Thursday, December 30, 2010

Afghan War: Who Will Speak for the Antiwar Majority?


Latest Polls: 63% of Americans

Oppose War in Afghanistan

Amanda Terkel

By Amanda Terkel

Beaver County Peace Links via Huffington Post

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Opposition to the war in Afghanistan is at an all-time high, with 63 percent of the public now opposed to U.S. involvement there, according to a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey. Just 35 percent of survey respondents say they still support U.S. involvement.

The increase in opposition to U.S. involvement comes as pessimism about how the war is going is rising. According to a poll done Dec. 17-19, 56 percent of the public believes that "things are going badly for the U.S. in Afghanistan."

"The war has not always been unpopular -- back in March, when a majority thought that the war was going well, the country was evenly divided. But by September, the number who said that things were going well for the U.S. in Afghanistan had dropped to 44 percent, and opposition to the war had grown to 58 percent," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Today, with Americans remaining pessimistic about the situation in Afghanistan, they also remain opposed to the war."

Monday, December 27, 2010

Note to Obama: Make a U-Turn on War


Your tax dollars rendered into junk in Afghanistan—but for some, it’s just more demand and more profit

[The following can easily be turned into a flyer for a peace group, or just pick any point and expand on it for a local ‘Letter to the Editor’]


Top Ten Myths about Afghanistan, 2010

By Juan Cole
Informed Consent, 12/27/2010
via Beaver County Peace Links

10. "There has been significant progress [1] in tamping down the insurgency in Afghanistan."

[A group of Afghans outside a market in Bamiyan province, Afghanistan, on June 8, 2008. Public opinion polls show that support for the U.S. military is only slightly higher than support for Osama bin Laden. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)]A group of Afghans outside a market in Bamiyan province, Afghanistan, on June 8, 2008. Public opinion polls show that support for the U.S. military is only slightly higher than support for Osama bin Laden. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

9. Afghans want the US and NATO troops to stay in their country because they feel protected by them.

* Fact: In a recent [pdf] poll, only 36% of Afghans [2] said they were confident that US troops could provide security. Only 32% of Afghans now have a favorable view of the United States over-all.

8. The "surge" and precision air strikes are forcing the Taliban to the negotiating [3] table.

* Fact: The only truly high-ranking Taliban leader thought to have engaged in parleys with the US, Mulla Omar's number 2, turns out to have been a fraud and a con man [4].

7. The US presence in Afghanistan is justified by the September 11 attacks.

* Fact: In Helmand and Qandahar Provinces, a poll found that 92% of male residents had never heard of 9/11. [5]

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Do We Really Need Another Korean War?




By Harry Targ
Heartland Radical via Beaver County Peace Links

"We continue to send a message to the North. There is another way. There is a way that can benefit the people of the North," Mrs. Clinton said alongside Mr. Gates on Wednesday, as they stood just feet away from leering North Korean soldiers stationed across the North-South border. "But until they change direction, the United States stands firmly on behalf of the people and government of the Republic of Korea." (Jay Solomon, Wall Street Journal, July 22, 2010).   Graphic: US Korean War Propaganda Poster

In a political about-face, a South Korean commission investigating a century of human rights abuses has ruled that the U.S. military's large-scale killing of refugees during the Korean War, in case after case, arose out of military necessity.

Shutting down the inquiry into South Korea's hidden history, the commission also will leave unexplored scores of suspected mass graves believed to hold remains of tens of thousands of South Korean political detainees summarily executed by their own government early in the 1950-53 war, sometimes as U.S. officers watched.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Proto-Fascist Update: Why Are We Paying for War Crimes Training?

Islam-Bashing Bigots Train Counterrorism Agents

By Chip Berlet
Huffington Post via Progressive America Rising

"Kill them...including the children."

That's how to solve the threat of militant Muslims?

This quote is from what one official involved in homeland security said was the theme of a speech by Walid Shoebat at an anti-terrorism training in Las Vegas in October 2010.

Our source had turned around after Shoebat's speech and asked the woman in the chair behind them at the conference what she though was the solution offered by Shoebat.

"Kill them...including the heard him," was the full response.

Shoebat's Las Vegas speech was described by our source as "frightening."

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tom Hayden on Why the Peace Movement Needs a Peace Candidate in 2012



Don't Believe the Reviews:

Where We Really Are in Afghanistan

Tom Hayden
Beaver County Peace Links via

Dec. 15, 2010 - Early last month, a White House official predicted that the Obama administration's review of Afghanistan "will not suggest alternatives if aspects of the policy are found to be failing."

Got that right.

And Congress went along, with a handful of noble exceptions, in keeping the war off the agenda during the long midterm elections.

Robert Greenwald and Derrick Crowe's excellent review of the administration's "non-review" is here.

Let's concentrate on these facts of the last two years, and share them with other Americans.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

For the Scott Sisters, It’s Still Mississippi God Damn

Leonard Pitts Jr column:

Scott sisters may or may not be guilty

— But Mississippi surely is


By Leonard Pitts Jr.

Progressive America Rising

Let's assume they did it.

Let's assume that two days before Christmas in 1993, a 22-year-old black woman named Jamie Scott and her pregnant, 19-year-old sister, Gladys, set up an armed robbery. Let's assume these single mothers lured two men to a spot outside the tiny town of Forest, Miss., where three teenage boys, using a shotgun the sisters supplied, relieved the men of $11 and sent them on their way, unharmed.

Assume all of the above is true, and still you must be shocked at the crude brutality of the Scott sisters' fate. You see, the sisters, neither of whom had a criminal record before this, are still locked away in state prison, having served 16 years of their double-life sentences.

It bears repeating. Each sister is doing double life for a robbery in which $11 was taken and nobody was hurt. Somewhere, the late Nina Simone is moaning her signature song: "Mississippi Goddam."

Thursday, December 9, 2010

War’s Reality and Superpower Blinders

Film: The War You Don’t See

An Interview with John Pilger

John Pilger has clear views about the duty of journalists. True to form, his latest film pulls no punches. He talks to New Internationalist on the eve of its release, via Beaver County Peace Links.

NI: What’s The War You Don't See about?

JP: The film asks: ‘What is the role of the media in rapacious wars like Iraq and Afghanistan? Why do so many journalists beat the drums of war and not challenge the spin and lies of governments? And how are the crimes of war reported and justified when they are our crimes?’ It’s a film about truth and justice.

In the opening sequence, I refer to David Lloyd George, Britain’s prime minister during much of the First World War, who had a private chat with the editor of The Guardian, CP Scott, at the height of the carnage. ‘If people really knew the truth,’ said Lloyd George, ‘the war would be stopped tomorrow. But of course they don’t know and can’t know.’ My film is about people’s right to know.

