1. It's not a rescue mission. The U.S. personnel could be evacuated without the 500-pound bombs. The persecuted minorities could be supplied, moved, or their enemy dissuaded, or all three, without the 500-pound bombs or the hundreds of "advisors" (trained and armed to kill, and never instructed in how to give advice -- Have you ever tried taking urgent advice from 430 people?). The boy who cried rescue mission should not be allowed to get away with it after the documented deception in Libya where a fictional threat to civilians was used to launch an all-out aggressive attack that has left that nation in ruins. Not to mention the false claims about Syrian chemical weapons and the false claim that missiles were the only option left for Syria -- the latter claims being exposed when the former weren't believed, the missiles didn't launch, and less violent but perfectly obvious alternative courses of action were recognized. If the U.S. government were driven by a desire to rescue the innocent, why would it be arming Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain? The U.S. government destroyed the nation of Iraq between 2003 and 2011, with results including the near elimination of various minority groups. If preventing genocide were a dominant U.S. interest, it could have halted its participation in and aggravation of that war at any time, a war in which 97% of the dead were on one side, just as in Gaza this month -- the distinction between war and genocide being one of perspective, not proportions. Or, of course, the U.S. could have left well alone. Ever since President Carter declared that the U.S. would kill for Iraqi oil, each of his successors has believed that course of action justified, and each has made matters significantly worse.
2. It's going to make things worse, again. This bombing will aggravate the Sunni-Shia divide, increase support for ISIS, and create a lasting legacy of hostility and violence. President Obama says there is no military solution, only reconciliation. But bombs don't reconcile. They harden hearts and breed murderers. Numerous top U.S. officials admit that much of what the U.S. military does generates more enemies than it kills. When you continue down a path that is counterproductive on its own terms, the honesty of those terms has to be doubted. If this war is not for peace, is it perhaps -- like every other war we've seen the U.S. wage in the area -- for resources, profits, domination, and sadism? The leader of ISIS learned his hatred in a U.S. prison in Iraq. U.S. media report that fact as if it is just part of the standard portrait of a new Enemy #1, but the irony is not mere coincidence. Violence is created. It doesn't arise out of irrational and inscrutable foreignness. It is planted by those great gardeners in the sky: planes, drones, and helicopters. A bombing campaign justified as protecting people actually endangers them, and those around them, and many others, including those of us living in the imperial Homeland.
3. Bombs kill. Big bombs kill a lot of people. Massive bombing campaigns slaughter huge numbers of people, including those fighting in the hell the U.S. helped to create, and including those not fighting -- men, women, children, grandparents, infants. Defenders of the bombing know this, but ignore it, and make no effort to calculate whether more people are supposedly being saved than are being killed. This indifference exposes the humanitarian pretensions of the operation. If some humans are of no value to you, humanitarianism is not what's driving your decisions. The U.S. war on Iraq '03-'11 killed a half million to a million-and-a-half Iraqis and 4,000 Americans. A war that puts fewer Americans on the ground and uses more planes and drones is thought of as involving less death only if our concern is narrowly limited to U.S. deaths. From the vantage point of the ground, an air war is the deadliest form of war there is.
4. There are other options. The choice between bombing and doing nothing is as false now as it was in September. If you can drop food on some people, why can't you drop food on everyone? It would cost a tiny fraction of dropping bombs on them. It would confuse the hell out of them, too -- like Robin Williams' version of God high on pot and inventing the platypus. Of course, I now sound crazy because I'm talking about people who've been demonized (and personified in a killer straight out of a U.S. prison). It's not as if these are human beings with whom you can lament the death of Robin Williams. They're not like you and me. Etc. Yadda. Yadda. But in fact ISIS fighters were sharing their appreciation of Williams on Twitter on Tuesday. The United States could talk about other matters with ISIS as well, including a ceasefire, including a unilateral commitment to cease arming the Iraqi government even while trying to organize its ouster, including an offer to provide real humanitarian aid with no nasty strings attached, but with encouragement of civil liberties and democratic decision making. It's amazing how long minority ethnic groups in Iraq survived and thrived prior to the U.S. bringing democracy, and prior to the U.S. existing. The U.S. could do some good but must first do no harm.
5. There are now enough weapons already there to practically justify one of Colin Powell's slides retroactively. The U.S. accounts for 79% of foreign weapons transfers to Western Asia (the Middle East). The war on Libya had identical U.S. weapons on both sides. ISIS almost certainly has weapons supplied by the U.S. in Syria, and certainly has weapons taken from Iraq. So, what is the U.S. doing? It's rushing more weapons to Iraq as fast as possible. Americans like to think of the Middle East as backward and violent, but the tools of the violence trade are manufactured in the United States. Yes, the United States does still manufacture something, it's just not something that serves any useful purpose or about which most of us can manage to feel very proud. Weapons making also wastes money rather than creating it, because unaccountable profits are the single biggest product manufactured.
6. This is going to cost a fortune. Bombing Iraq is depicted as a measure of great restraint and forbearance. Meanwhile building schools and hospitals and green energy infrastructure in Iraq would be viewed as madness if anyone dared propose it. But the latter would cost a lot less money -- a consideration that is usually a top priority in U.S. politics whenever killing large numbers of people is not involved. The world spend $2 trillion and the U.S. $1 trillion (half the total) on war and war preparations every year. Three percent of U.S. military spending could end starvation on earth. The wonders that could be done with a fraction of military money are almost unimaginable and include actual defense against the actual danger of climate change.
