With my new film Koch Brothers Exposed set for release, the billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch are doing everything they can do hide their behavior. First they got their lawyer to fire off a menacing letter that all but threatened news organizations that dare to cover the film's content. Now they're insisting -- get this -- that there's nothing to debate anyway. That's right. In response to my offer to a debate or public discussion, the Koch brothers, hiding behind their attorney, wrote, "We are confused about what there is to debate." Perhaps the Kochs have not seen what my team and journalists such as Lee Fang, Addie Stan, and Jane Mayer have uncovered. What we've found is that Charles and David Koch are using their vast fortune to buy the political and legal process. They are corrupting democracy in ways that are harming the 99% while serving their own economic interests. One area of excessive influence is energy policy. The Kochs, who own Koch Industries, are one of the top 10 polluters in the nation, which means they have a strong interest in eliminating or preventing environmental regulations. The Kochs have given over $500,000 to members of the U.S. House of Representatives' Energy and Commerce Committee, which proposes environmental regulations and is supposed to hold polluters accountable. Indeed, as our film reveals, the Kochs are the oil and gas industry's single biggest donor to that committee. Is it any wonder that Congress won't pass bills to curb climate change or tackle other environmental problems? In fact, the Kochs frequently have secret summits where they host wealthy right-wing donors as well as federal policymakers to talk strategy and fundraising. Participants have included U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. Those two justices recently increased the Kochs' power by voting in the Citizens United case to allow unlimited corporate money into politics. And just last week, the justices heard a case challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act -- a bill that the Koch-founded and -financed group Americans for Prosperity (AFP) has been pushing to overturn. Should our system permit such a conflict of interest enabling the Kochs to wield influence that virtually no other citizen can match? This influence also extends to the state level. The Kochs have given at least $1 million to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a group that writes pro-corporate laws that are often passed nearly verbatim in state legislatures across the country. Among these laws are onerous voter ID restrictions (to reduce the number of votes from the young, the elderly, the poor, and people of color) and various bills that undermine workers, consumers, and the environment. Moreover, the Kochs have been propping up Wisconsin's anti-union governor Scott Walker, who recently rammed a bill through his state legislature to gut the rights of public sector unions. AFP ran attack ads and organized a bus tour to stymie the union members opposing Walker's power grab. Although the Kochs' lawyer tries to distance his clients from all of that unpleasantness, he cannot take back what David Koch recently told a reporter: "We're helping [Scott Walker], as we should. We've gotten pretty good at this over the years...We've spent a lot of money in Wisconsin. We're going to spend more." Why won't the Kochs debate these things? What are they hiding from? The fact is they have an undue, indeed corrupting, influence on our democracy, and they don't want anyone to notice. After all, true democracy isn't just a process where the rabble get to enter a voting booth every couple of years while the rich guys fund the candidates, think tanks, media campaigns, and on-the-ground organizations that set the parameters of public debate. Democracy is supposed to be a vibrant, participatory process where every citizen can have an impact on how the country is governed and narrow interests can't commandeer the process for themselves. Surely, that's something worth debating.

This week as I premiered my new film, Koch Brothers Exposed -- the result of a year-long investigation on how two billionaires are using their wealth to corrupt democracy -- Koch Industries has launched an attack on the film and me. The Kochs intimidate, they menace; they have a letter from their lawyer borderline threatening the media if it reports what's in the film -- and they always try to change the subject so their behavior can stay in the shadows: not only are they unwilling to accept my offer of a debate or interview, they also refuse to testify about their interest in the Keystone XL pipeline and may have to be dragged kicking and screaming into revealing their secret contributions to groups doing election work. This time, the Kochs are using a technique I point out in the film: attacking to avoid dealing with the facts. They are dodging and distorting the truth to avoid confronting our findings on cancer, voting rights, civil rights, and more.