It has always seemed odd to me that as journalists we examine people’s professional lives, but not our own. We treasure our myths. Edmund Burke called the press a ‘fourth estate’ that would check the other great institutions of democracy. It was a quintessentially liberal view. It was also romantic nonsense – honourable exceptions aside. Up till the arrival of the corporate press at the turn of the 20th century, newspapers were often fiercely independent and saw themselves as voices of ordinary people. The media – press and broadcasting – has long since become an extension of the established order, and frequently its mouthpiece and valet.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Will CyberWars Help End the Ground Wars?


WikiLeaks Versus the Empire

By Tom Hayden

Beaver County Peace Links via The Nation 

Nov. 30, 2010 - Informed sources say that the current deluge of WikiLeaks documents will continue for another week and grow in significance.
Leading US human rights lawyers, Leonard Weinglass and Michael Ratner, have joined the defense team for Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.

US officials are employing cyber-warfare and prosecutorial steps to deny any safe haven for the WikiLeaks operation with a fervor comparable to their drone attacks on Al Qaeda havens in Pakistan and Yemen.

Two cyber-attacks have been reported against WikiLeaks servers this week. The Justice Department is seeking indictments on espionage charges from a grand jury quietly impaneled this week in arch-conservative Alexandria, Virginia. Assange is in London, facing rape and sexual harassment charges in Sweden, on which he claims to be innocent. Extradition could be sought by the United States at any time from either venue.

Why is this drama important? Not because of “life-threatening” leaks as claimed by the establishment, but because the closed doors of power need to be open to public review. We live increasingly in an Age of Secrecy, as described by Garry Wills in Bomb Power, among recent books. It has become the American Way of War, and increasingly draws the curtains over American democracy itself. The wars in Pakistan and Yemen are secret wars. The war in Afghanistan is dominated by secret US Special Operations raids and killings. The CIA has its own secret army in Afghanistan. Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s entire record in Iraq was classified. The CIA has its own secret army in Afghanistan. And so on, ad nauseam.

And what is the purpose of all the secrecy? As Howard Zinn always emphasized, the official fear was that the American people might revolt if we knew the secrets being kept from us. In Rolling Stone’s expose of McChrystal’s war this year, one top military adviser said, “if Americans pulled back and started paying attention to this war, it would become even less popular.” McChrystal himself joked about sending out Special Forces units to kill at night then having to “scold” them in the morning.

And revolt we should, against those who would keep the affairs of empire shrouded. We should not be distracted by the juicy tidbits that may or may not be better left unreported. The focus of Congressional hearings and journalistic investigation should be on matters of public policy in which the American people are being lied to, most notably these:

“We’ll continue saying the bombs are ours, not yours” – Yemen’s Ali Abdullah Saleh to Gen. David Petraeus.

“Note: while we must deal with AWK [Ahmed Wali Karzai] as the head of the Provincial Council [of Kandahar], he is widely understood to be corrupt and a narcotics trafficker." – Cable 09KABUL3068.

The military coup in Honduras was completely illegal, but we supported the coup-makers anyway:

The Embassy perspective is that there is no doubt that the military, Supreme Court and National Congress conspired on June 28 in what constituted an illegal and unconstitutional coup against the Executive Branch… There is equally no doubt from our perspective that Roberto Micheletti's assumption of power was illegitimate.  

Without public outcry, don’t expect anyone to be following up on these shocking revelations. Instead, there will be a continuing escalation of the cyber-warfare and legal persecution of WikiLeaks and Assange.

The Washington Times is calling for “waging war” on the WikiLeaks Web presence. The new chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, Rep. Peter King, wants to designate WikiLeaks as a foreign terrorist organization, which would block credit card donations to the organization and criminalize any civic support or even free legal advice under the Patriot Act, according to King. The military already holds Pfc. Bradley Manning in isolation on charges of having downloaded the files.

The Pentagon’s Cyber Command is allowed to conduct “full-spectrum military cyberspace operations in order to enable actions in all domains” – which author Declan McCullagh of CNET says “includes destroying electronic infrastructure as thoroughly as a B-52 bombing would level a power plant.”
This may sound alarmist, but does anyone seriously expect the US government, and its global allies, to permit more revelations to leak out week after week, month after month, in what Der Spiegel already calls “nothing short of a political meltdown for US foreign policy.”

What can be done?

Activists and the independent media can intensify a de facto teach-in, or national town meeting, to discuss the content of the documents far and wide;
Civic society must be persuaded through widespread discussion that this controversy is about the security of the elites, not national security;
Civil liberties lawyers need to join Weinglass and Ratner in the legal defense of Assange, Manning and the organization as a whole. An Ecuadoran official has offered his country as safe haven; others should follow;

Activists should demand immediate investigations of such issues as the cover-up of American bombing in Yemen, and oppose the current official mood of killing the messenger.

And remember: there are 250,000 more cables to go. This may be a long and strange campaign. 

Article originally appeared on (

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Monday, November 29, 2010

Solidarity and Hope: The Ongoing Saga To Close ‘School of the Assassins’


Bearing Witness, Making Solidarity:

5000 Turn Out vs. Torture and Murder

At Fort Benning’s ‘School of the Americas’

By Carl Davidson

CCDS Field Organizer

The annual School of the Americas Watch vigil and procession are a unique and powerful event in America political life

Going on for 20 years now, the mobilization against the training of torturers and killers in Fort Benning, GA is part peace mobilization, part solidarity with Latin America event, part religious pageant, part public face of the Catholic left, and part gathering of the tribes for newly radicalized youth. The gathering draws thousands of people, including nuns and priests, veterans and labor organizers, along with other peace and solidarity activists. They all come for a two-day creative mixture of diverse events that leaves everyone politically transformed and emotionally peaked.

This year’s event was no different. Over the weekend of Nov 19-21, close to 5000 people took part is a series of colorful and dramatic actions. Thirty were arrested and held several days by police. Four of these were arrested after intentionally committing civil disobedience by climbing over a fence topped with barbed wire at the entrance to Fort Benning. Others were arrested for simply straying off a sidewalk in an attempt to march to downtown Columbus, GA. Local courts imposed heavy fines and maximum sentences.

Why is the U.S military training torturers and death squads? The answer is an old one: wealth, power and intimidated, non-union labor.

“For the past several decades, the US has allied with dictators in Latin America who helped that region’s small, elite group of wealthy landowners,” said SOAW founder Father Roy Bourgeois, a Louisiana native, who lives just outside the gates of the school in Fort Benning where he carries on his work.

“We got involved militarily with these countries because they were rich in natural resources, with coffee in Colombia, bananas in Central America, copper in Chile, petroleum in Venezuela and tin in Bolivia. With their militaries, the U.S. joined with them to exploit those natural resources and to pay workers $1 a day. There were no labor laws there,” Bourgeois noted. “We were like the new conquistadors.”