7. Bombs are environmental disasters. If someone photographs a big oil fire, some will give a thought to the environmental damage. But a bombing campaign is, rather than an environmental accident, an intentional environmental catastrophe. The poisoned ground and water, and the disease epidemics, will reach the United States primarily through moral regret, depression, and suicide.
8. There go our civil liberties. Discussions of torture, imprisonment, assassination, surveillance, and denial of fair trials are severely damaged by wartime postures. After all, war is for "freedom," and who wouldn't be willing to surrender all of their freedoms for that?
9. War is illegal. It doesn't matter if the illegitimate government that you're trying to dump invited you to bomb its country. How can anyone take that seriously, while the U.S. installed that government and has armed it for years, as it has attacked its people? War is illegal under the Kellogg Briand Pact and the United Nations Charter, and pretending otherwise endangers the world. Domestically, under U.S. law, the president cannot launch a war. While the Senate has been silent, the U.S. House voted two weeks ago to ban any new presidential war on Iraq. Offering Congress a slap in the face, Obama waited for it to go on break, and then attacked Iraq.
To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle_at_gmail.com (replacing _at_ with @)
By Robert J. Gould
During the Vietnam War, my mother, an otherwise sweet and compassionate person, said “they” (Vietnamese) don’t value human life like we do, suggesting that I be more comfortable killing them. I never was comfortable with the idea of killing them, and so I didn’t.
However, I still hear some people say that an “enemy” doesn’t value human life like we do. Over the years, the enemy changes, but the refrain is the same: some people on "our" side believe that enemies think life is cheap and therefore expendable, to be easily sacrificed. These same people in our society believe that we, and probably our allies, think life is sacred, and only sacrificed in freely chosen heroic acts.
Whenever mass violence and war breaks out, the mainstream media decides (most often with the help of government spokespeople) who are the good guys and who are the bad guys, who is the enemy and who are the allies. Once this occurs, and media footage and commentary follow the script, it is surprising how many members of the public become comfortable with the killing of “enemy” people, especially when they are of another race, nationality, or religion.
Suddenly the term “enemy” expands to the whole population of people (civilians, children, the elderly) and they collectively become evil, treacherous, and targetable. We can justify our hard-heartedness towards this enemy by saying they do not value human life like we do.
We look at what the enemy has done to us, or our allies, and ignore what we, or our allies, have done to them. Through the entire news cycle, the mainstream media, selected public officials, and commentators continually feed this mismatch of perceptions. The psychological term for perceiving the enemy to be inhuman is called “enmification.” Perversely, then, life becomes cheap for us, as long as it's lives of the enemy. Falsely seeing the enemy as evil, and then doing evil to them, is deeply ironic and doubly unethical.
This enemy-making process reminds me of figuring out which team to cheer for, and which team to hate. We can come up with the flimsiest of reasons to support our choice. I cheer for Green Bay and disfavor that team from Texas for no good reason. But I don’t want any players of the Texas team to be killed, certainly not at the hands of the Green Bay players. It’s just a game, a bit of friendly competition.
But in so many ways (sports, justice, neighbors, celebrities, to name a few categories), we judge who is better, and who is lesser. I call this our tendency to take the judgmental view—very popular now in the world of quick-take, Internet opinions.
What would the world look like if we took a compassionate view? It would look like the world that my international students in conflict resolution tell me about, a world where every culture has a spectrum of good, caring people who just want to live their lives in peace, and extremes of people who have been driven to use violence out of fear or the evils of oppression.
Across the globe, we all similarly value life, but security fears, and campaigns for self-rule, often drive people to violence. They resort to violence because they have yet to learn the power and effectiveness of nonviolence, which has now been thoroughly studied to show how it has become much more effective than violence in creating security and democracy. Excusing violence against people by claiming that they don't value life is one of the greatest ethical oxymorons of our time. This practice should be abandoned forever.
Robert J. Gould, Ph.D., an ethicist syndicated by PeaceVoice, directs the Conflict Resolution Graduate and Undergraduate Programs at Portland State University.
Editor Note: Official U.S. policy is to decry torture – at least when done by adversaries – but ambiguities abound when U.S. operatives do the torturing. Then, torture becomes debatable and its defenders go on TV talk shows and even get honors from universities, as ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern notes.
By Ray McGovern
Responding to the Israeli aggression and the complicity of world governments
The Freedom Flotilla Coalition (FFC) met in Istanbul in the shadow of the latest Israeli aggression on Gaza. We have watched atrocities being committed against an already besieged population. In the two day meeting (August 10th and 11th), the FFC concluded that it is the responsibility of civil society worldwide to sail to Gaza and challenge the Israeli blockade, the source of most problems facing the Palestinian population of Gaza.
We plan to sail to Gaza during 2014, the UN International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People: http://unispal.un.org/
This initiative, following in the footsteps of the 2010 and 2011 flotillas as well as other attempts to challenge the blockade of Gaza (between 2008 and 2014), is expected to include a wider and more diverse international participation. This new flotilla is a reflection of the growing worldwide solidarity with the Palestinian people; from the US to Malaysia, from Scandinavia to South Africa.
"Calls to end the blockade of Gaza need to move from words to actions," said Ann Ighe, chairperson of Ship to Gaza and member of the FFC. We invite all interested citizens worldwide to participate in this initiative in any way you can."
These boats are also expected to carry Palestinian commercial products purchased by buyers worldwide to complete the work of Gaza's Ark, the cargo boat built by the Palestinians and the FFC in Gaza and was bombed by Israel on July 11th.
"We urge all governments to defend Human Rights and the right of the Palestinian people to freedom of movement, to facilitate the sailing of our ships to Gaza. It is their responsibility," added Ehab Lotayef of the coalition.