How? Let me count (some of) the ways:

1) Cancer. People are dying of cancer near the Kochs' Georgia Pacific plant in Crossett, Arkansas, and the Kochs refuse to answer the relevant question: What are they going to do about it? On Penn Road in Crossett, right near the mill, residents powerfully show how nine out of 11 homes have suffered from cancer. A USA Today study said Crossett's school district is in the top 1% in the nation for cancer. Meanwhile, the Kochs' facility releases significant amounts of formaldehyde -- a known carcinogen -- and there's no other chemical plant in town. The Kochs are among the country's top 10 polluters and lobbied hard to keep formaldehyde from being labeled a carcinogen. For a company where one of the owners (David Koch) and the communications director (Melissa Cohlmia) are cancer survivors, this is tragic and infuriating. It reflects a warped sense of humanity where greed trumps all.

2) Voting rights. The Kochs have given over $1 million to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a group that's trying to pass severe voter ID restrictions in states across the country. These bills disenfranchise the poor, the elderly, the young, people of color -- in short, people who are likely to oppose a 1% agenda. The Kochs won't explain why anyone should believe that ALEC's pro-corporate, anti-99% agenda is somehow detached from its billionaire funders. Onerous voting restrictions are already impacting people's ability to vote in the 2012 election.

3) Re-segregation. Americans for Prosperity (AFP), which is Koch-founded and Koch-financed (they refuse to say how much but we know it's at least $5 million), pushed "reforms" in North Carolina that would destroy a school district's model of racial integration and ensure students go to school mainly with people of their own race. We call out this "re-segregation" in Koch Brothers Exposed. The Kochs, of course, try to hide from their connection -- hoping we ignore not only their involvement in the founding and financing of AFP, but also the fact that David Koch has served as chair of the group's supposedly nonpolitical arm, the AFP Foundation. Their dissembling doesn't pass the laugh test--particularly when they've refused to open the books to show where their funding is coming from.

4) Worker rights. The Kochs have been undermining labor rights, helping anti-union Gov. Scott Walker in Wisconsin and supporting groups that want to boost employer power against employees. They also have pushed the interests of large corporations over Main Street. The Koch brothers try pathetically to attack me on that front, going back eight years to my film Wal-Mart: the High Cost of Low Price and saying a locally-owned hardware store I profiled as an example of how Wal-Mart shuts down small businesses had actually closed before the retail giant opened. Um, as the store owners said in the film, the reason it closed early was problems involving financing and reduced appraisals in light of Wal-Mart's impending arrival. This is yet another example of distorting the facts and is ultimately a distraction.

Why are the Kochs flailing so desperately in the face of our findings? Because they can't give straightforward, convincing rebuttals to the claims we lodge against them in the film. My organization, Brave New Foundation, doesn't have billions of dollars at its disposal to fight back, but this time time, the Kochs aren't getting the last word. The smears and name-calling (I'm malicious, I'm a liar, blah blah blah) may not be pleasant but won't stop the film from being shared by 25 groups partnering with us and thousands of people online.

The Koch brothers epitomize the corruption of democracy that's going on in our country, with a handful of people at the top expanding their wealth on the backs of the 99%. Americans shouldn't fall for their attempt to change the subject.

By Robert Greenwald and Jesse Lava Do all roads lead to Koch? Conservative activists will rally at the Supreme Court tomorrow to encourage the overturn of the Affordable Care Act. The “Hands Off My Health Care” protest—which will feature the likes of Rep. Michelle Bachmann and Sens. Jim DeMint and Rand Paul—is being organized by Americans for Prosperity, a right-wing group financed by industrialists Charles and David Koch. The billionaire brothers provided the seed money to get this organization off the ground and have donated at least $5 million overall (possibly a lot more) to its operations. David Koch still serves as the group’s chairman. These facts belie the image that Americans for Prosperity would like to present as a humble grassroots organization. The stories we see today about regular Americans coming to D.C. to protest evil health reform are directly attributable to the corporate interests that the Koch brothers represent. Yet the Kochs’ impact on the current court battle doesn’t end there. Group after group participating in the lawsuit to destroy the Affordable Care Act is a beneficiary of the Koch brothers’ largess—reflecting the outsized influence that these guys wield in our political debate. Indeed, one wonders whether this effort would be happening at all if not for these two billionaires with a direct interest in avoiding government regulation. One of the most important groups in this case is the National Federation of Independent Business, which is bringing one of the lawsuits now before the Supreme Court. This group has received $88,000 from the Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation, which is controlled by none other than Charles Koch. Several organizations that have filed amicus briefs with the Supreme Court have received substantial donations from the Koch family as well. These groups include: In addition, a Court-appointed attorney used a study by the Rand Corporation to show the impact of the individual mandate in the health care bill—even though Rand has received $100,000 from none other than the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation. Given this set of facts, the sheer reach of the Koch brothers in the movement to overturn health care reform is staggering. They have seeded and cultivated the very network of organizations that's now threatening to undo the most significant progressive reform in a generation. As shown in Brave New Foundation’s new film, Koch Brothers Exposed, Charles and David Koch are, in effect, holding up the conservative sky. So this week as we watch the rallies and press conferences and legal wrangling—not to mention the media pundits lavishing attention to the hubbub—let’s remember that this spectacle is not the result of some organic, grassroots outpouring of opposition to the idea that all Americans should have health insurance. It’s rooted in concentrated wealth belonging to men aiming to bend our democracy to their will.
Co-authored by Derrick Crowe

