The American Cult of Bombing

Why You Should Expect More Bombs to be Dropped Everywhere 
By William J. Astore, TomDispatch.com

When you do something again and again, placing great faith in it, investing enormous amounts of money in it, only to see indifferent or even negative results, you wouldn’t be entirely surprised if a neutral observer questioned your sanity or asked you if you were part of some cult.  Yet few Americans question the sanity or cult-like behavior of American presidents as they continue to seek solutions to complex issues by bombing Iraq (as well as numerous other countries across the globe).

Iraq/Syria News - Aug 19, 2014

 

Obama: Recapture of Critical Dam in Iraq Is a Success - ABC News


VIDEO: President Obama Addresses Iraq and Ferguson Crisis, (FULL STATEMENT) - YouTube


TRANSCRIPT: Obama’s remarks on Iraq and Ferguson - The Washington Post


Obama to chair UN meeting on Syria, Iraq foreign fighters - GlobalPost


POLL: Most Americans support U.S. Airstrikes in Iraq; Concern About Getting Too Involved - Pew Research Center


POLL (Full Report): Most Americans support U.S. Airstrikes in Iraq; Concern About Getting Too Involved - Pew Research Center


Iraq Crisis: Approximately 100 CIA agents and US special forces hunt Islamic State 'Caliph' Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi - Yahoo News UK


Security of Mosul Dam Critical to Iraq’s Infrastructure: Defense Dept - Defense.gov


Mosul dam needs crucial maintenance to reduce flood risk: expert - Fox News


VIDEO: Why is Iraq's Mosul dam so important? - BBC News


Iraqis consolidating gains after victory retaking dam - usatoday.com


VIDEO: Video from a U.S. military airstrike against IS Humvee near the Mosul Dam - YouTube


VIDEO: Video from a U.S. military airstrike against IS armed truck near the Mosul Dam - YouTube


Britain steps up role in Iraq as warplanes monitor IS positions - The Guardian


Pope Backs Military Force To Protect Iraq Minorities, Wants UN OK - ABC News


UNSC takes aim at jihadist supporters in Iraq and Syria - DW.DE


Kuwait briefly detains Muslim cleric U.S. suspects of militant financing, "He was released without any charges" - Reuters


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Plight of Iraqi Minorities Worsens With Forced Conversions and Killings - NYTimes.com


Testimonies from Kocho: The Yazidi village IS tried to wipe off the map - Amnesty's blog


VIDEO: Yazidi man tells of family wiped out by Islamic State 'massacre' in Kocho - Telegraph


In Iraq, Captured Yazidi Women Fear the Islamic State Will Force Them to Wed - Washington Post


Kurdish militants train hundreds of Yazidis to fight Islamic State - Reuters


VIDEO: Inside the Syria training camp where Kurdish forces are preparing Yazidis for battle against IS - Telegraph


Disabled Yazidi boy found by Kurdish abandoned in middle of Iraqi desert (PHOTOS) - Mail Online


VIDEO: Disabled Yazidi refugee boy 'abandoned in desert' - BBC News


Turkmen: Iraq's Third Largest Ethnic Group Is Also On The Run From The Islamic State - huffingtonpost


Iraq's Sunnis Offer To Back New Government In Fight Against Islamic State - Eurasia Review


Baathist Insurgent Naqshbandi Army' Activist Front Groups - Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi


How IS Is Using Taxes To Build A Terrorist State - Forbes


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Reports: Islamic State Group Kills Syria Tribesmen - ABC News


PHOTOS: Three older men executed and crucified in Deir ez-Zor by IS - LiveLeak.com


Syria bombs ISIS positions in Raqqa for second day - THE DAILY STAR


Rebels ask for Iraq-style strikes in Syria against IS - Al Jazeera English


Syrian Coalition Statement Calls for Targeted Airstrikes in Syria and a Comprehensive Approach to Defeating IS - National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces


Japanese 'mercenary' captured and interrogated at knifepoint by IS jihadists with British accents in Syria - Mail Online


VIDEO: Bloodied Japanese 'mercenary’ captured by IS - YouTube


VIDEO: New IS Interrogation Video Allegedly Of Japanese Military Contractor Haruna Yukawa - LiveLeak.com


U.S. ship finishes neutralizing Syria's worst chemical arms: Pentagon - Yahoo News


Statement by President Obama on the Completion of the Destruction of Syria’s Declared Chemical Weapons - enewspf.com


Expert: Claims of Syrian Government Involvement in Sarin Gas Attack in Doubt, A Brief Assessment of the Veracity of Published Statements by Dan Kaszeta - cryptome.org

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle_at_gmail.com (replacing _at_ with @)

Death of Seaman Who Saved the USS Liberty Brings Memories of Israeli Attack

 

 


A USS Liberty’s Hero’s Passing

 

 

Editor Comment:  Silver Star winner Terry Halbardier, the hero who got off the SOS that saved the USS Liberty from Israeli destruction in 1967, died last week in California, prompting ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern to recall the murderous attack and the cowardly cover-up that followed.

