Thursday, July 31, 2014

Stop the Massacre on Gaza! Vigil at the Courthouse, Saturday, Aug.2, Noon

The Steering Committee of Beaver County Peace Links

has decided to again gather at the Courthouse for a public vigil

for Peace in the Occupied Territories and Israel.

at 12 NOON

Please make signs:

“Stop Supporting Israel”


"Stop the Massacre on Gaza"

"Sovereignty for Palestine"

"Self-determination for Palestinians"

"Justice for Gaza"

"Cease Fire!"

"Stop the Violence"

"Peace is the only Solution"

Rep Keith Ellison, End the Blockade of Gaza!
Collective Punishment in Gaza

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Interventionist Starved Neo-Con Hawks Are Trying to Drag Us Back Into More War


Amid the crises in Iraq, Gaza and Ukraine, hawks are calling for U.S. military intervention.

By William Greider

Beaver County Peace Links via The Nation

July 25, 2014 |   The War Party in American politics is beating its drum and once again, mobilizing hawkish politicians and policy experts of both parties to wage a high-minded war of words.

Hawks are salivating because they see the world’s current turmoil as a chance to rehabilitate themselves and the virtues of US military intervention. Three hot wars are underway and the United States has a client state in each of them. Civil wars in the Ukraine and Iraq plus Israel’s invasion of Gaza give Washington’s armchair generals fresh opportunity to scold President Obama for his reluctance to fight harder. They are not exactly demanding US invasions—not yet anyway—but they want the dovish president and Congress to recognize war as a worthy road to peace.

“In my view, the willingness of the United States to use force and to threaten to use force to defend its interests and the liberal world order has been an essential and unavoidable part of sustaining the world order since the end of World War II,” historian Robert Kagan wrote in The Washington Post.“Perhaps we can move away from the current faux Manichaean struggle between straw men and return to a reasoned discussion of when force is the right tool.”

“Reasoned discussion,” that’s the ticket. By all means, we should have more of it. But please don’t count on it from Professor Kagan. What he neglected to mention in his stately defense of American war-making is that he himself was a leading champion fifteen years ago in stirring up the political hysteria for the US invasion of Iraq. Why isn’t this mentioned by The Washington Post when it publishes Kagan’s monthly column on its op-ed page? Or by The New York Times in its adoring profile of the professor? Why doesn’t the Brookings Institution, the Washington think tank that employs Kagan as a senior thinker?

Kagan was the co-founder of the Committee to Liberate Iraq, the neocon front group that heavily promoted pre-emptive aggression and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. You might assume Kagan was reacting to 9/11, but his role as propagandist for war actually preceded the terror attack by three years. Back then, Kagan and William Kristol also co-founded the Committee for a New American Century that was meant to restore American greatness through military power. They attacked the United Nations and warned that “American policy cannot continue to be crippled by misguided insistence on unanimity at the UN Security Council.” To Iraq’s lasting sorrow, George W. Bush took their advice.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Peace Rally in Pittsburgh

Rallying in suppport of Palestinians in Gaza Rallying in suppport of Palestinians in Gaza, protestors including Tavia LaFollette of Shadyside, left, and Susanne Slavick of Ross Township, right, cradling sheets wrapped to look like dead children

Rallying in suppport of Palestinians in Gaza, protestors including Tavia LaFollette of Shadyside, left, and Susanne Slavick of Ross Township, right, cradling sheets wrapped to look like dead children. Bill Wade/Post-Gazette

Oakland protesters rally for Palestinians against Israeli attacks in Gaza

By Amy McConnell Schaarsmith

Beaver County Blue via Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

July 19, 2014 - Protesters cradling sheets wrapped to look like dead children rallied in Oakland on Friday to call on the United States to withdraw financial support for Israel over that country‘‍s military assault in the Gaza Strip.

The group of about 100 protesters waved signs and Palestinian flags, and chanted slogans such as, “Make a choice, Obama, human rights or apartheid!” in front of the University of Pittsburgh’‍s Hillman Library on Forbes Avenue as evening traffic rushed by, with some cars honking in support. Holding the sheet-wrapped figures -- one of which included what looked like the dangling legs and shoes of a young girl -- the group then marched along Forbes and Fifth avenues to draw attention to their cause.