The high point of the weekend was the Sunday procession of thousands, each carrying a white cross with the name of a slain Latin American peasant, worker or child, and a number of priests and nuns, including Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero, slain by those trained in Fort Benning’s SOA facility. Teams of singers mournfully sang the names and ages, and after each one, everyone raised their crosses, and answered with the classic salute of the living to those who have fallen in battle: “Presente!”

The procession lasted for hours as the column of mourners bearing crosses of the dead walked from the front of the stage up one side of the street to the police barriers and back down the other side of the street to the back of the stage. There they placed the crosses into the chain link fence blocking the entrance to the military base. Many mourners cried. Some raised their fists. Some knelt in prayer or meditation as the singing of the names and the chant of “Presente!” continued. Behind the stage a theatre group staged a scene of murdered members of a religious order, their bodies spattered with blood. Others snapped pictures or stood quietly.

Hands Off the DPRK, No More War!

US Troops Using Blimp to Practice Airborne Jumps in Korea

Keeping Perspective on North Korea

By Matthew Rothschild
Beaver County Peace Links
via The Progressive - Nov 27, 2010

When the current Korean crisis emerged, I immediately contacted the wisest person I know on the subject. His name is Gene Matthews, and he spent decades in South Korea as a missionary who was active in the pro-democracy movement there.

He's a contributor to a great new book called "More Than Witnesses: How a Small Group of Missionaries Aided Korea's Democratic Revolution."

Here's what he has to say about the current standoff.

"North Korea has always felt threatened by joint military exercises of the U.S. and South Korea, and has always protested against them," he says. "This time, North Korea stated that the exercises were taking place in North Korean territory and that if shots were fired during the exercise they would retaliate. Shots were fired (not at the North, it should be pointed out but out toward the ocean) and the North retaliated."

What's saddest about this standoff, he says, is that it shows how far relations have slid in the last fifteen years.

Korea Crisis: Need For Talking, Not fighting

Kim Jon IL Greets Madeline Albright

North Korea's

Consistent Message

to the U.S.

By Jimmy Carter
Washington Post
Nov 24, 2010

No one can completely understand the motivations of the North Koreans, but it is entirely possible that their recent revelation of their uranium enrichment centrifuges and Pyongyang's shelling of a South Korean island Tuesday are designed to remind the world that they deserve respect in negotiations that will shape their future. Ultimately, the choice for the United States may be between diplomatic niceties and avoiding a catastrophic confrontation.

Dealing effectively with North Korea has long challenged the United States. We know that the state religion of this secretive society is "juche," which means self-reliance and avoidance of domination by others. The North's technological capabilities under conditions of severe sanctions and national poverty are surprising. Efforts to display its military capability through the shelling of Yeongpyeong and weapons tests provoke anger and a desire for retaliation. Meanwhile, our close diplomatic and military ties with South Korea make us compliant with its leaders' policies.

The North has threatened armed conflict before. Nearly eight years ago, I wrote on this page about how in June 1994 President Kim Il Sung expelled International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors and proclaimed that spent fuel rods could be reprocessed into plutonium. Kim threatened to destroy Seoul if increasingly severe sanctions were imposed on his nation.

Desiring to resolve the crisis through direct talks with the United States, Kim invited me to Pyongyang to discuss the outstanding issues. With approval from President Bill Clinton, I went, and reported the positive results of these one-on-one discussions to the White House. Direct negotiations ensued in Geneva between a U.S. special envoy and a North Korean delegation, resulting in an "agreed framework" that stopped North Korea's fuel-cell reprocessing and restored IAEA inspection for eight years.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

New Survey: Most Afghans Unaware US Invaded Because of 9/11

Afghan War and Its Mindsets

Ignorance There … and Here


Beaver County Peace Links via Kasama

The International Council on Security and Development (ICOS), a think tank with offices in London, New Delhi, Rio de Janeiro and Sharjah (UAE) has just released the results of a survey involving 1500 Afghan men interviewed in October. Conducted in the northern provinces of Parwan and Panjshir, and the southern provinces of Helmand and Kandahar, it contains a major surprise.

92% of respondents in the Pashtun-dominated south are unaware of 9/11 events, or their relationship to the presence of foreign troops.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised at the 92% figure. After all, Afghanistan is one of the least literate societies on earth, and  a 2005 report indicated that any “press is scarce in rural areas.” The radio is the most widely used method of communication in Afghanistan, but there are fewer radios per capita than in any other country on earth.

There are only 5.6 radios per 1000 people in the country. (Bhutan, ranks immediately ahead of Afghanistan on a list of 212 nations. There there are three times as many radios—16.5—per 1000 people. In Haiti and Somalia there are more than 50 radios per 1000 people.) The Afghans are not just benighted in their illiteracy, but terribly lacking in access to basic communications technology.

As we will see the illiteracy problem, and general lack of education, has become a major headache for the invaders who arrogantly toppled the old regime and imposed an occupation seeking to remake Afghan society.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

How ‘Whiteness’ Dehumanizes Everyone

Rediscovering 'The Souls of White Folk'

90 years later in the era of the Tea Party

By Bill Fletcher, Jr.

Progressive America Rising

“But what on earth is whiteness that one should so desire it?”  Then always, somehow, some way, silently but clearly, I am given to understand that whiteness is the ownership of the earth forever and ever, Amen!

—W.E.B. Dubois, from “The Souls of White Folk”

I am not sure what led me back to it.  I had read W.E.B. Dubois’s The Souls of White Folk (originally published in Darkwater: Voices from Within the Veil, 1920) years ago.  At the time I was moved by this often ignored essay but simply filed it away in the recesses of my memory.

Yet I returned to it.  I had been thinking about right-wing populism and white nationalism in the USA and at some point I found myself Googling this piece.  There were three things that immediately struck me:  (1) by coincidence, it was published exactly 90 years ago, (2) it read, in many respects, as if it had been written yesterday, and (3) it was both passionate and poetic in its style, but equally biting in its critique of white supremacy and imperialism.

“The Souls of White Folk” was an essay written in the aftermath of World War I and the despicable Versailles Treaty of 1919 which formally ended the war.  Mainstream historians often focus on the mean-spirited punishment that the Allied Powers brought upon Germany, thereby laying the foundation for World War II.  Little attention is given, however, to the hypocritical attitude of the Allied Powers with respect to the colonial world, the ‘darker races,’ to borrow from the title of Vijay Prashad’s excellent book.  Representatives of the colonial world (including from Black America) gathered in Versailles to ascertain whether the Allied Powers (USA, Britain, France, Italy) would be true to their commitment to support the right of national self-determination.  The future leader of the Vietnamese Revolution, Ho Chi Minh, was one such person who made the trek to Versailles, hoping that Vietnam, and the rest of Indochina, would secure self-determination.