In addition to sailing to Gaza, the FFC will organize demonstrations at sea and in ports worldwide over the next months. Along with other projects, the initiative will support the right of Palestinians to operate international marine lines in and out of the port of Gaza.
We support the Palestinian demand to open the port of Gaza to international marine traffic. The FFC also will work on twinning ports in the Mediterranean and beyond, with Gaza City, as a sign of solidarity and support.
Finally, we assert that all that we do is peaceful, civil society driven non-governmental actions.
Freedom Flotilla Coalition members:
European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza
Freedom Flotilla Italia
International Committee for Breaking the Siege on Gaza (ICBSG)
Rumbo a Gaza
Ship to Gaza Greece
Ship to Gaza Norway
Ship to Gaza Sweden
also participating in the project:
Palestine Solidarity Alliance - South Africa
Haluan Palestin - Malaysia
Life Line to Gaza - Jordan
Miles of Smiles
Mathias Paul Quackenbush is an organizer of http://BadHoneywell.org
What's so bad about Honeywell? Let us count the ways!
Quackenbush lives in San Francisco, where he works as a dual diagnosis Residential Counselor and spends most of his remaining time engaging in activism for peace, human rights, and campaign finance reform.
Total run time: 29:00
Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.
Pacifica stations can also download from AudioPort.
Syndicated by Pacifica Network.
Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!
Please embed the SoundCloud audio on your own website!
Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete at
Edited by Nick Mottern – Coordinator, Network to Stop Drone Surveillance and Warfare.
Next organizers’ conference call: August 27, 2014 at 9 pm EST
Call in number: (605) 562-3000 - Access code: 484539#
PLEASE DO YOUR UTMOST TO JOIN THIS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT CALL WHEN WE WILL DISCUSS JOINT ACTIONS FOR SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER.
1. Editorial: GAZA, IRAQ AND OUR TRAGIC DRONE FANTASY
2. ISRAELI DRONE IMPACT UNEXAMINED BY THE PRESS
3. OPENING A NEW FRONT IN DRONE PROTEST
4. RUSSELL BROWN DEFENDS HIMSELF AND WINS
5. COURT ACTIONS GROW / CONTRIBUTIONS NEEDED
6. BEALE WITNESS AND PLANS
7. HORSHAM DRONE BASE VIGILS CONTINUE
8. OCTOBER 4 INTERNATIONAL DRONE ACTIONS
By Dr Hakim
“Her father was killed in Helmand amidst fighting between the Taliban and the Afghan/U.S.-NATO forces,” said a relative about Gul Jumma, who looked down, shy and full of angst, sensing a future that’s not promising.
Gul Jumma, together with the Afghan Peace Volunteers, expressed their opposition to wars in this video. Gul Jumma holds up the sign for ‘Ukraine’, indicating ‘No to wars in Ukraine’. She understands what it is like to be caught in the crossfire, as happened to her father when he was killed in battle.
Gul Jumma on the right
She and her surviving family members were displaced from her own village home in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan and now live in a squalid Internally Displaced Person’s ( IDP ) camp in Kabul. She is one of an estimated 600,000 IDPs in Afghanistan, whose flight is described as being ‘on the run without aid’.
So, at 10 years of age, Gul Jumma can already identify with the 100,000 Ukrainians who have been internally displaced in Ukraine, the 730,000 Ukrainians who have fled to Russia and over 1,300 Ukrainians who have died since fighting began in April 2014.
Her hard experience has taught her to protect herself. She gets upset when the other street kids mistreat her in the literacy class. Sometimes, she snaps back at them.
When she was asked to draw a picture of her work in the streets, collecting scrap paper and plastic for her mother to use as fuel, she ignored her unpleasant work and drew herself wearing a colourful dress.
“I like wearing colorful dresses when I go to weddings or when my family and I are guests at the houses of our relatives and friends. My favorite fruit is the pomegranate.”
In a child-like way wiser than the complicated confusion of adults, Gul Jumma and the Afghan street kids see past the false differentiation between the ‘right and wrong and the good and evil’ sides of war.
They challenge us to be honest in giving an account to them, “Which warring side is good? Which killer is better?”
Like the Ukrainian child pictured below, they would say to any side or killer, whether the U.S.-backed Ukranian army or the Russian-backed rebels, or the U.S./NATO coalition-backed Afghan army or the Taliban/Afghan militia groups, “Don’t kill us!”
When Afghan youth, including little girls like Gul Jumma, hear people say that war is not the answer, like the anti-war Ukranian protesters are saying, they can empathize. The Afghan Peace Volunteers swiftly agreed to express their solidarity with the ordinary people of Ukraine.
The United Nations reported in June this year that a record number of 50 million human beings worldwide have become refugees.
50 million persons, for the self-interests of fighting groups and governments, have become human beings seeking refuge from fellow human beings.
Whether they are Iraqi Christians, Iraqi Yazidis, Iraqi Muslims, Ukrainian free thinkers, Ukrainian Orthodox Christians and Catholics, Ukrainian Muslims, Palestinian Muslims, Israeli Jews, Syrian Muslims, Syrian Christians, Guatemalan Catholics etc., they are all refugees, and share the risks and crises all refugees face.
Some Palestinians, including children, who took refuge in UN schools in Gaza, were bombed and killed by the Israeli military nonetheless. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon called one such attack ‘a moral outrage and a criminal act.’
But, Mr Ban and the UN have been unable to do what the UN charter set out to do, to ‘remove the scourge of war from future generations’.