“Residents of Gaza have been under siege for such a long time, they‘‍re barely living to begin with,” said 21-year-old Pitt senior Hadeed Salaameh, a native Palestinian who said she helped organize the protest. “We as humans, we have to speak out, it’‍s our responsibility, and as Americans have to speak out because our tax dollars are funding this.”

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Memo to Obama: Avoid Splinters in Iraq, Syria


Jim McGovern (D-MA) pushing war powers vote

By Tom Hayden

Beaver County Peace Links

July 15, 2014 - Congressional support for a War Powers authorization looms as the only opportunity for the US to avoid another self-inflicted wound in Iraq and Syria.

The fifteen-day deadline provides an opportunity for anti-war groups to exert public pressure against any escalation, and a wrenching deadline for Congress to end its dickering and denial.

The best that can be expected is a face-saving bipartisan formula for avoiding a quagmire while minimizing the political cycle of blame. The difficulty will be defining a formula that might yet patch together the Sunni "humpty" with the Shiite "dumpty". If that is possible at all, the interim solution will take the same threat by John Kerry and the Western alliance to stop funding sectarianism, which has worked for the moment in Afghanistan. A no-fault divorce of Kurds, Sunnis, and Shiites seems out of the question, meaning an expansion of war.

The most important advice President Barack Obama should heed in Iraq and Syria is to avoid splinters. When these tiny barbed slivers cut into flesh, they can be painful to remove completely. Patience and soapy warm water are recommended, which translates into diplomacy as the equivalent of medicine.

ISIS is an Islamic splinter ready to pierce American flesh. The responsible US approach should be hands-off. As predicted here, the ISIS offensive will stall as it approaches Shiite strongholds in Baghdad and further south. Tensions within ISIS will increase. Instead of funding and arming the sectarian al-Maliki regime, the best American approach is to threaten a cutoff in funding unless al-Maliki abides by a genuine power-sharing arrangement, presumably including his resignation. As frequently occurs, America's "client" (in this case al-Maliki) turns the tables (on his "master") with confidence that the US will not pull the plug. 

ISIS is only the latest example of how wrongheaded US military intervention often creates exactly the enemies they claim to be preventing. It is established fact, except among the neo-con crackpots, that al-Qaeda did not even exist in Iraq until the US invasion created the conditions for its birth. Then US Special Ops went to war in Iraq against al-Qaeda in league with Sunni "Awakening" forces in 2007, when that version of AQ was considered too extreme even for the disenfranchised Sunni tribes in Anbar Province. The apparent "defeat" of that al-Qaeda by the US and the tribes spawned a splinter insurgency, which has become ISIS in Iraq.

Meanwhile, other splinters were breaking loose within the Syrian Sunni insurgency against Assad. While the US tried to pick and choose among competing "free Syria" contenders, the al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was expelling the splinter group which became ISIS. The grounds for the split were two-fold: that the ISIS violence was too extreme and indiscriminate, and Zawahiri wanted ISIS to focus on Iraq and leave the Nusra Front to deal with Syria. The splintering continued with the formation of the Army of Islam, whose thousands of fighters have been battling ISIS on the same issues of excessive brutality. By one estimate, seven thousand fighters have been killed in clashes between these Syrian splinter groups since January.

Air strikes by the US, combined with any escalation of ground forces, under whatever label, would be a key factor in unifying these insurgent splinters who otherwise are at each other's throats. The splinters thus lodged in America's flesh will be hard to remove any time soon.


McGovern Demands War Powers Vote in Two Weeks

July 11 - Representative Jim McGovern (D-MA) today introduced a measure requiring a House vote on Iraq under the War Powers Resolution, forcing the Republican leadership to take action within fifteen days or face an up-or-down vote, which might curb the administration's escalating military intervention in the civil war. 

"We are trying to signal to the House leadership that we have a constitutional responsibility on questions of war and peace," McGovern said this morning. "It's all to easy to let things drift. When Congress goes on recess in August, there could be more American troops authorized, or a US bombing. John Boehner doesn't want a debate on Iraq. He's rather sit back. There's a fear that a majority will say they don't want a war."

McGovern's measure is co-authored by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC). Lee has been circulating a House letter calling for application of the War Powers Resolution. The new measure contains a trigger that is hard to avoid. McGovern is seeking co-authors on his proposal while the clock is running. Lee, along with Republican Rep. Scott Rigell, has gathered nearly one hundred signers on a House letter urging compliance with the War Powers Resolution



McGovern's House Floor Speech:

The Resolution: