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Journalist Gareth Porter on Obama’s Afghan Spin; Meet Angry American John Ringer

Journalist/investigative historian Gareth Porter returns to talk about Obama’s limited troop reductions in Afghanistan;  John Ringer, an angry American who is losing his job in 2 weeks, talks about his song, My Country, My Ass.Porter is the author of  Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam.  We talk about Obama’s speech of May 22 and the internal administration debate on how far and how fast troop drawdowns can occur, the conflicting messages for Americans (we’re getting out) and Afghans (we are staying indefinitely), and how the rotation of Panetta to Defense and Petraeus to CIA ensures more spin and no new thinking.  We touch on Panetta’s bumpy confirmation as CIA chief, his support for the operations wing of the CIA and its barely covert drone operations, and his unanimous Senate confirmation following the bin Laden execution.  Porter adds some new angles to the CIA-Military competition we talked about in the recent Area 51 podcast, and to the method of targeting used for drone attacks in Pakistan.  We talk about Robert Parry’s important recap of US-Afghan relations in the 1990’s and how Petraeus, Gates and others rely on our ignorance of history to claim that the US allowed a power vaccuum that allowed the Taliban to take power.  You can read Porter’s article here.

At 49:10, we talk with John Ringer, who sent me his song, My Country, My Ass and find a well-informed, libertarian-leaning craftsman for a Maryland woodworking business that is shutting down and laying him off.  His song expresses his anger at the reduction of our constitutional rights and civil liberties,  and his belief that the US is no longer the land of the free, home of the brave.  Good song, interesting conversation.  Ringer’s website is here.