain fire and brimstone sanctions down on the disobedient Turks.
The S-400 is Russia’s premier anti-air missile.  It is believed highly effective against all forms of aircraft – including stealth planes – cruise missiles, medium range ballistic missiles, drones, and some other types of missiles.  It offers the choice of a self-directing version with its own radar seeker, or a less expensive, ‘semi-active’ version that is guided by its launch-battery radar.
What makes this AA missile (SS-21 in NATO terminology) particularly deadly is its remarkable 400 km

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Don’t Mess With the Swiss

June 22, 2019

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Morgarten, Switzerland – Here, in 1315, a force of Swiss mountaineers ambushed an invading force of Austrian feudal knights who had come to reassert Hapsburg feudal rule over the rebellious Swiss.
The burly Swiss farmers and woodsmen from the forest cantons Unterwalden, Uri and Schwytz fell upon the close-packed Austrian knights and men-at-arms, using long pikes or deadly pole axes known as halbards, and massacred them without quarter.
Two years later, a second Austrian expeditionary force was caught by the Swiss peasant infantry near Lucerne at Sempach and crushed.
These fierce battles were the first time in modern history that foot soldiers had withstood heavily armored mounted knights.  These

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Demolition Derby in the Gulf

June 15, 2019

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Who is attacking oil tankers in the Gulf between Oman and Iran?  So far, the answer is still a mystery.  The US, of course, accuses Iran.  Iran says it’s the US or its local allies Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Magnetic mines are blamed for the damage, though there have been claims of torpedo use.  Last month, four moored tankers were slightly damaged, though none seriously.  This time the attacks were more damaging but apparently not lethal.
A few cynics have even suggested Israel may be behind the tanker attack in order to provoke war between Iran and the United States – a key Israeli goal.  Or maybe it’s the Saudis whose goal is similar.  The Gulf is an ideal venue for false flag

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Thank the Red Army

June 8, 2019

The propaganda about World War II continues without relent.  D-Day is the most egregious example. I wrote this piece last year from Normandy.  It is as valid and pertinent this year as last and bears no improvement that I can see.  Questioning the war’s great power politics in no way lessens the glory and courage of the men who fought on both sides.  As a former solider, I salute them.  But we must not ignore the truth.
On my many walking visits to the vast Normandy battlefield in France, I kept recalling the ever so wise dictum of Prussia’s great monarch, Frederick the Great:  ‘he who defends everything, defends nothing.’  On this 74th anniversary of the D-Day landings, it’s well worth recalling the old warrior-king.

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Oxcarts v. Reactors

June 1, 2019

How fleeting is glory!  Back in 1998, the South Asian Journalists Association proclaimed me ‘Journalist of the Year’ for a newspaper article I had written about India.
But the next year the award was angrily rescinded after I wrote that India should compromise with Pakistan over the festering Kashmir conflict.  Prickly Indians didn’t like being criticized, even by an old friend like myself.
This week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his rightwing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) coalition won a landslide electoral victory, gaining 302 of the 542 seats in parliament.  The venerable Congress opposition party, that long led India, was crushed.
We should pay attention.  India is more or less the world’s largest democracy and is expected

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Trump: Stop Playing With Fire

May 18, 2019

President Donald Trump claimed this week that he does not want war with Iran.  If he really believes this, the president ought to look into what his subordinates are doing.
Among their bellicose actions are deployment of the ‘Abraham Lincoln CVN-72’ carrier task force to the coast of Iran, massing a strike package of B-52 heavy bombers in Qatar, just across the Gulf from Iran, positioning more US warplanes around Iran, readying a massive cyber attack against Iran, and trying to stop the export of Iranian oil, upon which its economy depends.
Plus repeated attempts to overthrow the government in Tehran – something the US already did very skillfully in 1953.
If all this is not war, according to Trump, then what is? It’s war by

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Iran, Make My Day, Says Trump

May 11, 2019

Is it just a coincidence that TV networks are re-running old ‘Dirty Harry’ films just as a powerful US Naval armada and Air Force B-52 bombers are headed for what could be a clash with Iran?  Here we go again with the ‘good guys’ versus the ‘bad guys,’ and ‘make my day.’
Maybe it’s more bluffing?  The current US military deployment was scheduled before the latest flare-up with Iran, but the bellicose threats of White House neocon crusaders like John Bolton and Mike Pompeo certainly create the impression that the US wants war.
Adding to the warlike excitement, President Trump just ordered seizure of a large North Korean bulk cargo ship.  This was clearly a brazen act of war and violation of international law.  More dangerous

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A New Tar Baby for US?