Monday, November 15, 2010

‘Jobs Not War’ Is the Progressive Caucus Priority


Progressive Caucus

Co-Chair Vows Dems

Democrats Won't Roll

Over to the GOP

In an exclusive interview, Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), co-chair of the Progressive House Caucus, talks with New American Media Political Analyst and Huffington Post Contributor Earl Ofari Hutchinson about the group's strategy in the new, Republican-controlled House. The interview was conducted by New America Media.

Many are not familiar with the Progressive House Caucus. How big is it?

LW: We had 83 members before the election. It is bicameral, with House and Senate members. It's by far the largest caucus in Congress. We lost four members this election. But we also gained a couple of new members. We will not have less than 80 members in the next Congress. The Blue Dog Democrats lost almost two-thirds of their members.

What are the major issues that the Caucus will press Congress and the Obama Administration on?

LW: It is clear that we represent the heart and soul of the Democratic Party. So, the first item is jobs. We have to have a robust jobs bill. One that we should have had when President Obama first took office and his popularity was at its height. He had a big majority in the House and Senate. We would have doubled the amount of money allocated for the jobs bill that came out of the House, which the Senate cut to shreds. The other priority is combating the notion that the timetable for ending the Afghanistan War is 2014. The war is killing our budget, killing our people, and killing our relations with our allies.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

US Military Faces Checkmate in Afghan ‘Great Game’

Britain's Top Soldier Says

al-Qaeda Cannot Be Beaten

The new head of Britain's armed forces, Gen Sir David Richards, has warned that the West cannot defeat al-Qaeda and militant Islam.

By Sean Rayment

Beaver County Peace Links via Telegraph (UK)

Nov 13, 2010 - He said defeating Islamist militancy was "unnecessary and would never be achieved".

However, he argued that it could be "contained" to allow Britons to lead secure lives.

Gen Richards, 58, said the threat posed by "al-Qaeda and its affiliates" meant Britain's national security would be at risk for at least 30 years.

The general, who will tomorrow lay a wreath at the Cenotaph in Whitehall in memory of Britain's war dead, said the West's war against what he described as a "pernicious ideology" had parallels with the fight against Nazi Germany in the Second World War.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Afghan War: No Patience for Obama’s Foot Dragging


The Drain of Blood, Taxes

and Hope in Afghanistan

By Tom Hayden

Beaver County Peace Links

A version of this article originally appeared in The Nation on Nov. 12, 2010.

Persistent waffling on dates for American troop withdrawals has eroded any remaining patience with the Obama White House among peace activists and voters, a majority of whom favors a timeline for US troop withdrawals. 

Nancy Youssef of McClatchy reports that the White House has decided to de-emphasize its pledge to begin withdrawing US forces by next July, and adopt a new goal of withdrawing by 2014. The New York Times on Nov. 11 described the new policy as “effectively a victory for the military.” Seeming to miss the point entirely, the White House immediately declared it was “crystal clear” that there will be no change to the July 2011 date for beginning the drawdown.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Warning to Obama: This Is A Government of War and Austerity Few Will Defend

McCain, Lieberman Urge Obama

to Drop 2011 Afghan Drawdown Date

Warren P. Strobel
Beaver County Peace Links via McClatchy Newspapers

Nov. 10, 2010 - KABUL, Afghanistan — A delegation of four U.S. senators, asserting that the U.S. counterinsurgency is making headway in Afghanistan, heightened pressure Wednesday on President Barack Obama to abandon his pledge that the United States would begin withdrawing troops in July 2011, a deadline that seems increasingly wobbly.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said Obama was "wrong to set the date of July, mid-2011," to begin a phased withdrawal of roughly 100,000 U.S. troops. He said the president should unequivocally state that any U.S. pullback would be based on conditions in the country.

"He hasn't done that to my satisfaction," McCain said.

Offering a different perspective, Sen. Joseph Lieberman, a Connecticut independent, told reporters that the 2011 date should not be a focal point.

"A better date to think about is 2014," he said, when Afghan President Hamid Karzai has proposed that Afghanistan take control of its own security.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Setting Aside Despair: Time for the Us to Get Serious About Ourselves

Van Jones: We Must Prepare for Battle

By Adele M. Stan
Progressive America Rising via AlterNet, Nov. 9, 2010

In a darkened space bedecked with impressionistic portraits of the progressive movement's great heroes, Van Jones -- community organizer, environmental activist and erstwhile presidential adviser -- steps onto a tiny stage that has just been warmed up by two local teenage poets and graced by Amy Goodman, the voice of Pacifica Radio's "Democracy Now!" The audience is filled with Washington activists, including the comedian and civil rights leader Dick Gregory, CodePink founder Medea Benjamin and Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr., president of the Hip-Hop Caucus.

The room is packed, and a line snakes along the sidewalk outside Busboys and Poets, a restaurant designed as a gathering place for progressives, even as the event begins.

In a passionate speech focused mainly on the costs and horrors of America's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Goodman sets the stage for Jones' talk by imploring activists to organize. While a portrait of Rosa Parks by Anna Rose Soevik glimmers behind her, Goodman debunks the mythology surrounding the woman whose refusal to give up her seat on a bus sparked the civil rights movement. "Yes, she was a tired seamstress," Goodman says, "but Rosa Parks was an organizer."

It's the evening after the big Rally to Restore Sanity hosted by Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, and an odd mixture of exhilaration and anxiety fills the room -- the thrill of having been part of a gathering of like-minded people who flooded the National Mall in a repudiation of the harsh rhetoric of the Tea Party and cable news media, and anxiety about the Republican tide about to come crashing into the nation's capital in the midterm elections.

Jones has taken the temperature; he knows the score. But he's not about to let anybody off the hook.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Wars Make Us Poor, Block New Job Creation

Philadelphia Town Meeting For Jobs Not Wars is a Rousing Success

By John Grant

Over 100 people attended the eight-hour Town Meeting For Jobs Not Wars on Saturday, October 30th from 9AM to 3PM in an auditorium at Philadelphia Community College. On the same day, Jon Stewart had a major rally in Washington D.C. and President Obama made an appearance at Temple University in Philadelphia.

Organizers from the Coalition For Jobs Not Wars, the group that sponsored the town meeting, declared it a rousing success and a propitious beginning for the newly created coalition. So far, the coalition is made up of 13 Philadelphia community and activist groups. The list is expected to grow in the coming weeks and months. A follow-up meeting will be scheduled soon to evaluate the meeting and plan for the future.

The Town Meeting featured twelve speakers divided into morning and afternoon panels. US Congressman Chaka Fattah was one of the speakers. The speakers focused on the need to finance job programs, alternative energy development and other domestic needs.

Elections, The Israeli Lobby and U.S. Interests

The Nobleman and the Horse

By Uri Avnery
Beaver County Peace Links via Ma'an News Agency

Nov. 6, 2010 -  “HALF AND HALF,” the late Prime Minister, Levi Eshkol, is said to have answered, when asked whether he wanted tea or coffee.

This joke was intended to parody his hesitation on the eve of the Six-day War. (Though secret documents published this week show Eshkol in a very different light.)

The American public now resembles the man in the joke. They sent to Washington a large group of Tea Party types, but the coffee drinkers in the White house are still in control.

The Israeli leadership did not know how to treat the results of this election. Are they good for the Jews or bad for the Jews?

THE BIG winner of the American election is none other than Binyamin Netanyahu.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Shades of Difference Dept: GOP on Afghan War



Republicans want Troops in Afghanistan to Stay

Beaver county Peace Links via DAWN.COM / Pakistan

Nov 5 2010 - WASHINGTON: Republican lawmakers who now control the US House of Representatives said on Thursday that they would try to prevent President Barack Obama from withdrawing American troops from Afghanistan as he planned.

Congressman Buck McKeon, who will now take over the House Armed Services Committee from the Democrats, has also announced his party’s plan for Afghanistan and Iraq. He said that under the Republicans the committee’s top priority would be to continue the US military presence in Afghanistan. Mr McKeon pledged to work directly with Gen David Petraeus, the US commander in Afghanistan, to commit more equipment and resources to the war effort.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Wars Are Unwinnable and Unjust


Elections a Setback for Peace

By Tom Hayden

The Peace and Justice Resource Center

Nov 3, 2010 - The November election was a setback for the peace movement, not only because of the defeat of Senator Russ Feingold but for deeper reasons.

Both parties collaborated in keeping Afghanistan out of the national election debate and media coverage - while during the period June-November alone, 274 American soldiers were killed and 2,934 were wounded on the battlefield.

[The official American toll under Obama in Afghanistan has reached 732 deaths and 6,480 wounded; the taxpayer costs under Obama are currently $12.5 billion per month, and Obama estimates $113 billion in direct costs/per year at current U.S. troop levels of 100,000.]

Democratic candidates this year chose not to use Afghanistan-Iraq as an issue perhaps because they have become Obama's wars. According to the New York Times, the US even plans to orchestrate an invitation to remain in Iraq after the current 2011 deadline, but desperately wanted to keep the controversy out of the election debates. [NYT, Aug. 18]

Sunday, October 24, 2010

War Secrets: Democracy Now with Ellsberg

WikiLeaks' Latest Document Dump

Is Largest Intel Leak in US History

Daniel Ellsberg: I've Waited 40 Years for This

The US government is racing to prepare for the fallout

October 22, 2010  |  

The whistleblowing group WikiLeaks has released up to 400,000 US intelligence reports on the Iraq War. The disclosure is the biggest leak in US history, far more than the 91,000 Afghanistan war logs WikiLeaks released this summer. Democracy Now! spoke to the nation’s most famous whistleblower, Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the secret history of the Vietnam War in 1971, just before he headed to London to participate in the WikiLeak press conference.

DEMOCRACY NOW! CO-HOSTJUAN GONZALEZ: The US government is racing to prepare for the fallout. A team of more than a hundred analysts from the Defense Intelligence Agency have been combing through classified Iraq documents they think will be released.

AMY GOODMAN: WikiLeaks sparked condemnation from the US government when it released the 91,000 Afghan war logs in July. The White House and the Pentagon accused the website of irresponsibility. They claimed they were putting people’s lives in danger. But the Associated Press recently obtained a Pentagon letter reporting that no US intelligence sources or practices were compromised by the leak.

Nevertheless, WikiLeaks says it’s been targeted by the US government. In the aftermath of the Afghan war logs leak, the US reportedly asked Britain, Germany, Australia and other Western governments to open criminal investigations into Julian Assange and severely restrict his international travel. Most recently, WikiLeaks accused the US of targeting it with financial warfare. Last week, Julian Assange said the company responsible for collecting the WikiLeaks’ donations terminated its account after the US and Australia placed the group on blacklists. Meanwhile, Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning has been in prison since May, when he was arrested on charges of leaking a video of a US military helicopter killing a group of innocent Iraqis in Baghdad.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Iraq Occupiers Still Can't Keep the Lights On

Seven Years of War and Still

No Power to the Iraqi People

By Paul McGeough

The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)

Oct. 16, 2010 - In the searing heat of the Iraqi summer, the difficulty of life with virtually no electricity is hard to comprehend.

But overlay it with the physical and spiritual challenges of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, and the big cities become time bombs ticking at the feet of government.

Or they would, if there was a government. For seven months the country has been paralysed by the failure of the political parties to agree on the make-up of a new government after national elections in mid-March. So with nobody in charge in Baghdad, Iraqis vent their spleen on the streets - being doused by water cannon or arrested and, in some cases, shot by the police.

Summer in Baghdad is not just a hot spell. Day after grinding day and for weeks at a stretch, the temperatures reach anywhere between 46 and 49 degrees. Air conditioning fails. Elevators stop working. Life, seriously, is a bitch.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Report Back: Huge Rally in DC for Jobs, Justice, Education and Peace

‘One Nation’ March Shows the Tough Fight

Ahead for the Emerging Progressive Majority


By Carl Davidson

Beaver County Blue

If you wanted to know what a dynamic and emerging progressive majority of Americans looked like, the place to be was the National Mall at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC on the beautiful and sunny Saturday afternoon of Oct. 2, 2010. 

It was a sight to behold. Pulled together by the ‘One Nation Working Together’ coalition of some 400 groups, an estimated 175,000 people filled the area. They were the country’s trade unions, civil rights, women’s rights, and community organizations, peace and justice groups, and many more. The focus was jobs, justice and education, with sizable contingents against the wars as well.

“I hope they look at the mall today,” stated the Rev. Al Sharpton from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, referring to the GOP and the Tea Party right, “because this is what America looks like, not just one color or one gender.”

A rainbow of nationalities, men and women, young and old, and with a solid core from all sectors of the working class filled the area. The crowd’s mood was upbeat and militant, and they let it be known with a range of voices, from old-fashioned liberals to the socialist left, that they were fed up with the right wing assaults from Tea Party, the GOP neoliberals and the Blue Dog Democrats going along with them.

“This gathering is a wakeup call for the American people,” declared Harry Belafonte, in one of the strongest and most critical speeches of the day. “"Do we really believe that sending 100,000 troops to kill innocent men and women in Afghanistan and Pakistan makes any sense?” he continued, clearly and sharply criticizing Obama’s concession to the war machine. The actor-singer went on to attack the “crippling poison of racism” and "the undermining of the Constitution and the systematic attack on our most inalienable rights….At the heart of this danger is the Tea Party which is coming close to achieving its villainous ends. On November 2, in the millions, we must overburden our voting booths, and vote against those who would have us become a totalitarian state." 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Where's the Exit? Obama's Dangerous 'Long War' Cul-de-Sac

Another 9/11: The Danger of Obama’s Secret Policy


By Tom Hayden

Beaver County Peace Links via The Nation

OCTOBER 6, 2010  - Bob Woodward’s book Obama’s Wars should scare the hell out of you. It is essential reading—between the lines—for anyone seeking a map out of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Here is one example: If and when a terrorist attack occurs in the United States which can be traced to Pakistan, the American military response will be a “retribution plan” to bomb at least 150 targets in Pakistan. The plan is “one of the most sensitive and secret of all military contingencies,” Woodward writes. There is no discussion of The Day After in this scenario of saturation bombing. Nor did the President and his advisers have “anything on the shelf [which] specifically addressed securing Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.”

Such an attack already has been attempted this year, when Faisal Shahzad, who was funded and trained by the Pakistani Taliban, placed a car bomb in Times Square on May 1. Last year the FBI arrested an AQ operative, Najibullah Zazi, for planning to blow up New York subways with 14 backpack bombs, and also nabbed Chicago resident David Coleman Headley for planning an attack in Europe. Both individuals were trained in Pakistan.

Monday, October 4, 2010

'Rooting Out' to 'Draw Down': Deeper into an Unjust War

Afghan Violence Kills 13 Civilians

Agence France-Presse

KABUL — Thirteen Afghan civilians were killed in separate incidents across Afghanistan over the weekend as a result of Taliban insurgent attacks and NATO action, officials said Sunday.

Seven members of one family died when a roadside bomb ripped through a civilian vehicle in Yahyakhail district of eastern Paktika province on Saturday, provincial spokesman Mukhlis Afghan told AFP.

"Seven civilians including three children, all members of one family, were killed in the bomb blast," he said.

Also Saturday, three civilians were killed when NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) bombed a Taliban meeting in southern Helmand province, during an attack in which 17 militants also died, provincial police chief Abdul Hakim Angar told AFP.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Message to Obama on Israel: Cut Off the Money

Israel and Obama

By Bill Fletcher, Jr. Editorial Board

Sept. 23, 2010 - The so-called peace talks between Israel and the Palestine National Authority raise a number of interesting and, in some respects, provocative questions. One concerns whether the Israeli government has any interest in a just peace.  The second is whether the Netanyahu group (in power) wishes to bring down President Obama.

In terms of the first question, that is, of the Israeli government's interest in a just peace, there is, unfortunately, no evidence to believe that such an interest exists.

With regard to the question of President Obama, there is an interesting trail of events.  Since Obama's election the attitude of the Israeli political establishment towards him has been less than enthusiastic.  In fact, it has been nothing short of insulting.  The first responses to the Obama presidency were largely cautious, though in the background there was fear and anger.  Racist remarks began to emerge regarding Obama, with the Israeli right-wing transferring some of its anti-Palestinian racism and Islamophobia onto their attitude towards President Obama.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Beaver County's Big Knob Fair Meets the Peace and Jobs Movement

Lessons Learned at the

Big Knob Grange Fair

By Carl Davidson and Randy Shannon

Beaver County Blue

The Big Knob Grange Fair, held Aug. 30 through Sept. 4 up in the lovely rolling hills above Rochester, PA, a distressed mill town at the confluence of the Beaver and Ohio rivers, is a “big doin’s’ in Beaver County, and has been for 70 years or so.

It features blue grass and country rock bands, tractor and truck ‘pulls,’ a demolition derby, dozens of rides for kids, booths for local politicians, hunting clubs, garden clubs, home improvement vendors, and local artisans. The Grange members serve delicious home-cooked food, display prize-winning livestock, fowl, and garden produce. The oldest and the latest in farm equipment are also on display. In recent years, the Fair draws from 30,000 to 40,000 semi-rural farmers and blue-collar workers with their families, and a horde of young people, and this year, with glorious weather, was no different.

This year the Fair had a new feature co-sponsored by Beaver County Peace Links and the 4th CD Chapter of Progressive Democrats of America. Near the middle of the big striped circus tent was a table with a large banner hanging behind it: ‘War Is Making You Poor!’ Many of the hundreds of passersby on any one of the five days stopped and did a double take. Some ambled on, but a good number stopped to chat and see what it was all about.

“We were there every day from 4pm until 10pm,” said Randy Shannon, treasurer of the 4th CD Progressive Democrats of America. “People start flowing in after work. In addition to our banner, there was a giant 4ft x 5ft poster showing that Beaver County taxpayers have shelled out $54 million per year for the last ten years for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is almost the same amount as the county’s annual general fund tax collections.”

Carl Davidson explained his contribution: “We set up an internet connection with a cell phone. With a monitor and a laptop I showed some antiwar videos picked by Beaver County Peace Links, including a looping video of an apple pie being divided like the US budget. The military got half the pie.”

Todd and Emily Davis made a unique contribution to the table. Todd, a Methodist pastor, is the chairperson of Peace Links. They labeled 10 jars with the main categories of the federal budget. They were arrayed in front of a small backdrop that read: 'Take the penny poll: how would YOU spend your tax dollars.’

Friday, September 10, 2010

Afghan Doves: Exit Strategy or Deeper Quagmire by 2012?

Afghanistan: Beltway Doves Propose

Phased Withdrawal as 2012 Looms


By Tom Hayden

Progressive America Rising via

Sept 9, 2010 - Anthony Saldana for the PJRA moderate Democratic-leaning study group has released a proposal to “fast track a peace process” in Afghanistan and withdraw 32,000 American troops by October 2011 and another 38,000 by late 2012, the period of the next presidential election.

The proposal, which was reported in the Aug. 18 Bulletin, was released at a Washington DC press conference Sept. 8. The so-called Afghanistan Study Group, a project of the New America Foundation, drew on input from 46 academic experts and former policy-makers.

For the full report, read A New Way Forward: Rethinking U.S. Strategy in Afghanistan. For an additional exit strategy by former State Department official William R. Polk read Steps Toward Withdrawal.

The director of the current study group is Matthew Hoh, a former Marine and civilian adviser in Afghanistan, became the first US official to resign in protest of the Afghanistan war, in September 2009. Hoh, who was interviewed by the Bulletin last year, has become a passionate, outspoken and well-informed critic within the cloistered culture of national security policy.

Monday, September 6, 2010

We Need Jobs, Not War - For Real

Obama on Iraq's 'Ending':

A Speech for Endless War

September 6, 2010
By Norman Solomon
Beaver County Peace Links via Z-Net  
On the last night of August, the president used an Oval Office speech to boost a policy of perpetual war.
Hours later, the New York Times front page offered a credulous gloss for the end of “the seven-year American combat mission in Iraq.” The first sentence of the coverage described the speech as saying “that it is now time to turn to pressing problems at home.” The story went on to assert that Obama “used the moment to emphasize that he sees his primary job as addressing the weak economy and other domestic issues -- and to make clear that he intends to begin disengaging from the war in Afghanistan next summer.”
But the speech gave no real indication of a shift in priorities from making war to creating jobs. And the oratory “made clear” only the repetition of vague vows to “begin” disengaging from the Afghanistan war next summer. In fact, top administration officials have been signaling that only token military withdrawals are apt to occur in mid-2011, and Obama said nothing to the contrary.