The news just keeps getting worse in Afghanistan for the United States. Brave New Foundation's Rethink Afghanistan project has warned for years that the premises of a counterinsurgency there were unrealistic and unworkable, and the ability of a handful of bad actors to completely seize control of the narrative with atrocious actions validates our warnings. The "hearts and minds" effort has completely melted down over the past few weeks, illustrating once again that this war isn't making us safer and it's not worth the costs.

Yesterday, the Taliban suspended talks with the U.S. in Qatar due to the U.S.'s failure to follow through on releasing five Taliban leaders from Guantanamo Bay. They also balked at the U.S.'s demand that the Taliban engage with the Karzai government, calling such a move "pointless." Karzai, for his part, is now demanding that U.S. troops get out -- now -- of Afghan rural areas and stay on their bases, likely in response to the butchering of 16 civilians by a U.S. military member in Kandahar.

This isn't your run-of-the-mill bad news, either:

"I'm really shocked, these are two pieces of very bad news," said one senior western diplomat in Kabul. "It's probably the bleakest day of my time here in Afghanistan."

What you are seeing is the latest of any number of indicators over the last few months that the U.S. counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan is in total collapse.

Two years into the escalated war effort, the rate of attacks initiated by insurgents continues to grow, up 14 percent in 2011 over 2010. And, when you consider that the prior year had already seen a 65 percent increase, it's clear that the promises of increased security and reduced civilian and military casualties fed to the American people by the Pentagon were just so much garbage propaganda. Lest we forget, Adm. Mike Mullen, then the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Congress in December 2009, prior to the latest escalation, that the new strategy "must -- and will -- improve security for the Afghan people and limit both future civilian and military casualties."

Since then, almost 1,000 additional U.S. troops have been killed, 10,680 have been wounded, and countless Afghans have been killed, maimed or driven from their homes by the conflict. Our government has charged us $2 billion a week for this fiasco, right in the middle of an absolutely vicious jobs crisis. Mission accomplished? Hardly. Despite the continued lies from the Pentagon, the war effort is continuing to fail to bring security to Afghanistan or stop the march of the Taliban.

This context makes the most recent litany of disasters that much more alarming:

  • January 2012: a video of U.S. Marines urinating on dead insurgents--a clear violation of U.S. military and international law--sparks widespread outrage.
  • February 20: U.S. forces burn copies of the Koran near a detention center in Parwan.
  • Massive protests break out across Afghanistan resulting in several deaths, including the execution-style killing of two American servicemembers inside a heavily guarded Afghan ministry building, likely by one of their Afghan colleagues.
  • March 11: A U.S. soldier goes on a rampage in Kandahar, killing 16 civilians before surrendering at his base.
  • Today, Karzai demanded the immediate removal of U.S. troops from rural areas as the Taliban cut off talks with the U.S.

The Associated Press analyzed Karzai's demand to remove U.S. troops from rural Afghanistan thus:

"...It would essentially mean the end of the strategy of trying to win hearts and minds by working with and protecting the local populations."

