Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Debate: Both Sides Hide Growing Militarism Under a 'Peace' Blanket




Our Task: First Defeat National Security Council

Document 68 (NSC 68): Then Attack NSC 68 'Lite'

By Harry Targ
Beaver County Peace Links via Heartland Radical

After the outbreak of fighting on the Korean peninsula, NSC 68 was accepted throughout the government as the foundation of American foreign policy (U.S. Department of State, Office of the Historian).

The third and last presidential debate of the 2012 election season, October 22, 2012, addressed issues of foreign policy and their connections to the United States economy. The debates reflected the idiosyncrasies of American politics, 2012, as well as the enduring features of the United States empire.

As to the candidate’s realization that he needed to “move to the center,” Mitt Romney tried to portray himself as peace-oriented. This approach contradicted the neo-conservative vision of the 17 of 24 key foreign policy aides advising him. These former Bush advisors and associates of the Project for a New American Century or (PNAC), stand for a foreign policy designed to reestablish United States global hegemony. PNAC, formed in the 1990s, in its official positions argued that the United States, as the last remaining superpower, must use that power to remake the world. The PNAC vision combines the ideology of the United States as the “city on the hill” and the “beacon of hope” for the world, with the advocacy of using overwhelming military force to achieve imperial goals.

Romney, contrary to prior statements, endorsed the Obama administration plans for withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014. He, like President Obama, supported the Syrian opposition short of U.S. direct military intervention. He called for maintaining sanctions against Iran to force the latter to end its alleged nuclear program while avoiding war. And Romney, like Obama, endorsed challenging China’s trade policy while engaging in constructive diplomacy with the burgeoning new superpower.  These and other Romney statements mirrored (for better or worse) the foreign policies of President Obama. The flexible Republican candidate “moved to the center” on foreign policy because of his perceived need to present an image of wisdom and caution to the America voters who oppose a continued presence in Afghanistan, getting directly involved in wars against Syria and Iran, and the wars on “terrorism,” “drugs,” and other crusades.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Iran: Myth of the ‘Surgical Strike’


Expect High Human Toll from Robust Military Assault Against Iranian Nuclear Program

By Wayne White
LobeLog Foreign Policy

An excellent Oct 18 article, “The Myth of ‘Surgical Strikes’ on Iran“, by David Isenberg highlighted many of the conclusions of a sobering study by industrialist Khosrow Semnani on the potentially steep human cost of even a relatively selective attack against Iran’s diverse nuclear infrastructure.

Semnani maintains that if the most important facilities are hit during work shifts, on site casualties could be as high as 10,000. Additionally, since a few of the most important Iranian nuclear installations are located near population centers, toxic nuclear materials unleashed by the attacks could possibly inflict an even higher number of casualties on civilians.

Yet, Semnani focused most of his attention on the the casualties stemming from attacks focused on just one critical slice of the nuclear sector, with less detailed references to other targets (which he notes could involve a grand total of “400?) that might be struck in an especially robust air campaign against Iran. Indeed, if the US in particular decided to carry out such attacks, some detail on the potential — in fact likely — impact far beyond Iran’s most high-profile nuclear facilities and their immediate surroundings needs to be added to this picture to gain a full appreciation of the extent of potential Iranian casualties.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The New York Times Finally Calls for Afghan Withdrawal

By Tom Hayden
Beaver County Peace Links

Oct 16, 2012 - America’s flagship newspaper, the New York Times, called Sunday for the US to leave Afghanistan “on a schedule dictated only by the security of the troops.” The editorial was the first in a national publication to call for rapid withdrawal during more than ten years of war.

Of course there were paranoid bloggers who felt it was another trick and not quick enough. And conservatives will call it “cut and run.” But the editorial was a courageous defense of unilateral withdrawal, lending enormous legitimacy to peace forces in Congress and the administration.

Without saying so, the Times has endorsed the long efforts of Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and others in Congress, pushed with active support from thousands of persistent grassroots activists, for Congress to cut all funding except for that needed for “responsible withdrawal.”

The Times separated itself from the largely unrepentant “liberal humanitarians,” who pushed the Afghan military intervention in the name of women’s rights and democracy. “The Taliban will take over parts of the Pashtun south, where they will brutalize women and trample their rights…Warlords will go on stealing,” the paper acknowledged. Afghanistan will become like Vietnam, they added, as if this was a terrible but tolerable thing.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Citizen Diplomacy Against Drones Over Pakistan

By Tom Hayden

Beaver County Peace Links

Oct 5, 2012 - A delegation of American peace activists has succeeded in directly engaging the US ambassador to Pakistan over the drone attacks, which have killed civilians and inflamed anti-US opinion in South Asia and around the globe. A video of the meeting between the delegation, organized by Code Pink, and US ambassador Robert Hoagland was posted October 3.

The drone policy is opposed by groups as diverse as Code Pink activists, counter-insurgency experts at the Long War Journal and the New America Foundation. They are seen by the Obama administration as inflicting serious damage on insurgent sanctuaries as the US gradually withdraws troops from Afghanistan. From a political viewpoint, the drone strikes result in few American casualties and are invisible to a public addicted to television.

A fierce information war is underway over competing calculations of civilian casualties, with the CIA claiming a “yearlong perfect record” and independent researchers counting in the hundreds. Left out of the body count debate is the political-diplomatic impact, which has added immeasurably to public rage in Pakistan, Afghanistan and across the Islamic world, while at the same time diluting potential peace sentiment in the United States.