Israeli Settlements Continue, With or Without Talks



An Unsettled Issue

Israeli Settlement Construction Booms Despite Ban

By Juliane von Mittelstaedt in Jerusalem

In Washington, the Israelis and Palestinians are discussing peace, but in the Jewish settlements in the West Bank, construction is proceeding at full speed. A legal ban is being ignored and the government is looking away. The thousands of new homes could hinder reconciliation.

Officially, at least, this is the hour of diplomacy. For the first time in two years, Israelis and Palestinians are meeting for direct peace talks. United States President Barack Obama has invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to Washington. Settlement construction is one of the most sensitive issues at the talks.

It's also an issue where the fronts are growing increasingly tense. "As far as we are concerned, we will continue building after we have buried our dead," Naftali Bennett, the general director of the settlers' association Yesha said hours before the start of peace talks. Just a short time after his announcement, the settlers began erecting several symbolic settlements in the West Bank. In an interview with SPIEGEL ONLINE, Bennett had threatening words. "It is not good enough that the moratorium will end on Sept. 26," he said. "Ehud Barak needs to act to approve 3,000 new housing units -- 1,500 of them right now."

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Debate Enters the Mainstream: One State for Israel-Palestine?

Photo: Walled West Bank Settlement Construction

Israel and Palestine: A true one-state solution

By George Bisharat

Washington Post Op-Ed

Friday, September 3, 2010

"Where is the Palestinian Mandela?" pundits occasionally ask. But after these latest Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in Washington fail -- as they inevitably will -- the more pressing question may be: "Where is the Israeli de Klerk?" Will an Israeli leader emerge with the former South African president's moral courage and foresight to dismantle a discriminatory regime and foster democracy based on equal rights?

For decades, the international community has assumed that historic Palestine must be divided between Jews and Palestinians. Yet no satisfactory division of the land has been reached. Israel has aggravated the problem by settling roughly 500,000 Jews in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, eliminating the land base for a viable Palestinian state.

A de facto one-state reality has emerged, with Israel effectively ruling virtually all of the former Palestine. Yet only Jews enjoy full rights in this functionally unitary political system. In contrast, Palestinian citizens of Israel endure more than 35 laws that explicitly privilege Jews as well as policies that deliberately marginalize them. West Bank Palestinians cannot drive on roads built for Israeli settlers, while Palestinians in Gaza watch as their children's intellectual and physical growth are stunted by an Israeli siege that has limited educational opportunities and deepened poverty to acute levels.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Wrong Turn: Obama's Diplomacy With Guns and Boots on the Ground

Let's Fact Check the AP's

Fact Checking on Obama's Speech

By David Swanson

Beaver County Peace Links via

FACT CHECK: Is Iraq combat really over for US?


WASHINGTON — Despite President Barack Obama's declaration Tuesday of an end to the combat mission in Iraq, combat almost certainly lies ahead. And in asserting the U.S. has met its responsibilities in Iraq, the president opened the door wide to a debate about the meaning of success in the muddle that most — but not all — American troops are leaving behind. A look at some of the statements Obama made in his Oval Office speech and how they compare with the facts:


OBAMA: "Tonight, I am announcing that the American combat mission in Iraq has ended."

THE FACTS: Peril remains for the tens of thousands of U.S. troops still in Iraq, who are likely if not certain to engage violent foes. Counterterrorism is chief among their continuing missions, pitting them against a lethal enemy. Several thousand special operations forces, including Army Green Berets and Navy SEALs, will continue to hunt and attempt to kill al-Qaida and other terrorist fighters — working closely with Iraqi forces. Obama said, "Of course, violence will not end with our combat mission," while stopping short of a full accounting of the hazards ahead for U.S. troops.

Excellent point, but let's not leave out the thousands of mercenaries and tens of thousands of contractors.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Detroit: Thousands Turn Out for 'Jobs, Peace and Justice'

UAW's King, Jesse Jackson lead Detroit

Aug. 28 March for Jobs, Peace and Justice

August 28, 2010

Beaver County Peace Links viaThe Detroit News

Detroit -- The chants of thousands of people demanding jobs filled the air downtown as UAW President Bob King and the Rev. Jesse Jackson led the crowd to Grand Circus Park.

The UAW and Jackson's Rainbow Push Coalition announced the Rebuild America: Jobs Justice Peace kickoff today at the downtown park.

Jackson said the focus of the initiative is to ensure policy makers put people first when making decisions. The initiative calls for a moratorium on home foreclosures, a push for job creation and for ending armed conflicts overseas.

"Detroit and Michigan are ground zero of the urban crisis," Jackson said. "It's time to enact real change for working families and all America."

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

We Need 'Jobs Not War, Out Now!' Contingents

One Nation Working Together

Beaver County Peace Links via UFPJ

One Nation Working Together - 10.2.10, DC
Get Ready To March, This One is Going To Be Big!

It should be of no surprise that in an August 13th Gallup Poll the economy in general and unemployment/ jobs specifically topped the list of public concerns. The economy and jobs grabbed 58% of responses as top issues. War and fear of war lagged way behind in 8th place with only 4%. With millions across the nation struggling to keep their homes, make ends meet and keep or find jobs, the wars and occupations in Iraq, Afghanistan or anywhere else is not uppermost on people's minds. Taking care of business at home is first.

But people still care. Poll after poll shows that support for the war in Afghanistan is falling. A majority of people think the invasion of Iraq was a mistake and want U.S. troops to continue to pullout. Even with international issues on the backburner for most people, our efforts continue to be vitally important and effective. We are in a good position to move our work to end these occupations.

The Mental Side Effects of Unjust Wars

US Military 'Overwhelmed' by

Mental Health Problems of Soldiers

Thousands Strain Fort Hood's Mental Health System

by Gregg Zoroya

Beaver County Peace Links via the August 23, 2010, USA Today

FORT HOOD, Texas - Nine months after an Army psychiatrist was charged with fatally shooting 13 soldiers and wounding 30, the nation's largest Army post can measure the toll of war in the more than 10,000 mental health evaluations, referrals or therapy sessions held every month.

[Col. Steven Braverman, head of the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center, says mental health counselors' schedules are filled.

Col. Steven Braverman, head of the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center, says mental health counselors' schedules are filled. "We are full to the brim," he says. (Erich Schlegel for USA TODAY

About every fourth soldier here, where 48,000 troops and their families are based, has been in counseling during the past year, according to the service's medical statistics. And the number of soldiers seeking help for combat stress, substance abuse, broken marriages or other emotional problems keeps increasing.