Waziri was an Afghan refugee in South Waziristan for 17 years. He and his family returned to live in Kabul in 2006. He told me the story of Pakistani Pashtun refugees who recently fled North Waziristan for relative safety in Khost Province of Afghanistan. “My friends and I mobilized a few community groups to provide oil, rice and sugar for about 610 refugee families in Khost,” Waziri shared.
Who did the Pakistani refugees flee from? The Pakistani refugees fled from the Pakistan Army!
A Pakistani army commander had told the BBC that ‘the Taliban had already left North Waziristan before the offensive by the Pakistani army started.
So, the Pakistani army, backed by the U.S., stormed through North Waziristan, finding few if any Taliban, and forced fellow Pakistanis to flee from their own homes!
Waziri considers the military operation ‘a really big show’ at the expense of ordinary people. “I think the ISI and the Pakistani government themselves had informed the Taliban to leave! “said Waziri.
“The refugees I met in Khost lamented that they can’t go back to Waziristan now because they could be mistakenly killed by the Pakistani soldiers in the offensive. And, if the Taliban returned to the area after the offensive, the Taliban may kill them.”
Waziri ended off with this horrid story of our terrible human condition, “One of the refugees I met in Khost told me that as they were fleeing, his new-born baby was so weak from thirst that the baby died in his arms. Angry, disappointed and profoundly sad, the man carried the dead baby in his arms, and crying, he shouted at a Pakistani soldier, saying, ‘You might as well take the corpse of my baby and eat it. This is what you’re doing to us!”
These refugee stories show that the current leaders of the world, whether leaders of democratic or socialist governments or leaders of ‘extremist’ groups, have the same simplistic responses to wars, to the global refugee crises, and even to antiwar protesters : spying and surveillance, imprisonment, shoot and bombard, or Hillary Clinton’s slogan in Afghanistan to ‘fight, talk, build’!
The elite 1% of armed groups and armed governments are waging economic, environmental and military wars against the people! They, and perhaps we ourselves too, have lost our imagination and empathy.
But not Gul Jumma, not Waziri, not Ukrainian mothers who went on foot to a bridge carrying placards reading "Save our boys!"and not Israeli reservists who refuse to fight in Gaza. Certainly, not activists who go to jail for protesting elaborate secret government programs of targeted killings, drone murders, detentions without trial, torture and other clearly brutal acts.
Each of us should emulate them to protest against all wars, in solidarity with all refugees.
If there are 50 million refugees, there ought to at least be 50 million of us working together to divest and boycott, to stop military mobilization and conscription, to take the guilty elite to court, to participate in non-violent direct actions and protests and to provide all kinds of humanitarian assistance.
There ought to be at least 50 million of us working together to restore human dignity and freedom, including the building of small, self-governing, non-violent egalitarian communities, as practical alternatives to the status quo of a large, 1%-dominated, violent, unequal world.
‘No to Afghanistan in Ukraine. No to Ukraine in Afghanistan. No to wars in the world!’
We wish to live differently.
We no longer want anyone anywhere to be human fodder caught in the crossfire of armed groups and armed governments.
Dr Hakim, ( Dr. Teck Young, Wee ) is a medical doctor from Singapore who has done humanitarian and social enterprise work in Afghanistan for the past 9 years, including being a friend and mentor to the Afghan Peace Volunteers, an inter-ethnic group of young Afghans dedicated to building non-violent alternatives to war. He is the 2012 recipient of the International Pfeffer Peace Prize.
To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle_at_gmail.com (replacing _at_ with @)
Originally posted at AcronymTV
Awareness of, and commitment to the movement of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) is growing both here in the United States and around the world.
Describing BDS in an early 2014 piece, Beth Perry wrote:
“It’s a broad tactic aimed to pressure the state itself to change. But it also reserves a special focus for companies that are actually involved in — and make hefty profits from — occupation policies. These organizations may be forced to pay attention to the boycott very soon — and they may not be the ones you’d expect.”
By John Grant
All we are saying is give peace a chance
(Militaries are outdated and they should go, like hanging and flogging).
By Mairead Corrigan Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate, Peace People. N.Ireland
I would like to offer my congratulations to IFOR on this its 100th anniversary.
I once asked Fr. Dan Berrigan, the great American Anti-war activist, for some advice to me in my life as a peace activist. He replied ‘Pray and Resist’. The IFOR members will appreciate this advice, coming as they do from their roots in 100 years of building International Fellowship and Reconciliation between peoples of all faith traditions, (and none) many of whom believe in the need for prayer in order to strengthen their spiritual lives, and many take their prayer, very seriously. Our Muslim brothers and sisters show us great example by their very beautiful lives of prayer, (5 times a day), and Fasting at Ramadan.
But I would like to ask how serious are we about Resistance? What is our Vision?
And how does Resistance fit into this? What do we need to resist? How can we resist effectively? And what methods are allowed? In resisting, what are our aims and objectives?
I would like to propose that IFOR and the Worlds’ Peace Movement adopt a vision of the total abolition of Militarism. Such a Vision would empower us to know where we are going. It would inspire and energize each of us to pursue our different projects, be it arms trade, nuclear abolition, nonkilling/nonviolence, culture of peace, abolishing arms, drone warfare, human rights, environmental rights, etc., We will know as we work towards this vision of a demilitarised, disarmed world, that we are part of an ever growing new ‘consciousness’ of men and women, choosing to uphold human life, the right to individual conscious, loving our enemies, human rights and international law, and solving our problems without killing each other.
Why Resist militarism? We are witnessing the growing militarism of Europe, and its role as a driving force for armaments, and its dangerous path, under the leadership of the USA/NATO towards a new ‘cold’ war and military aggression. The European Union and many of its countries, who used to take initiatives in the UN for peaceful settlements of conflicts, particularly allegedly peaceful countries, like Norway and Sweden, are now one of the US/NATO most important war assets. The EU is a threat to the survival of neutrality, as countries are being asked to join NATO, and forced to end their neutrality and choose (unnecessarily) between West and East.
Many nations have been drawn into being complicit in breaking international law through US/UK/NATO wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and etc., Germany being the third largest exporter of military hardware in the world, continues to increase its military budget and is complicit with NATO, facilitating USA bases, from which Drones leave to carry out illegal ex judicial killings on the order of the US President, in countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc., Germany has also provided Israel with its nuclear submarine and continues to be complicit under the Geneva Convention, in Israeli war crimes against Gaza and illegal Occupation of Palestine.
I believe we need to abolish NATO and increase our task of dismantling the Military Industrial complex, through nonviolent and civil resistance. The means of resistance are very important. As a pacifist and person deeply committed to nonkilling/nonviolence as a way to bring about social/cultural/political change, I believe we need to use means consistent with the end, and it is wrong to use violence.
Our message that Militarism and War do not solve our problem of violence, challenges us to use new ways and that is why we need to teach the Science of peace at every level of society. We are all aware there are forces at work who are determined to continue their agenda of the militarization of our societies and there are Gov./Corporate/Media attempts to make violence and war acceptable. The greatest danger to our freedoms being eroded, by Gov., and endangered by ‘armed’ groups, is a fearful, apathetic, civil community, refusing to take a stand for human rights and real democracy, and against violence and war.
We can take hope from the fact that most people want peace not war. However, we are facing a civilization problem. We are facing a Political/Ideological challenge with the growth of what President Eisenhower warned the USA people against – the Military/Industrial complex. He warned it would destroy USA
Democracy and he has been proven right in this. We know now that a small world group made up of Military/Industrial/Media/corporate/Academic elite, whose agenda is profit, arms, war and valuable resources, is now holding power and have a stronghold on our elected Governments. We see this in the Gun and Israeli Lobbies, amongst others, who hold great power over American Politics. We have witnessed this, in ongoing wars, invasions, occupations, and proxy war, all allegedly in the name of ‘humanitarian intervention and democracy’. However, in reality they are causing great suffering, especially to the poor, through their policies of arms, war, domination and control of other countries and their resources.
Unmasking this agenda of war and demanding the implementation of Human Rights and International Law is the work of the Peace Movement. We can turn around from this path of destruction by spelling out a clear vision of what kind of a world we want to live in, demanding an end to M/I complex, and insisting our Governments adopt Policies of Peace, Just Economics, etc.
We the Peace Movement are the alternative to militarism and war, and as we want a different world, we must be part of building it. We must not be satisfied with improvements and reform to militarism but rather offer an alternative. Militarism is an aberration and a system of dysfunction. Militarism should be outdated and go like hanging and flogging! I hope that IFOR will join in a Universal Call for peace through the wholesale abolition of Militarism.
To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle_at_gmail.com (replacing _at_ with @)
If I had a Hellfire
Missile in the morning,
And another in the evening,
Oh that'd be grand!
I'd take out Iraqis,
I'd take out Ukrainians,
I'd take out folks between,
The Atlantic and Pacific,
Oh that'd be grand!
If I had a drone
I'd buzz it in the morning,
I'd buzz it in the evening,
All over your sand,
I'd take out Yemenis,
I'd take out some Syrians
I'd take out folksy folks between,
Argentina and the Arctic
Oh oh oh that'd be grand
If I had a bomb
I'd drop it in the morning
I'd drop it in the evening
Wouldya lend me a hand
We'd destroy Libya
We'd demolish Palestine
We'd take out all male folks between
age eighteen and a hundred
Oh let me be clear that'd be grand
Well, I've got a Hellfire
and I've got a drone
I've got a 500-pound bomb to drop
Come lend me a hand
It's the Hellfire of justice
It's the drone of freedom
It's a Nobel Peace Prize bomb
from a Constitutional scholar
Oh isn't it grand!
It's the Hellfire of justice
It's the drone of freedom
It's a Nobel Peace Prize bomb
from a Constitutional scholar
Oh isn't it grand!
Daddy George H.W. Bush; Bill Clinton; W. Bush and now Barack Obama have an unbroken streak of bombing Iraq.Let us say as strongly as we can, that the bombing begun overnight in Kurdish areas — no matter who “asked” for it to be done — is outrageously dangerous, will not “save civilians,” but instead will endanger them further. Rather than protecting people in harm's way, US bombs and secret operations are a message to other powers that no one else will be allowed to run Iraq.
By Dave Lindorff
There’s an old adage that goes: “You can judge a man by the company he keeps.”
If that’s the case, then applying it to nations, the world has to judge the US to be a truly wretched and repugnant country, and should be steering clear of it.
Stop Israel’s Ongoing War Crimes & Crimes Against Humanity of Gaza's People
Thursday August 14: An Evening of Information & Inspiration Cooper Union, NYC & Live on the internet 7 pm EDT
Remarks at event for WorldBeyondWar.org in Washington, D.C., on August 9, 2014.
Welcome. I'm going to say a few words and then introduce each of our other speakers, who will each speak for 10 minutes or less, and then we'll open it up for discussion with all of us.
World Beyond War is a brand new organization, just beginning to organize volunteers, raise funds, hire staff, and post advertisements online and around the world. I'm the only paid staff thus far, and that's part-time. But thousands of people and organizations of all kinds from 70 nations thus far have signed the pledge at WorldBeyondWar.org. It reads -- in English; we have it posted in many languages, and can use more translations from any of you who are able:
"I understand that wars and militarism make us less safe rather than protect us, that they kill, injure and traumatize adults, children and infants, severely damage the natural environment, erode civil liberties, and drain our economies, siphoning resources from life-affirming activities. I commit to engage in and support nonviolent efforts to end all war and preparations for war and to create a sustainable and just peace."
We're passing around sign-up sheets on which you can sign your name if you agree with that. You can also indicate how you'd like to be involved, if you would. I hope you will. This is a global effort, but just as the movement to abolish slavery needed to begin in London, this new birth for the movement to abolish war can only get so far without strong participation in Washington, D.C., participation that works together with our allies around the world, many of whom are pushing back against militarism that is funded and directed here, as well as weapons produced in this country and marketed abroad from here.
Why now? Here we are at 100 years since World War One was launched, and people have been trying -- and pretending to be trying -- to use war to end war ever since, and -- like using capital punishment to end murder or using beer to end alcoholism -- it's been a doomed pursuit.
Here we are at 69 years since Truman dropped the bombs on Japan, lied about the nature of the target, and justified it as revenge, not as a means of ending a war, which he knew it was not, and not as a means of threatening the Soviet Union, which he knew that it was. And we've been stockpiling these apocalyptic weapons ever since, knowing that complete destruction due to intentional or accidental use is more likely the more time passes. But people in power in this city believe they are better off the more Russia is antagonized.
Here we are at 50 years since the Gulf of Tonkin incident did not actually happen, the Pentagon is investing millions in commemoration and beautification of the slaughter of 4 million Vietnamese, and President Obama has taken the occasion to start bombing Iraq again, apparently believing that for the first time in history the bombs will generate friendship rather than blowback. It's amazing how long each threatened minority group in Iraq survived before the U.S. brought democracy, and before the U.S. existed. And now dropping food is accompanied by 500 pound bombs. There is no military solution, says President Obama, only reconciliation can help. Well, then why not drop food on the entire region? It would cost a small fraction of what the missiles and bombs cost. Would that be rewarding terrorists? No, it would be recognizing humanity by ceasing to be terrorists. Dropping bombs on people enrages them and binds their loyalty to those fighting back. If the institution of war were continuing for rational reasons, that lesson would have sunk in by now and stopped it.
Meanwhile in Gaza, genocide has gone mainstream, with discussion of the complete elimination of the people of Gaza openly advocated by top Israeli officials in Israeli media, and by more than a few U.S. columnists, comedians, and crackpots as well. And people protest the slaughter by contrasting it to war. But 97% of the deaths in Gaza are the people of Gaza, and 97% of the deaths in the 2003-2011 war on Iraq were the people of Iraq. One outside observer's genocide is another patriot's war. Neither is a tool to end the other, and both are often words for the same thing.
Why choose this moment, when one speech cannot even mention all the wars, to begin an effort to fully eliminate the whole institution from our culture? A decade back, there were marches in the streets and outrage over war lies that had proved false. Nowadays lies about impending danger in Libya, the use of particular weapons in Syria, the construction of particular weapons in Iran, the origins of hostility in Ukraine, the expansion of the U.S. military into Africa and Asia, and the results of the doings of the deadly drones pass by so unnoticed that when Obama starts bombing Iraq, the one place everyone was supposed to know shouldn't be bombed, at least some people conclude that war is made acceptable by Obama, rather than Obama being made unacceptable by war.
But, you know what, for millions all over the world, Obama and other war makers' actions are unacceptable when they include war. Even in the United States, opinion has swung against war quite dramatically. Polls in recent months have found under 10 or 20 percent favoring a new U.S. war in any place that can be named: Iraq, Iran, Syria, Ukraine. Two weeks ago the U.S. House voted to forbid any new presidential war in Iraq. There's no spine there to enforce that measure, and it wasn't passed by the Senate, but it comes on the heels of dramatic reductions in drone strikes, the blocking of a bill in February what would have committed the United States to joining any Israeli-Iranian war, and the stopping of a proposal in September to send missiles screaming into Syria. The point is not that we're winning or losing. The point is that we have examples to hold up to those who claim no war can be stopped, and we have opinion dramatically moving our way, even on Israel, whenever specific real wars are named.
The trouble lies in how many people believe an unspecified good war might come along someday, because that myth keeps the military fueled and funded in a manner that makes actual very bad wars likely. The trouble is in "looking forward" because the past has such an extreme antiwar bias. That, and how many people protest less against smaller, less expensive, more aerial, or robotized wars, even as those wars proliferate, concentrate power, and generate new enemies. The problem is the widespread belief that some wars or some parts of some wars can be legal, moral, and useful -- a sort of fine-toothed distinction-drawing that we just don't engage in with other evils like slavery or child abuse or rape.
So there is, in fact, anti-war momentum to be harnessed and encouraged and directed toward the entire institution rather than only each of its separate pieces. But why a new organization? Aren't there organizations existing that already oppose war? Of course there are. They are not enough. The need is not to divide our resources but to enlarge them by bringing in new people and groups, and to better use our energies by choosing the best strategies we can. There is a job out there that isn't being done. Much of it is an educational job. Many people do not believe that war can be ended. It's a ridiculous hurdle but one that has to be taken on. Many believe that war can protect us or protect others. The facts say otherwise, but facts require a lot of support when they're going up against emotions like fear or the desire to believe that public officials are not sociopathic. A campaign to spread the word that war can and must be eliminated worldwide needs to be created and is something that WorldBeyondWar has just begun.