By Ray McGovern

Terry Halbardier, who – as a 23-year old seaman in 1967 – thwarted Israeli attempts to sink the USS Liberty, died on Aug. 11 in Visalia, California. It took the U.S. government 42 years after the attack to recognize Halbardier’s heroism by awarding him the Silver Star, a delay explained by Washington’s determination to downplay Israeli responsibility for the 34 Americans killed and the 174 wounded.

Causes of War Krugman Overlooked

While I'm working on a campaign to abolish war, it's helpful and appreciated that a columnist for one of the most effective war promoting institutions in the world, the New York Times, on Sunday mused aloud about why in the world wars are still waged.

Paul Krugman rightly pointed to the destructive nature of wars even for their victors.  He admirably presented the insights of Norman Angell who figured out that war didn't pay economically over a century ago. But Krugman didn’t get much further than that, his one proposal to explain wars fought by wealthy nations being political gain for the war makers.

Robert Parry has pointed out the falsity of Krugman's pretense that Vladimir Putin is the cause of trouble in Ukraine. One might also question Krugman's claim that George W. Bush actually "won" his reelection in 2004, considering what went on in Ohio's vote counting. 

Yes, indeed, a great many fools will rally around any high official who wages war, and it's good for Krugman to point that out. But it's just plain bizarre for an economist to lament the cost (to the U.S.) of the U.S. war on Iraq as reaching possibly $1 trillion, and never notice that the United States spends roughly $1 trillion on preparations for war each and every year through basic routine military spending -- itself economically destructive, as well as morally and physically destructive.

What drives the spending that Eisenhower warned would drive the wars? Profits, legalized bribery, and a culture that searches for the causes of war primarily among the 95 percent of humanity that invests dramatically less in war-making than the United States does. 

Krugman dismisses economic gain as relevant only to poor nations' internal wars, but doesn't explain why U.S. wars concentrate in oil-rich areas. "I am saddened," wrote Alan Greenspan, "that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil." As Krugman is no doubt aware, rising oil prices are not lamented by everyone, and the high cost of weaponry is not a downside from the perspective of weapons makers. Wars don't economically benefit societies, but they do enrich individuals. That same principle is central to explaining the U.S. government's conduct on any area other than war; why should war be different?

No particular war, and certainly not the institution as a whole, has a single simple explanation.  But it's certainly true that if Iraq's top export were broccoli there'd have been no 2003 war.  It's also possible that if war profiteering were illegal and prevented there'd have been no war. It's also possible that if the U.S. culture didn't reward war-making politicians, and/or the New York Times reported on war honestly, and/or Congress had made a habit of impeaching war-makers, and/or campaigns were publicly financed, and/or U.S. culture celebrated nonviolence rather than violence there'd have been no war. It's also possible that if George W. Bush and/or Dick Cheney and a few others were healthier psychologically there'd have been no war.

We should be wary of creating the assumption that there are always rational calculations behind wars. The fact that we can never quite find them is almost certainly not a failure of imagination, but a reluctance to recognize the irrational and evil behavior of our political officials.  Global domination, machismo, sadism, and lust for power contribute significantly to the discussions of war planners. 

But what makes war common in certain societies and not others?  Extensive research suggests that the answer has nothing to do with economic pressures or the natural environment or other impersonal forces.  Rather the answer is cultural acceptance.  A culture that accepts or celebrates war will have war.  One that spurns war as absurd and barbaric will know peace.

If Krugman and his readers are beginning to think of war as a bit archaic, as something requiring an explanation, that can only be good news for the movement to abolish war making.

The next big leap might come sooner if we all try to see the world for a moment from the perspective of someone outside the United States.  After all, the idea that the U.S. should not be bombing Iraq only sounds like a denial that there is a major crisis in Iraq requiring swift action, to people who suppose that crises require bombs to solve them -- and most of those people, by some coincidence, seem to live in the United States.