May 4, 2019

Sure.  Let’s invade Venezuela.  Another jolly little war.  It’s full of commies and has a sea of oil.  The only thing those Cuban-loving Venezuelans lack are weapons of mass destruction.
This week, leading US neocons openly threatened that if the CIA’s latest attempts to stage a coup to overthrow Venezuela’s Maduro government failed, Washington might send in the Marines.
Well, the coup was a big fiasco and the Venezuelan army didn’t overthrow President Maduro.  The CIA also failed to overthrow governments in Moscow, Tehran and Damascus.  Its only ‘success’ to date has been in overthrowing Ukraine’s pro-Moscow government and putting a bunch of corrupt clowns in its place at a cost near $10 billion.
The US has not waged a major

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Whom the Gods Would Destroy

April 27, 2019

The world is still reeling in horror from the deadly Sri Lanka bombings that may have been the work of Islamic State madmen.  Poor Sri Lanka has suffered so much after three decades of civil war and communal strife.  We weep for this beautiful and once gentle nation.
But behind the horror in Sri Lanka, a huge crisis was building up of which the world has so far taken insufficient notice: renewed tensions in the oil-producing Gulf.  This is the latest attempt by the United States to crush Iran’s independent-minded government and return it to American tutelage.
The Trump administration has demanded that the principal importers of 1.2 billion barrels of Iranian oil halt purchases almost immediately.  This imperial diktat includes

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Adiós El Presidente!

April 22, 2019

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Peru’s former charismatic president, Alan García, once hailed ‘the John F. Kennedy of Latin America,’ killed himself with a pistol this past Wednesday.  What a tragedy and waste of a brilliant man.
In 1985, I flew to Lima to interview García for New York’s Wall Street Journal.  He had just assumed office; I believe I was the first non-Latin American journalist to interview him.
García was successor to the nationalist firebrand Haya de la Torre, founder of the militant APRA party, whose aim was to nationalize foreign holdings across the Americas and send the Yankees home.
Lima, Peru’s capital of 9.8 million, was founded by the Conquistador Pizarro in 1535, almost a full century before my own hometown,

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Escape From Gaza

April 15, 2019

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This past week, the Vienna and Boston based Four Paws animal welfare organization made another brilliant rescue of 47 near-death animals from the awful ‘zoo of sorrows,’ a zoo-prison for animals within the greater prison of Gaza. All the animals at this zoo were smuggled into Gaza through tunnels from Egypt.
The heroic Egyptian veterinary doctor Amir Khalil led the Four Paws team.  Two years ago, I was with Dr. Khalil during the dramatic and very difficult rescue of starving wild animals from the war-ravaged zoo in Aleppo, Syria.  I was proud to have helped both that rescue and the current Gaza operation.  This time, the renowned French humane NGO `30 Million d’Amis’ joined our Gaza effort.
Why, one

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April 6, 2019

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Algeria has long been the forgotten nation of North Africa.  But now, it is bursting into the news as the latest example of popular revolution in the woefully misgoverned Arab word.
After seven weeks of mass street protests, Algeria’s ruler for the past two decades, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, finally faced the inevitable and resigned after a big shove from the army and the governing elite, known as ‘le pouvoir’ (the power).
Algeria is an important nation in spite of its recent semi-obscurity.  At the center of North Africa, bordered by the Mediterranean and great Sahara Desert, Algeria has over 42 million people, with an important ethnic Berber minority in the mountains and uplands of the interior.  Algeria

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The Russians Are Not Coming!

March 30, 2019

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Not since the witchcraft hysteria of the Middle Ages have we seen such a display of human idiocy, credulity and absurdist behavior.  I refer, of course, to the two-year witch hunt directed against President Donald Trump which hopefully just concluded last week – provided that the Hillaryites, Democratic dopes and secret staters who fueled this mania don’t manage to keep the pot boiling.
This column has said from Day 1 that claims Trump was somehow a Russian agent were absurd in the extreme.  So too charges that Moscow had somehow rigged US elections.  Nonsense.  We know it’s the US that helps rig elections around the globe, not those bumbling Russians who can’t afford the big bribes such nefarious

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The War of Lies

March 23, 2019

Sixteen years ago, the US and Britain committed a crime of historic proportion, the invasion and destruction of Iraq.  It was as egregious an aggression as Nazi Germany’s 1939 invasion of Poland.
Large numbers of Iraqi civilians died from 2003-2007. Iraq’s water and sewage systems were bombed, causing widespread cholera.  The UN estimated 500,000 Iraqi children alone died as a result.  Madeleine Albright, US Secretary of State, said it was ‘a price worth paying.’
But not so much for the 4,424 US soldiers killed in Iraq, or the 31,952 wounded, many with devastating brain and neurological injuries.  Nor for US taxpayers who forked out over $1 trillion for this botched war and are still paying the bill – which was hidden in the

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