I spoke at the Veterans For Peace Convention recently, and they are completely on board with helping to advance this effort, as are many other peace organizations. The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom supports this. I attended the national committee meeting of the War Resisters League, of which I'm a member, recently, and they share the vision of World Beyond War but have put their resources into particular efforts, all good ones, including opposing teargas, doing counter-recruitment, etc. WorldBeyondWar has begun supporting and will continue working on all sorts of partway steps that move us in the direction of a world beyond war. But we will advance an understanding of war as a cultural preference, not something made inevitable by any of the factors that interact with and facilitate it. And we will seek to reframe antiwar activism as part of the struggle toward the ultimate goal of abolition, rather than as part of a struggle to reform war or civilize war or only lessen war's damage and stop there.
We're going to try to stop using the term "we" when referring to public crimes we've opposed, stop opposing Pentagon waste more than Pentagon efficiency, stop calling an aggressive institution the defense industry, stop denouncing particular war crimes in a way that suggests a war itself is not a crime, stop opposing dumb wars as if some are smart, stop opposing wars because they leave the military ill-prepared as if we don't want the military ill-prepared, stop focusing on financial costs and costs to the aggressor in a way that blocks out the nature of a war as a one-sided slaughter, stop celebrating veterans and begin celebrating resisters, and develop a culture of peace that marks peace holidays and thanks peace activists for their service, while making visible the nonviolent alternatives to war.
World Beyond War is also developing a website that makes the strongest case we know how against every argument for war. The case against war that is laid out at WorldBeyondWar.org includes these topics:
War is immoral.
War endangers us.
War threatens our environment.
War erodes our liberties.
War impoverishes us.
That last one is important, and a bit different from how many schools we could have built for the price of one war -- which is always a useful point too. The larger point is that ordinary military spending, apart from particular wars, is easily ten times the price of a particular war. And a small fraction of that spending could end starvation, provide clean water, and bring medicine and agriculture and green energy to the world. We could take on real dangers, including environmental ones, rather than generating dangers through war.
We can talk about each argument, but now I want to introduce our next speaker.
Maria Santelli was the founder of the New Mexico GI Rights Hotline and is the Executive Director of a terrific organization here in D.C. called the Center on Conscience and War.
Jeff Bachman is a professorial lecturer in human rights and the Co-Director of the Ethics, Peace, and Global Affairs program at the School of International Service at American University.
Vincent Intondi is Associate Professor of History at Montgomery College and Director of Research at the Nuclear Studies Institute of the American University here in D.C. He is also author of African Americans Against the Bomb.
Nadia Kamoona is an Iraqi-American student at the University of Virginia, a future international human rights lawyer, and this summer has been an intern for World Beyond War.
Andy Shallal is an Iraqi-American artist, activist, and entrepreneur, and a recent candidate for mayor of Washington, D.C., and the proprietor of Busboys and Poets, which makes him our host this evening.
Close the gate
I’m not home.
To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle_at_gmail.com (replacing _at_ with @)
By Alfredo Lopez
The recent news that Russian hackers have the usernames and passwords for over a billion users as well as a half billion email accounts wraps up a week of Internet craziness.
Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog
On July 30, the Republican minority of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, headed by Sen. David Vitter, released a report titled "The Chain of Environmental Command: How a Club of Billionaires and Their Foundations Control the Environmental Movement and Obama’s EPA."
Originally posted at AcronymTV
by Khashayar Nikazmrad
White phosphorus burning meat off the civilian bones, burning the single moms hopes of peace, chemical gas greeting the dusty morning sunshine, shelling orchestrating a symphony of death, breath by breath, the long forgotten dream of survival awakens the nightmare of Israel’s arrival, Airstrikes, ground invasion, the rape and theft of an entire nation,
Media, money, and mendacity corroding the remains of a heart sold to the musings of Zionist colonial congregation, the truth locked behind the delusion of defense, the a victimizing story lying about Zionist glory….
The plaque was accepted by co-founders Medea Benjamin and Jodie Evans, to overwhelming applause from an audience of about 100 people. In his remarks, Knox thanked CODEPINK for the great courage its members have shown and for the sacrifices they have made for peace. “CODEPINK is the most innovative, effective, and visible antiwar presence in the United States. Its approaches to peace and opposition to war are contemporary and receive more media and government attention than any other peace group. CODEPINK has shown what volunteers can do with limited resources. Their service is an inspiration to the world.”
In learning of the award, Jodie Evans remarked, “What a wonderful honor for tens of thousands of women and men of CODEPINK who take action, write letters to the editor, organize locally, travel globally, and live intentionally to create a more peace filled world. I feel blessed to work with this posse of angels who live from their hearts and gather under the banner CODEPINK, and those we collaborate with around the world who know that war is not the answer and the money we spend on war, weapons, and violence needs to be invested in our communities to achieve the peace and justice we all desire.”
Medea Benjamin noted: “After more than a decade of perpetual war, the American people are both war weary and war wise, understanding that a military response to violence only leads to more violence. While the military contractors and weapons manufacturers have made a killing, the rest of us - at home and abroad - have had to deal with death, suffering, PTSD, corruption, and depleted economies. I am honored to be part of a vibrant peace movement in CODEPINK and beyond, a movement that is now gaining traction with the general public that is more and more wary of calls for foreign military adventures. We don't do this work for recognition, but after so many years of exhausting work, getting this prize from the US Peace Memorial Foundation inspires us to continue our efforts to build a world where we take care of each other and our precious planet, and send the weapons-makers back to the drawing board to come up with a new set of products that are not designed to kill.”
