Friday, July 30, 2010

Obama Doubling Down on War, with Not Enough Votes to Stop Him Yet

Despite WikiLeaks Revelations,

Congress Votes for War Funding

By Tom Hayden

July 29, 2010 - Never was the case so weak for throwing another $33 billion into the Afghanistan sinkhole, but that's what a defensive US Congress did anyway on Tuesday evening, July 27. The vote was 308-114, with Republicans supplying most of the prowar votes.

Washington-based peace groups, after weeks of e-mailing messages to Congress, put the best face possible on the vote, claiming a "significant" gain of fourteen additional antiwar votes over the 100 cast for a similar amendment by Representative Barbara Lee two weeks ago. (The new Democratic votes were cast by Corrine Brown, Kathy Castor, John Conyers, Rosa Delauro, Lloyd Doggett, Anna Eshoo, Chaka Fattah, Eddie Bernice Johnson, Hank Johnson, Marcy Kaptur, Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, Gregory Meeks, James Moran, Christopher Murphy, Carol Shea-Porter, Mike Thompson, Lynn Woolsey and David Wu; while five Republicans joined the opposition: Paul Broun, Vernon Ehlers, Jeff Flake, Phil Gingrey and John Linder.)

Those casting prowar votes from safe liberal districts included Lois Capps, James Clyburn, Susan Davis, John Hall, Patrick Kennedy, Nita Lowey, Lucille Roybal-Allard, John Sarbanes and Joe Sestak. Significantly, Speaker Nancy Pelosi abstained from voting, which meant retreating from the chance to draw an antiwar line more firmly.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Peace Update: Roads Traveled, Roads Ahead

October 6, 2002 - Central Park, New York City

The Peace Movement: 

What Happened & What Next

by Michael T. McPhearson
Veterans for Peace, UFPJ
July 2010 – The election of Barack Obama as President of the United States has laid bare a number of weaknesses in the peace and anti-war movements. Perhaps most notable is our lack of numbers of people who identify as part of our movements and are willing to take open action to protest the wars. As a result, the movements are weakened and many people within the movements are understandably frustrated. This frustration and disappointment has been ongoing for nearly 2 years now, as protest numbers fell starting during the presidential election and dwindling further by the time of  ANSWER’s Iraq War invasion commemoration DC protest and United for Peace and Justice’s “Beyond War: Another Economy is Possible” demonstration in March and April 2009, respectively.
There has been a long line of analysis as to why people haven’t hit the streets against the war in the same numbers as when President Bush was in office. Some articles and statements deride the peace movement for not protesting with Democrats in power. To me, this accusation does not have  merit; the core of the movement has continued to protest, engage in civil disobedience and pressure elected officials. That never ceased.  Nevertheless, the number of overall protestors has clearly shrunk; here are my top four reasons why.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Note to Obama: Digging Deeper is Not the Way Out

America: Hooked on War

and Getting Poorer

By Clancy Sigal
The Guardian, July 15, 2010
There's plenty of good money to be made /
Supplyin' the army with tools of the trade …
– Country Joe and the Fish

I hallucinate easily, a hangover from time spent in an acid-rock commune in London in the fevered 60s. Most evenings when I switch on the television 6.30 news with its now cliched pictures of deep sea oil spurting from BP's pipe rupture, I see not bleeding sludge but human blood surging up into the Gulf of Mexico.

I've learned to trust my visions as metaphors for reality. The same news programmes, often as a dutiful throwaway item, will show a jerky fragment of Afghan combat accompanied by the usual pulse-pounding handheld shots of snipers amid roadside bomb explosions, preferably in fiery balls. My delusional mind converts this footage into a phantasmagoria where our M60 machine guns are shooting ammunition belts full of $1,000 bills.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Militarism and the 'Long Wars' - Leeches Sucking Our Blood

Hope and Change Fade, but War Endures

By: William J. Astore 

TomDispatch | Op-Ed

July 8, 2010 - If one quality characterizes our wars today, it’s their endurance. They never seem to end. Though war itself may not be an American inevitability, these days many factors combine to make constant war an American near certainty. Put metaphorically, our nation’s pursuit of war taps so many wellsprings of our behavior that a concerted effort to cap it would dwarf BP’s efforts in the Gulf of Mexico.

Our political leaders, the media, and the military interpret enduring war as a measure of our national fitness, our global power, our grit in the face of eternal danger, and our seriousness. A desire to de-escalate and withdraw, on the other hand, is invariably seen as cut-and-run appeasement and discounted as weakness. Withdrawal options are, in a pet phrase of Washington elites, invariably “off the table” when global policy is at stake, as was true during the Obama administration’s full-scale reconsideration of the Afghan war in the fall of 2009. Viewed in this light, the president’s ultimate decision to surge in Afghanistan was not only predictable, but the only course considered suitable for an American war leader. Rather than the tough choice, it was the path of least resistance.

Why do our elites so readily and regularly give war, not peace, a chance? What exactly are the wellsprings of Washington’s (and America’s) behavior when it comes to war and preparations for more of the same?

Consider these seven:

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Message to Congress: Vote 'No' on War Funds!

A Defining Vote on Afghanistan

By Katrina vanden Heuvel
The Nation, July 1, 2010

More than six months after the implementation of the Obama/McChrystal strategy, and with one year to go before the beginning withdrawal of US forces, it's clear that the strategy in Afghanistan is failing on nearly all fronts. [1]

It’s critical that we now turn to a more fundamental exit debate: How do we change course and craft a responsible strategy to end the war?

Tonight the House will have an opportunity to do just that with two votes--on the $33 billion Afghanistan war supplemental and an amendment introduced by Congressman Jim McGovern that would require, at long last, an exit strategy including a timetable for the completion of the redeployment of US troops.

Although Obama has said he will begin to drawdown troops in July 2011, McGovern observed earlier this year [2], “It’s not only important to know when the first soldier is to be redeployed or brought home, it’s important to know when the last soldier is as well.”