No to Nato protests: transport and accommodation

Stop the War<br />
        Coalition


No to Nato protests: transport and accommodation

Map of NewportIn less than 3 weeks time the leaders of the key Western powers will gather in South Wales for the NATO summit. We need the biggest possible protests to force them to break from their aggressive foreign policy.

The momentum for organised resistance to this year's NATO summit in Newport has grown in response to recent events.

The NATO powers give full backing to Israel, the watchdog of imperialism in the Middle East. Meanwhile, in Ukraine NATO has been stoking the flames of civil war, holding military exercises on Ukrainian soil at time fraught with international tensions - as made clear by the horrific shooting down of flight MH-17. And in Iraq, the increasing sectarian violence over the last few weeks has shown how western intervention has failed by every measure.

Large public meetings have been held by local Stop the War groups and more are being planned, and coaches from around the UK are being organised to mobilise as many people as possible for the mass demonstration in Newport on the 30th of August.

NATOA whole week of protest is planned during the week of the summit.

Everything you need to know to prepare for these vital protests is available on the Stop the War web site.

You can also help us build the protest by ordering our No to Nato protest postcards, which contain details of the week of action. Call 020 7561 4830 or email office@stopwar.org.uk

Coaches going to Newport (more to follow - please contact us if your are organizing transport  your area):

  • Birmingham Saturday 30 August return. Tickets £8. To book a ticket telephone 07771 567 496. Organized by Birmingham Stop the War
  • London 8am coach to Newport from ULU, Malet Street. Return Sunday 31st August. Tickets £20/30. To book a ticket telephone 020 7561 4830. Organized by Stop the War and CND
  • Norwich More details to follow - telephone 01493 664499 to register interest. Organized by Norwich Stop the War
  • Newcastle  6am coach to Newport from Central Station, Newcastle. Saturday 30 August return.Tickets £30/15. To book a ticket telephone 07719 946 814. Organized by Newcastle Stop the War
  • More coaches are being organized across the UK and we'll publish details as soon as we have them. Please get in touch if you are organizing for the Nato summit protests in your area.

Accommodation:

  • NATO Peace Camp. Tredegar Park (facilitated by Newport Council). Camping £2 per night. More details will be announced soon.
  • Ibis Newport. Telephone 01633 859058. Rooms from £25 per night.
  • Tredegar House Caravan Club Site. Telephone 01633815600. Camping from £18.40 per night. 10 minute bus ride from Newport town centre.
  • Cwm Hedd Lakes. Telephone 01633896854. Camping from £12 per night.

The latest on NATO and the spread of war from the Stop the War web site:


Stop the War Coalition | office@stopwar.org.uk | 020 7561 4830

Videos: How Do We Get to Peace? With David Swanson, Jill Stein, Kristin Christman, and Steve Breyman

The 16th annual Kateri Peace Conference in Fonda, N.Y., was organized around these three quotations of Buckminster Fuller:

"In order to change an existing paradigm you do not struggle to try and change the problematic model. You create a new model and make the old one obsolete."

"I'm not trying to counsel any of you to do anything really special except dare to think. And to dare to go with the truth. And to dare to really love completely."

"Love is omni-inclusive, progressively exquisite, understanding and compassionately attuned to other than self."

Watch the discussions of each quotation below or here, and check out the video of Jill Stein singing and jamming on a boat on the Erie Canal!

Community or Warzone: Warrior Cops Lose a Round in Missouri

By John Grant

 

On Monday, I decided to spend my evenings flipping back-and-forth between Fox News and MSNBC as the two cable channels dealt with the dueling stories of the United States tiptoeing into a third war in Iraq and the sudden appearance of what appeared to be a police state in a little town outside St Louis. From Monday to Friday, the Ferguson, Missouri story has gone from that of a bizarre and dangerous war zone to one of a relief-filled carnival in the streets.

Community or Warzone: Warrior Cops Lose a Round in Missouri

By John Grant

 

On Monday, I decided to spend my evenings flipping back-and-forth between Fox News and MSNBC as the two cable channels dealt with the dueling stories of the United States tiptoeing into a third war in Iraq and the sudden appearance of what appeared to be a police state in a little town outside St Louis. From Monday to Friday, the Ferguson, Missouri story has gone from that of a bizarre and dangerous war zone to one of a relief-filled carnival in the streets.

Community or Warzone: Warrior Cops Lose a Round in Missouri

By John Grant

 

On Monday, I decided to spend my evenings flipping back-and-forth between Fox News and MSNBC as the two cable channels dealt with the dueling stories of the United States tiptoeing into a third war in Iraq and the sudden appearance of what appeared to be a police state in a little town outside St Louis. From Monday to Friday, the Ferguson, Missouri story has gone from that of a bizarre and dangerous war zone to one of a relief-filled carnival in the streets.

Community or Warzone: Warrior Cops Lose a Round in Missouri

By John Grant

 

On Monday, I decided to spend my evenings flipping back-and-forth between Fox News and MSNBC as the two cable channels dealt with the dueling stories of the United States tiptoeing into a third war in Iraq and the sudden appearance of what appeared to be a police state in a little town outside St Louis. From Monday to Friday, the Ferguson, Missouri story has gone from that of a bizarre and dangerous war zone to one of a relief-filled carnival in the streets.

Community or Warzone: Warrior Cops Lose a Round in Missouri

By John Grant

 

On Monday, I decided to spend my evenings flipping back-and-forth between Fox News and MSNBC as the two cable channels dealt with the dueling stories of the United States tiptoeing into a third war in Iraq and the sudden appearance of what appeared to be a police state in a little town outside St Louis. From Monday to Friday, the Ferguson, Missouri story has gone from that of a bizarre and dangerous war zone to one of a relief-filled carnival in the streets.

Community or Warzone: Warrior Cops Lose a Round in Missouri

By John Grant

 

On Monday, I decided to spend my evenings flipping back-and-forth between Fox News and MSNBC as the two cable channels dealt with the dueling stories of the United States tiptoeing into a third war in Iraq and the sudden appearance of what appeared to be a police state in a little town outside St Louis. From Monday to Friday, the Ferguson, Missouri story has gone from that of a bizarre and dangerous war zone to one of a relief-filled carnival in the streets.

Community or Warzone: Warrior Cops Lose a Round in Missouri

By John Grant

 

On Monday, I decided to spend my evenings flipping back-and-forth between Fox News and MSNBC as the two cable channels dealt with the dueling stories of the United States tiptoeing into a third war in Iraq and the sudden appearance of what appeared to be a police state in a little town outside St Louis. From Monday to Friday, the Ferguson, Missouri story has gone from that of a bizarre and dangerous war zone to one of a relief-filled carnival in the streets.

Community or Warzone: Warrior Cops Lose a Round in Missouri

By John Grant

 

On Monday, I decided to spend my evenings flipping back-and-forth between Fox News and MSNBC as the two cable channels dealt with the dueling stories of the United States tiptoeing into a third war in Iraq and the sudden appearance of what appeared to be a police state in a little town outside St Louis. From Monday to Friday, the Ferguson, Missouri story has gone from that of a bizarre and dangerous war zone to one of a relief-filled carnival in the streets.

Community or Warzone: Warrior Cops Lose a Round in Missouri

By John Grant

 

On Monday, I decided to spend my evenings flipping back-and-forth between Fox News and MSNBC as the two cable channels dealt with the dueling stories of the United States tiptoeing into a third war in Iraq and the sudden appearance of what appeared to be a police state in a little town outside St Louis. From Monday to Friday, the Ferguson, Missouri story has gone from that of a bizarre and dangerous war zone to one of a relief-filled carnival in the streets.

Ukraine News - Aug 15, 2014


Ukraine crisis: Impasse over Russian aid convoy - BBC News


VIDEO: Ukraine crisis: Russian aid convoy halts near border - BBC News


VIDEO: Dispatch: Inside Russia's aid lorries bound for Ukraine - Telegraph


Western media inspect Russia's Ukraine aid trucks and find… aid (PHOTOS) - RT News


Russia Calls for Ceasefire in East Ukraine to Facilitate Humanitarian Effort - RIA Novosti


Russian military vehicles seen enterering Ukraine as aid convoy stops short of border - The Guardian


Exclusive: Telegraph witnesses Russian armoured vehicles and military trucks cross the border from Russia into Ukraine - Telegraph


Putin strikes conciliatory note on Ukraine, signaling desire to de-escalate crisis - Fox News


Poroshenko, Biden Discuss Humanitarian Situation In Ukraine, The Vice President stresses the United States’ support for a diplomatic resolution to the crisis - TheHill


US State Dep urges Ukraine to show 'restraint' in rebel region - THE DAILY STAR


In phone call with Poroshenko, UN chief Ban reiterates his urgent call to redouble political and diplomatic efforts towards a peaceful resolution of the crisis - United Nations News Centre