See photos and other details at: www.uspeacememorial.org/
CODEPINK is the first organization to be recognized in this way by the Foundation. Previous Peace Prize recipients are Chelsea Manning, Medea Benjamin, Noam Chomsky, Dennis Kucinich, and Cindy Sheehan. Nominees considered this year include American Friends Service Committee, Garry Davis, Psychologists for Social Responsibility, the Jeannette Rankin Peace Center, and David Swanson. You can read about the antiwar/peace activities of all recipients and nominees in our publication, the US Peace Registry.
Our highly focused mission is to honor Americans who stand for peace by publishing the US Peace Registry, awarding an annual Peace Prize, and planning for the US Peace Memorial in Washington, D.C. These projects can help move the United States toward a culture of peace, as we honor the millions of thoughtful and courageous Americans who have taken a public stand against one or more U.S. wars or who have devoted their time, energy, and other resources to finding peaceful solutions to international conflicts. We celebrate these role models as they inspire other Americans to speak out against war and for peace.
Please help us continue this important work. Become a Founding Member and have your name permanently associated with peace. Founding Members are listed on our website, in our publication the US Peace Registry, and eventually at the National Monument.
Charlie, Jolyon, Lucy, and Michael
Board of Directors
Love is a serious problem in our world. There is too much of it. So I want to explain how we can destroy it systematically. If we can destroy love completely, we can destroy life on Earth.
But first, what is love?
President Obama may want us to sympathize with patriotic torturers, he may turn on whistleblowers like a flesh-eating zombie, he may have lost all ability to think an authentic thought, but I will say this for him: He knows how to mark the 50th anniversary of the Gulf of Tonkin fraud like a champion.
It's back in Iraq, Jack! Yackety yack! Obama says the United States has fired missiles and dropped food in Iraq -- enough food to feed 8,000, enough missiles to kill an unknown number (presumably 7,500 or fewer keeps this a "humanitarian" effort). The White House told reporters on a phone call following the President's Thursday night speech that it is expediting weapons to Iraq, producing Hellfire missiles and ammunition around the clock, and shipping those off to a nation where Obama swears there is no military solution and only reconciliation can help. Hellfire missiles are famous for helping people reconcile.
Obama went straight into laying out his excuses for this latest war, before speaking against war and in favor of everything he invests no energy in. First, the illegitimate government of Iraq asked him to do it. Second, ISIS is to blame for the hell that the United States created in Iraq. Third, there are still lots of places in the world that Obama has not yet bombed. Oh, and this is not really a war but just protection of U.S. personnel, combined with a rescue mission for victims of a possible massacre on a scale we all need to try to understand.
Wow! We need to understand the scale of killing in Iraq? This is the United States you're talking to, the people who paid for the slaughter of 0.5 to 1.5 million Iraqis this decade. Either we're experts on the scale of mass killings or we're hopelessly incapable of understanding such matters.
Completing the deja vu all over again Thursday evening, the substitute host of the Rachel Maddow Show seemed eager for a new war on Iraq, all of his colleagues approved of anything Obama said, and I heard "Will troops be sent?" asked by several "journalists," but never heard a single one ask "Will families be killed?"
Pro-war veteran Democratic congressman elected by war opponents Patrick Murphy cheered for Obama supposedly drawing a red line for war. Murphy spoke of Congress without seeming aware that less than two weeks ago the House voted to deny the President any new war on Iraq. There are some 199 members of the House who may be having a hard time remembering that right now.
Pro-war veteran Paul Rieckhoff added that any new veterans created would be heroes, and -- given what a "mess" Iraq is now -- Rieckhoff advocated "looking forward." The past has such an extreme antiwar bias.
Rounding out the reunion of predictable pro-war platitudes and prevarications, Nancy Pelosi immediately quoted the bits of Obama's speech that suggested he was against the war he was starting. Can Friedman Units and benchmarks be far behind?
Obama promises no combat troops will be sent back to Iraq. No doubt. Instead it'll be planes, drones, helicopters, and "non-combat" troops. "America is coming to help" finally just sounded as evil as Reagan meant it to, but it was in Obama's voice. The ironies exploded like Iraqi houses on Thursday. While the United States locks Honduran refugee children in cages, it proposes to bomb Iraq for refugees. While Gaza starves and Detroit lacks water, Obama bombs Iraq to stop people from starving. While the U.S. ships weapons to Israel to commit genocide, and to Syria for allies of ISIS, it is rushing more weapons into Iraq to supposedly prevent genocide on a mountaintop -- also to add to the weapons supplies already looted by ISIS.
Of course, it's also for "U.S. interests," but if that means U.S. people, why not pull them out? If it means something else, why not admit as much in the light of day and let the argument die of shame?
Let me add a word to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs spokesman David Swanson, who is not me and whom I do not know: Please do keep pushing for actual humanitarian aid. But if you spoke against the missiles that are coming with the food, the reporters left that bit out. You have to fit it into the same sentence with the food and water if you want it quoted. I hope there is an internal U.N. lobby for adoption by the U.N. of the U.N. Charter, and if there is I wish it all the luck in the world.
To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle_at_gmail.com (replacing _at_ with @)
Originally posted at AcronymTV
“What once was maybe a Christian-Fascist movement against women’s right to abortion really got elevated and brought into the halls of power,” says Sunsara Taylor of Stop Patriarchy. “Starting with Ronald Reagan, continuing under Bush, escalating Bill Clinton (quiet as it is kept: Bill Clinton who signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which became the foundation for the recent Hobby Lobby decision).”