September 2016 Archives
When the President says so. Deployment of 600 more troops to Iraq is "consistent with Mr. Obama's policy not to commit American ground forces again in Iraq," says the White House.
Really? Seven years after "ending" the war, with over one million Iraqi deaths attributed to the conflict, characterization of U.S. intervention in Iraq as humanitarian aid begs belief.
As does the double-speak of "just law" the President uses to rationalize crimes against humanity. But "whatever the reasons for going to war, or continuing to conduct that war, they do not necessarily justify drone strikes, extraordinary renditions, or any other method of warfare," wrote Joe Boyle at BBC News.
Obama admitted as much: "Perhaps the most profound issue surrounding my receipt of this [Nobel 'War Is Peace'] prize is the fact that I am the Commander-in-Chief of a nation in the midst of two [now 7] wars," said Obama, accepting his medal. But don't expect a change of heart. The President "doesn't look back" on the crimes of his government.
The man who rode into office on anti-Iraq war sentiment "is now forced to act in the only way he and the Empire he presides over know how," wrote Dennis Loo, member of the Steering Committee of World Can't Wait. "Killing and more killing. Lying and more lying. Destroying and more destroying. Fear mongering and more fear mongering."
We can expect more of the same from today's aspirants to leadership of the U.S. warfare state. Donald Trump pledges to deploy up to 30,000 American troops to the Middle East. Hillary Clinton never met a war she didn't want. Bernie Sanders would redistribute the spoils of capitalist plunder. Gary Johnson isn't sure where Aleppo is. Jill Stein thinks war costs too much, in dollars and lives. She calls for a foreign policy that "goes back to the drawing board."
But the change we need is not on the ballot. It is on those of us who care about people, the future of humanity and the planet, to act together to stop endless wars for empire.
"If he wants to close Guantánamo, he can," the freed (if you conflate forced migration with liberty) prisoner sends a message to the American people. "He can now. Now. He can give order, close Guantánamo. He can close Guantánamo. But he coward. He can't take this decision, because he scared. But Guantánamo supposed to close, should be closed, Guantánamo, because Guantánamo, that's not good for the United States. Never."
"Riyadh has signed a contract with Chinese firm Chengdu for an unspecified number of Pterodactyl drones," writes reporter David Axe. "Now the Saudis have killer drones, too.
"As far as killer drones go, the Pterodactyl probably isn't terribly sophisticated--its sensors are certainly less capable than U.S.-made models--and that can mean the difference between life and death for innocent people caught in the crossfire as flying robots hunt militants on the ground."
But greater accuracy doesn't mitigate the universally damning murder by drone of anyone, civilians or designated terrorists. Government-sponsored assassinations are never justified.
As Snowden supporters campaign for his exoneration, we should acknowledge that he did nothing wrong. Whistle-blowing is not a crime.
"Yes, there are laws on the books that say one thing, but that is perhaps why the pardon power exists--for the exceptions, for the things that may seem unlawful in letters on a page but when we look at them morally, when we look at them ethically, when we look at the results, it seems these were necessary things, these were vital things," commented Snowden in an interview with the Guardian.
Former intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, serving a 35-year prison term for passing classified files to WikiLeaks, has ended her hunger strike and will get gender affirming surgery, reports Alex Emmons at The Intercept.
Among the files the whistleblower leaked was a gunsight video of a U.S. Apache helicopter firing on suspected Iraqi insurgents in 2007, killing a dozen people, including two Reuters news staff.
Chase Strangio, Manning's lawyer with the ACLU, issued the following statement:
"This is a monumental day for Chelsea, who can now enjoy some peace knowing that critically needed medical care is forthcoming. This medical care is absolutely vital for Chelsea as it is for so many transgender people -- in and out of prison -- who are systemically denied treatment solely because they are transgender. Thankfully the government has recognized its constitutional obligation to provide Chelsea with the medical care that she needs and we hope that they will act without delay to ensure that her suffering does not needlessly continue."
Manning still faces a hearing on September 20 concerning charges related to her suicide attempt.
"Our grief is not a call for war," messaged a grouping of artists drawn together by the events of September 11th, 2001. Once again, it's time for those who share this same sensibility -- all of us who want a better world -- to cry out in protest: All this has not been done in our names! We rededicate ourselves to resist the machinery of war and repression and rally others to do everything possible to stop it. The U.S. must end these wars now!
9/11 Memorial Museum director Alice Greenwald bemoans the intractable disposition of Islamic fundamentalists to terrorist acts, but argues that something we have full control over is how the U.S. responds to those threats. Hold her to task. If you live in the Bay Area, join us in a PEACE walk across the Golden Gate Bridge.
Millions of teenagers in this country have now suffered 15 years of aggressive solicitation for indentured service to American triumphalism. "A child born on September 11, 2001, is now only a couple of years away from being able to sign on as a pilot in the air wars that began just after her birth," notes Tom Engelhardt. "There are reasonable odds that her child, born several years from now, might be entering junior high school when those conflicts officially become America's Thirty Years' War."
This Sunday, rebuke displays of allegiance to an illegitimate system appended to 9/11 memorials. All life is sacred, and American lives are not more valuable than others.
It's no secret that government leaders conspire to advance U.S. hegemony in the Middle East with their illicit 'war on terror' response to the September 11, 2001 destruction of the World Trade Center in New York City. That horrific event advanced the criminal program of your government, sacrificing liberty to a false promise of security:
Wars of aggression, unjust occupations, and the use of drones, killing hundreds of thousands of civilians around the world;
Mass surveillance on whole populations, with intent to chill protest and dissent;
Indefinite detention and torture of prisoners at Guantanamo and other sites including torturing hunger strikers with force-feeding;
Incarceration of over 2.4 million people in the United States, mainly Black and Latino, a program with genocidal impact against these groups; and
Torture, intimidation and prosecution of whistleblowers while covering up for those responsible for crimes against humanity.
9/11 marks 15 years since the attack on the World Trade Center became justification for U.S. wars of aggression on people in at least 7 countries. None of which attacked the United States. Yet as many as 2 million people have been killed, and many millions displaced by U.S. military interventions, occupations, bombings and targeted killing.
It is on us, the millions of people living in this country, acting together with people around the world, to stand up, tell the truth, and say no to these crimes. We draw inspiration from and stand with Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, the hunger strikers at Guantanamo and domestic U.S. prisons, and other courageous resisters who have illuminated the truth about what this government does.
The wars for empire continue and are at the heart of the flood of refugees risking their lives to escape war zones of the Middle East and Africa. Many students are returning to school with increased consciousness of the injustices of empire and the U.S. military in particular - see wearenotyoursoldiers.org.
Tomorrow's PEACE vigil sponsored by codepink4peace.org, sfbaycantwait.net and occupysf.net. Join us most Wednesdays, 5:30-6:30pm, McKesson (BART) Plaza, Montgomery & Market Street, San Francisco.
"In the last few years, the Black Lives Matter movement has again made police shootings an urgent political issue," says Wayne State professor John Patrick Leary. "Protesters have taken to the streets demanding accountability for cops and justice for their victims. And police have responded in an idiom of banalities and prevarications, often aided by the press...