A common refrain by the Army's vice chief of staff, Gen. Peter Chiarelli, is that far more soldiers suffer mental health issues than the Army anticipated. Nowhere is this more evident than at Fort Hood, where emotional problems among the soldiers threaten to overwhelm the system in place to help them.

Counselors are booked. The 12-bed inpatient psychiatric ward is full more often than not. Overflow patient-soldiers are sent to private local clinics that stay open for 10 hours a day, six days a week to meet the demand.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Faux Mosque Madness: Yes, the Right Sees Endless War with Islam as Good for Us

Does the Right-Wing

Want Never-Ending War?

By Joshua Holland
Beaver County Peace Links via AlterNet
August 24, 2010 - In a New York Times column titled “How Fox Betrayed Petraeus,” Frank Rich argues that the right-wing freak-out over the Islamic community center to be erected in downtown Manhattan hurts U.S. efforts in Afghanistan. “How do you win Muslim hearts and minds in Kandahar,” asks Rich, “when you are calling Muslims every filthy name in the book in New York?”

One might call it the 'national security argument,' and it is irrefutable. Last week, Ali Soufan, a former FBI agent who has interrogated several violent extremists, wrote, “When demagogues appear to be equating Islam with terrorism…it bolsters the message that radicalizers are selling: That the war is against Islam, and Muslims are not welcome in America.” Osama Bin Laden’s “next video script,” wrote Soufan, “has just written itself.” 

It is no doubt a tempting argument for the New York Times liberal and highly educated audience. It throws the neoconservative rhetoric back at the Right: if Islamic extremism is an existential threat to the United States -- if the future of the country rests on its defeat -- than surely sensitivity to how these protests are perceived by the rest of the world is a vital national security issue. “You’d think that American hawks invested in the Afghanistan ‘surge’ would not act against their own professed interests,” writes Rich. “But they couldn’t stop themselves from placing cynical domestic politics over country.”

Friday, August 20, 2010

Afghan War Is Now A Minority War

We're Now the Antiwar Majority,

So Who Will Represent Us in 2010?

Poll: Nearly 6 in 10 oppose war in Afghanistan
Aug 20, 2010 LAWRENCE, MASS — A majority of Americans see no end in sight in Afghanistan, and nearly six in 10 oppose the nine-year-old war as President Barack Obama sends tens of thousands more troops to the fight, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll.

With just over 10 weeks before nationwide elections that could define the remainder of Obama's first term, only 38 percent say they support his expanded war effort in Afghanistan — a drop from 46 percent in March. Just 19 percent expect the situation to improve during the next year, while 29 percent think it will get worse. Some 49 percent think it will remain the same.

The numbers could be ominous for the president and his Democratic Party, already feeling the heat for high unemployment, a slow economic recovery and a $1.3 trillion federal deficit. Strong dissent — 58 percent oppose the war — could depress Democratic turnout when the party desperately needs to energize its supporters for midterm congressional elections.
A majority of Americans do welcome Obama's decision to end combat operations in Iraq. Some 68 percent approve, a number unchanged from earlier this year. The last American combat brigade began leaving Iraq on Thursday, ahead of Obama's Aug. 31 deadline for ending the U.S. combat role there.

Iraq Smoke and Mirrors Dept: It Ain't Over Until They're ALL Home

Iraq: What Will the Remaining

50,000 U.S. Troops Do?

By Mark Thompson / Washington

Beaver County Peace Links via Time Magazine

Aug 20, 2010 - There was a sigh of relief at the Pentagon Wednesday as the U.S. Army's final combat brigade crossed from Iraq into Kuwait. Generals and their staffs have spent nearly a decade juggling soldiers to meet the needs of two wars, bruising many of the units and stretching the Army nearly to the breaking point in the process. Military experts agree that reducing troop strength in Iraq will ease the strain on the force, although it could allow tensions inside Iraq to flare. But the campaign's sunk costs — more than 4,400 U.S. troops dead, 30,000 wounded (and far higher Iraqi casualties), along with a price tag that amounts to $2,500 for every person in America — is far higher than anyone expected when Operation Iraqi Freedom began on March 20, 2003.

But it's not quite over yet. Just what will those 50,000 U.S. troops staying behind in Iraq be up to if not fighting? And what will fill the gap they've left? Nearly all of them are slated to stay in Iraq until they are required by a U.S.-Iraqi agreement to leave by Jan. 1, 2012. The U.S. troops have four missions, broadly defined as "stability operations":

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Out of Iraq? Remember, It's Bring Them ALL Home...









Iraq Withdrawal?

Don’t Believe the Hype,

We've Still Got a Way to Go

Posted by Jean Desiree
Beaver County Peace Links via CodePink

If you’re feeling skeptical after hearing President Obama’s latest speech on the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, you’re not alone.
It’s hard to know what to make of a President and an administration that brings over 90,000 troops home while ordering 50,000 soldiers along with 75,000 military contractors to remain.

Over 150,000 personnel are still stationed in Iraq and the US is supposed to be completely out of the country by 2011. That’s next year. Bringing home thousands by the end of this August is a good step, but we really need to step on it. Obama’s speech strikes me as an exercise in Orwellian double-think: the US is simultaneously withdrawing and expanding its military presence in Iraq. So which is it? And, importantly, how does the peace movement communicate with people who think the war is effectively over at the end of August?

Jeremy Scahill has written recently in The Nation that “Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is presiding over what is shaping up to be a radical expansion of a private, US-funded paramilitary force that will operate in Iraq for the foreseeable future…”.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Pakistan: When Floods Threaten Wider Wars, It's a Shared Problem of Us All

Last Chance for Pakistan

Ahmed Rashid

Beaver County Peace Links via New York Review of Books

Though it has received only moderate attention in the western press, the torrential flooding of large swaths of Pakistan since late July may be the most catastrophic natural disaster to strike the country in half a century. But even greater than the human cost of this devastating event are the security challenges it poses. Coming at a time of widespread unrest, growing Taliban extremism, and increasingly shaky civilian government, the floods could lead to the gravest security crisis the country—and the region—has faced. Unless the international community takes immediate action to provide major emergency aid and support, the country risks turning into what until now has remained only a grim, but remote possibility—a failed state with nuclear weapons.

Since the upper reaches of the Indus and other rivers in Northern Pakistan first flooded their banks over three weeks ago, the floods have spread to many other parts of the country, submerging dozens of villages, killing thousands, uprooting some 20 million people, and leaving millions of poor children and infants at terrible risk of exposure to water-borne diseases. But the next few months could be even worse, as the collapse of governance and growing desperation of flooded areas leads to increasing social and ethnic tensions, terrible food shortages, and the threat that large parts of the country, now cut off from Islamabad, will be taken over by the Pakistani Taliban and other extremist groups.