Come off it, people. We haven't even won over the hearts and minds of the security forces we're paying and training, much less the Afghan street, and the events of the last months make even saying the phrase, "hearts and minds" into a cynical joke. Protecting the population, by the way, requires you to actually reduce the total number of civilians being killed, maimed and displaced by the conflict. It's not happening.

And by the way, Karzai's not the only one who wants U.S. troops out of rural Afghanistan ASAP. A majority of Americans say they want U.S. troops out ASAP, and 60 percent say the war hasn't been worth fighting.

The war for hearts and minds is over. It's lost in Afghanistan, and it's lost at home. The president and Congress should do us all a favor and stop letting people get killed for it, and get our people out of there.

Brave New Foundation's War Costs campaign is continuing the work of our Rethink Afghanistan campaign. Please join us to stay updated on the latest news in the fight to end this war.

Follow Robert Greenwald and Derrick Crowe on Twitter.

Co-Authored by Jesse Lava The drumbeat for war in Iran is getting louder, but opposition is coming from a seemingly unlikely source: the Cato Institute. This libertarian think tank generally sides with the Right, but it has long shown an independent streak, sometimes bucking conservative orthodoxy on civil liberties, the war on drugs, and U.S. militarism. Will that change if Charles and David Koch succeed in their efforts to take over Cato? The group is locked in a legal battle with the billionaire brothers, who have filed a lawsuit to appoint two-thirds of Cato's board of directors. Today, Cato chairman Bob Levy has released a letter accusing the Kochs of trying to steer the group in a more partisan direction and compromise its independence. As detailed in Brave New Foundation's upcoming film Koch Brothers Exposed, the Kochs are indeed notoriously partisan, funding Republican politicians in each election cycle and now allegedly promising to devote more than $200 million to defeating President Obama in 2012. Although they have long been financial backers of Cato--the group was originally named the Charles Koch Foundation--this move would put the organization entirely under their control. That's scary. For now, several thinkers at Cato are opposing the rush to war with Iran and refusing to shy away from criticizing Republicans. Senior fellow Doug Bandow writes, "The consequences of any war with Iran would be extraordinary. Probably far worse than resulted from the invasion of Iraq." He assails Republican presidential candidates for their "reflexive war-mongering against Iran" because "every additional threat to attack Iran only more clearly demonstrates to Tehran the necessity of developing nuclear weapons." Malou Innocent, another foreign policy expert at Cato, says America should "ignore the hawks on Iran," including those at the more reliably right-wing American Enterprise Institute. She is also calling for a quick end to the "waste of money, effort, and, most importantly, lives" resulting from the war in Afghanistan. Independent voices like those at Cato serve a critical function in the national debate on war and peace. They show that peace is not simply the domain of progressives; it's something that Americans of any political stripe can get behind. Without such voices, progressives can more easily be marginalized and ignored. So what happens when partisans like the Koch brothers get their hands on an institution that exhibits flashes of independence? In Cato's case, we can expect that independence to evaporate. They have already tried to pack the board with people like self-proclaimed neoconservative John Hinderaker, who once wrote, "It must be very strange to be President Bush. A man of extraordinary vision and brilliance approaching to genius, he can't get anyone to notice. He is like a great painter or musician who is ahead of his time, and who unveils one masterpiece after another to a reception that, when not bored, is hostile." Does anyone think guys like that are going to preserve any hint of independence at Cato? As Alex Pareene writes at Slate, "Cato is mostly antiwar, decidedly anti-drug war, and sponsors a lot of good work on civil liberties. That ... is basically what the Kochs don't like about them, because white papers on decriminalization don't help Republicans get elected." Little by little, our democracy is coming under the thumb of those who have more and more. The Koch brothers aren't the only big shots commandeering the public debate, but they do represent the worst of this frightening trend. That's why fights like the one between Cato and the Kochs should matter to progressives: the nation's most urgent public policy decisions, including ones involving war and peace, may hang in the balance. I invite you to join the conversation on our Koch Brothers Exposed page on Facebook and follow me on Twitter.
Co-Authored by Jesse Lava As of this writing, 49 sponsors have pulled out of the Rush Limbaugh show after his repeated demeaning remarks about Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke. But of course, this isn't the first time Rush has slandered women. Or the second. Or the fifth. Or the tenth. He makes a career out of enflaming misogynistic (not to mention xenophobic, racist, and classist) passions. So with today being International Women's Day, we at Brave New Foundation are celebrating Rush Limbaugh with a mash-up of some of his greatest hits on women: Anyone who wants to contact Rush's dwindling number of sponsors to demand that they withdraw their support can find a good list here. Can each of us put another nail in the coffin of Rush's career?
