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.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Afghanistan: The Main Battle Now Is To Control Minds at Home

Why WikiLeaks Won’t Stop the War


By Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky's ZSpace Page / ZSpace

Aug 12, 2010 - The War Logs—a six-year archive of classified military documents about the war in Afghanistan, released on the Internet by the organization WikiLeaks—documents a grim struggle becoming grimmer, from the U.S. perspective. And for the Afghans, a mounting horror.

The War Logs, however valuable, may contribute to the unfortunate and prevailing doctrine that wars are wrong only if they aren’t successful—rather like the Nazis felt after Stalingrad.

Last month came the fiasco of Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, forced to retire as commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan and replaced by his superior, Gen. David H. Petraeus.

A plausible consequence is a relaxation of the rules of engagement so that it becomes easier to kill civilians, and an extension of the war well into the future as Petraeus uses his clout in Congress to achieve this result.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Albany Conference Outcome: New Peace Agenda for Upcoming Months

Peace Movement Adopts

New Comprehensive Strategy

By David Swanson


Last month 700 leading peace activists from around the United States met and strategized in Albany, N.Y. ( ). They discussed, debated, and voted for a comprehensive new plan for the coming months. The plan includes a new focus and some promising proposals for building a coalition that includes the labor movement, civil rights groups, students, and other sectors of the activist world that have an interest in ending wars and/or shifting our financial resources from wars to where they're actually needed. The full plan, including a preface, is available online.

The plan includes endorsements and commitments to participate in events planned for Detroit on August 28th, and Washington, D.C., on August 28th and October 2nd, as well as a national day of actions led by students on October 7th, and a week of anti-war actions around the country marking the start of Year 10 in Afghanistan on October 7-16. Dates to put on your calendar now for 2011 include mid-March nationally coordinated teach-ins to mark the eighth year of the Iraq War and to prepare for bi-coastal spring demonstrations the following month, New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles mobilizations on April 9, 2011, and blocking of ports on May Day.

Here is the full list of actions agreed upon:

1.The Rainbow PUSH Coalition and the United Auto Workers (UAW) have invited peace organizations to endorse and participate in a campaign for Jobs, Justice, and Peace. We endorse this campaign and plan to be a part of it. On August 28, 2010, in Detroit, we will march on the anniversary of that day in 1963 when Walter Reuther, president of UAW, Martin Luther King, Jr., and other civil rights leaders joined with hundreds of thousands of Americans for the March on Washington. In Detroit, prior to the March on Washington, 125,000 marchers participated in the Freedom Walk led by Dr. King. At the march, King delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech for the first time before sharing it with the world in Washington. This year, a massive march has been called for October 2 in Washington. We will begin to build momentum again in Detroit on August 28th. We also endorse the August 28, 2010 Reclaim the Dream Rally and March called by Rev. Al Sharpton and the National Action Network to begin at 11 a.m.. at Dunbar High School, 1301 New Jersey Avenue Northwest.