My filmmaking team and I recently told the story of the small town of Crossett, Arkansas, where residents are giving powerful testimony about the prevalence of cancer in their community and linking it to a nearby chemical plant owned by Charles and David Koch. This revelation came on top of the already-known facts that the Koch brothers are among the top 10 polluters in the United States and led the charge (unsuccessfully) to keep formaldehyde from being named a carcinogen. Yet instead of cleaning up their operations, the Kochs are now attacking me personally. Just as my new film Koch Brothers Exposed is set for release, one of the Kochs' corporate spokesmen, Greg Guest, says I'm "a very, very slanted filmmaker" who has made "erroneous and false claims" about the Kochs' operations. What he fails to mention is that my office has contacted the Koch brothers numerous times for an explanation of what's false about our exposés, including the one on cancer. The billionaire brothers refused to be interviewed for the film and have yet to respond to the evidence that my team at Brave New Foundation has uncovered. We challenge the Koch brothers to engage in an honest debate. We challenge them to see the film and show one false claim. Generalizing about bias and false claims is easy; actually rebutting what we've documented is another matter. Here's the video we did on the widespread occurrence of cancer near a Koch Industries chemical plant: Respected scientist Anthony Samsel is a former consultant to Arthur D. Little, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Army Corps of Engineers. He emailed us when he saw Guest's statements, saying, "I can see that they appear to be targeting and labeling Robert as a nutcase filmmaker. Their playbook is predictable and doesn't change. For them it's just another day doing business." In Samsel's opinion, "these chemicals cause great harm to Crossett's residents" and result from the Kochs' "disregard for public safety." David Koch is a cancer survivor himself and likes to trumpet his donations to cancer research, which makes his behavior as a businessman curious. Shouldn't the Kochs be especially sensitive to the challenges faced by those with cancer? For now, they seem especially sensitive only to the need to protect their image while continuing to reap the profits of pollution. Their smears in advance of our film are understandable, of course. They're attacking us because they're getting cornered as the public learns more and more about how they're corroding our democracy. But the truth, I believe, will win out. The Kochs are right about one thing, though: I do have a slant as a filmmaker. I'm slanted in favor of the powerless against those who exploit them. I have no interest in pretending that the Kochs are acting morally when they are not. I have no interest in letting big shots get away with hypocrisy -- certainly not when it comes to a life-and-death matter like cancer. I invite you to join the conversation on our Koch Brothers Exposed page on Facebook and follow me on Twitter.
By Robert Greenwald and Jesse Lava Just in time for the release of Brave New Foundation's new film, Koch Brothers Exposed, Rush Limbaugh has thrown in with Charles and David Koch in their letter war with Obama campaign manager Jim Messina. No surprise there; Rush has made his fortune defending the rich and powerful against the 99%. But does Rush actually have a vested interest in the Koch brothers' success? The letter war started when Messina sent a fundraising letter saying the billionaire brothers bankroll "Tea Party extremism" and manipulate oil prices to buttress their energy business. The Kochs responded that Obama was treading on their "right to free speech." (To them, I guess, being criticized by the president is tantamount to being arrested for sedition.) Team Obama shot back again, and here we are. Rush has taken to the airwaves and lauded the Kochs. "This is how you do it," he says. And on the surface, the reason for Rush's apologetics is straightforward enough: he's a man of the Right, and so are the Koch brothers. But below the surface of this defense lies a much more complex and insidious truth. The fact is that Rush needs the Kochs,and the Kochs need Rush. Limbaugh is, fundamentally, a mouthpiece for conservative propaganda. He's not a researcher. He's not a grassroots organizer. He's a mouthpiece. And where would he be without propaganda to spout? He has to get his ideas from somewhere. He can't feed the right-wing echo chamber that's hijacking our democracy if someone isn't feeding him first. That's where the Kochs come in. The video we made with Sen. Bernie Sanders reveals the Kochs' general method, whether Limbaugh is involved or not: fund an army of right-wing organizations so that politicians and pundits know exactly what to say: Americans for Prosperity, the Heritage Foundation, the Federalist Society, Manhattan Institute: the list of Koch-backed groups goes on and on. And when such groups badmouth Social Security, say, or worker rights, that gives people like Limbaugh something to talk about. The reverse is true too: without people like Rush -- or, for that matter, Fox News's Megyn Kelly and Laura Ingraham, who also just defended the Koch brothers against Obama -- the Kochs could never spread their pro-corporate ideology as far and wide as they have. That's why the Kochs provide the financial fuel that lets these people yap their trap. The propagandists need the funders, and vice versa. Koch Brothers Exposed goes into detail on exactly how this echo chamber works. The reality is that corruption doesn't happen mainly when a rich guy wangles a quid-pro-quo from a politician in a smoke-filled room. It happens when interests align so that powerful people have an incentive to stick up for each other and keep things just the way they are. So are the Koch brothers funding Limbaugh? I'm not sure Rush has ever sent them an invoice. But he doesn't have to. And that's what's so insidious about what the Kochs do. I invite you to join the conversation on our Koch Brothers Exposed page on Facebook and follow me on Twitter.
This article was co-authored by Robert Greenwald and Derrick Crowe

As violence continues following the burning of Korans by ISAF in Afghanistan, insiders in Washington, D.C. and in the media are wasting quite a bit of breath asking the rhetorical question, "Why aren't the apologies working?" Military commanders in Afghanistan apologized profusely, President Obama exposed himself to the demagoguery of Republican primary opponents with his own apology. Why does the violence continue?

For the professionally clueless (and by this I mean the people in the insider press and the consensus peddlers in D.C.), let's make this simple:

  1. The specific offense is a deeply serious affront to highly conservative Afghan sensibilities. Can you imagine what would happen at Pastor John Hagee's church the day after an Islamic military force stationed in San Antonio set a stack of Christian Bibles on fire?
  2. More importantly, the Koran burnings ignited a highly volatile mix of hostility created over years of constant offenses inherent in a long-term occupation and the specifics of U.S. military policies in Afghanistan. As anyone who's ever been in any kind of relationship will tell you, saying sorry when you do wrong is necessary, but when your partner knows the bad behaviors will continue, sorry doesn't cut it.

The military forces in Afghanistan is well aware of the factors generating such intense anti-American hostility. Here's an excerpt from a declassified U.S. Army report from 2011 (.pdf) focusing just on the anti-Americanism rampant in the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) we're paying to train:

ANSF members identified numerous social, cultural and operational grievances they have with US. Soldiers. Factors that created animosity were reviewed through a content analysis that measured frequency and intensity of the perceived grievances. Factors that fueled the most animosity included US. convoys not allowing traffic to pass, reportedly indiscriminant [sic] return U.S. fire that causes civilian casualties, naively using flawed intelligence sources, US. Forces conducting night raids/home searches, violating female privacy during searches, US. road blocks, publicly searching/disarming ANSF members as an SOP when they enter bases, and past massacres of civilians by U.S. Forces (i.e., the Wedding Party Massacre, the Shinwar Massacre, etc.). Other issues that led to altercations or near~altercations (including many self-reported near¬ fratricide incidents) included urinating in public, their cursing at, insulting and being rude and vulgar to ANSF members, and unnecessarily shooting animals. They found many U.S. Soldiers to be extremely arrogant, bullying, unwilling to listen to their advice, and were often seen as lacking concern for civilian and ANSF safety during combat. CAT 1 interpreters' (n=30)views were similar to the ANSF's.

For the record, the feeling is mutual:

U.S. Soldiers' (n=215) views of ANSF, particularly of the ANA, were also collected; they were extremely negative. They reported pervasive illicit drug use, massive thievery, personal instability, dishonesty, no integrity, incompetence, unsafe weapons handling, corrupt officers, no real NCO corps, covert alliances/informal treaties with insurgents, high AWOL rates, bad morale, laziness, repulsive hygiene and the torture of dogs. Perceptions of civilians were also negative stemming from their insurgent sympathies and cruelty towards women and children.

So here we have a war that's lasted longer than a decade, peddled to the public and the politicians as primarily a war for "hearts and minds" in which our "local partners" would be built up and handed a country as we declare victory. Only, it turns out that after all this time, all these lives, and all this money, not only have we not won over the Afghan street, we've not even won over the hearts and minds of the people we're giving guns and paychecks. Sorry--"not won over" is an amazing understatement. Not only have we not won over the ANSF, but a great many of them are killing U.S. military officers. In many cases, they're killing the officers training them. The Army's report goes on to disclose, emphasis ours:

Of note, during the last six month period (November, 2010 through April, 2011) Westerners stationed within Afghanistan's N2KL region (Nangarhar, Nuristan, Kunar and Laghman provinces) who regularly interact and/or train with ANSFs have been over 150 times more likely to be murdered by an ANSF member than a U.S. police officer is to be murdered in the line of duty by all perpetrators (see Appendix B, pg. 59 for calculation); this excludes the additional risks associated with regular combat for these coalition personnel. Further, such ANSF fratricide-murders represent 30% of all U.S. field grade officer hostile deaths in Afghanistan (7 of 23), 25% of all hostile U.S. female military deaths (4 of 16) and over 50% of all hostile U.S.A.F. officer deaths (7 of 13).
...However, the common refrain from many ISAF political and military officials has been that such murder incidents between ANSF and ISAF are ''isolated'' and "extremely rare." Such proclamations seem disingenuous, if not profoundly intellectually dishonest.

As we at Brave New Foundation have been saying for years through our Rethink Afghanistan project, the Afghanistan War isn't making us safer and it's not worth the cost. In fact, the military-first policy in Afghanistan is so extraordinarily broken that it leads to U.S. military officers sitting in the middle of heavily guarded Afghan ministries being killed execution style before their killers apparently just walk out the door unmolested by their colleagues working in largely U.S.-funded government jobs.

Any politician standing in the way of a highly accelerated withdrawal--the blindingly obvious right move--deserves a taxpayer funded paycheck about as much as Hamid Karzai or a security guard at the Afghan interior ministry. For God's sake, get out and bring our troops, our money and our attention home.

Join Brave New Foundation's War Costs campaign to help get our troops and our dollars home.

Follow Robert Greenwald and Derrick Crowe on Twitter.

Even in an Occupy world, most Americans don’t know exactly how the 1% does what it does. The mainstream media hasn’t explained it, and the 1% likes things that way. That’s why we’ve created a new video series unmasking those in the 1% who are exploiting the 99%—name by name, fact by fact. Each short video—one minute apiece—lays out the truth about a different tycoon. These aren’t opinions; these are facts, condensed into bite-sized chunks. Occupy has already revealed the country’s widespread outrage at the 1%; now it’s time for the plutocracy’s dirty deeds to be common knowledge. The best part? Brave New Foundation’s audience chose the people we’re highlighting. We solicited suggestions on nominees, narrowed them down to 30, and let our audience vote on which ones they thought deserved to be exposed. The new videos represent five of the top vote-getters, with more videos on the way for the rest. Here’s one: Of course, the 1% would like to keep its activities shrouded in secrecy. Hiding behind complicated phraseology like “collateralized debt obligation” makes it hard for the public to bust you. But you don’t have to be a financier to understand how these guys operate. Our first set of videos gives it straight on Rob Walton of Walmart, Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs, Pete Peterson of the Blackstone Group, Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase, and Rupert Murdoch of News Corp. Little by little, the 99% is chipping away at the 1%’s power. Watch the video series to get the basics on how that power is being wielded.