US Hired NATO-linked Military Contractor to Train Armed Personnel in Ukraine - RIA Novosti


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Ukraine cuts off rebel-held Lugansk from Russian border: army - Channel NewsAsia


Lugansk authorities report casualties due to shelling - nrcu


Lugansk: Ukraine City Under Siege, ‘Just Terrified of the Bombing’ - NYTimes.com


Heavy shelling hits centre of rebel-held Donetsk - France 24


MAP: Military situation in Easter Ukraine: military and rebel controlled areas, 14 August - Info Resist


VIDEO (English): Press Conference of Ukraine Army spokesman Andriy Lysenko, 14th of August 2014 - Ukraine Crisis Media Center


Ukraine Separatists In Seeming Disarray Amid Rumors Of Strelkov's Demise, Bolotov is Also Stepping Down - rferl.org


Igor Strelkov: mysterious Russian who led Ukraine rebels - Yahoo News


In Donbas 46 pro- Russian Chechen mercenaries allegedly surrendered to Ukraine forces - EUROMAIDAN PRESS


Serbian mercenaries fighting side by side with pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine - DW.DE


OSCE Monitors Reiterate Concerns Over Abductions by Ukraine’s Volunteer Battalion - RIA Novosti


In the line of fire: Journalists killed and abducted in Eastern Ukraine - RT News


-----------------------------------------------------------

Ukraine approves law on sanctions against Russia - Reuters


Ukrainian parliament backs bill to open gas pipelines to EU, U.S. firms - Reuters


Slovak gas pipeline to Ukraine to start tests on Aug 16 - Yahoo News


Putin’s Pipeline Bypassing Ukraine Is at Risk Amid Conflict - Bloomberg


Emerging Stocks Advance as Putin’s Remarks Ease Ukraine Concern - Bloomberg

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle_at_gmail.com (replacing _at_ with @)

Is BuzzFeed a Mouthpiece for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF)? | Mnar Muhawesh 2 of 2

Originally posted at AcronymTV

While Benjamin Netanyahu has practically been given an anchor chair at CNN during Operation Protective Edge to pound home a narrative that almost everyone else in the world (save for 100% of US Senators) has rejected; namely that Israel is a victim of terror and not a perpetrator, telling the counter narrative is left to media outlets without ties to major corporate interest and/or ties to the duopoly here in the United States.

An Open Letter to My Palestinian Friends

As my heart bleeds for those of you suffering in Gaza and elsewhere in Palestine, I want to add my voice to those who are encouraging you to consider revising your strategy of resistance to Israeli occupation. See, for example, ‘Wanted: A new strategy for Palestinian resistance’.

This Is War

By John Rachel

Original here

1992 © Kenneth Jarecke (Contact Press Images)

Until recently, this photo was never seen in the U.S. It’s a soldier making a last desperate attempt at climbing out of a military vehicle after it had been hit by an incendiary bomb. This was during Desert Storm in 1991.

This is the side of war our leaders don’t want you to see. For us they want it to be all about waving flags, marching bands, grandiose speeches, stars-and-stripes lapel pins.

Remember Bush’s order that there be no reporting of coffins flown in from Afghanistan and Iraq containing the remains of our dead soldiers?

But this photo is what war is really all about. That scorched corpse could be your son or daughter, one of your grandchildren, an uncle, cousin, nephew or niece, that freckled neighborhood kid that used to ride by on a bike.

When our politicians speak about some new crisis that requires our military intervention, some challenge to our national interests or terrorist threat to the homeland, then with the appropriate somber expressions and deeply furrowed brows reel off patriotic slogans and chest thumping battle cries that beg for our bravado and self-sacrifice, they want you to imagine proud soldiers in clean pressed uniforms, glorious fireworks reflecting in the pool of the national mall, the flag majestically waving in the background atop the White House, they want you embracing that triumphant feeling of being a citizen of the greatest country in the world. They most certainly do not want you thinking about that photograph.

Sure, our leaders claim that they want to avoid at all costs sending our brave soldiers into harms way. They claim to value every young man and woman in uniform as they do their own children __ though for some reason their own kids never get sent into battle.

They claim the decision to wage war, even to commit our troops to “limited engagement”, is a very serious one, that putting “boots on the ground” is something we do only when every other conceivable option has been duly explored, considered, weighed, exhausted.

Warning! When you hear any of this talk about war as a last resort, be VERY AFRAID. Because it means the bombs are about to drop and the bullets are about to fly. Last resort is now pure cover, a charade, just one component of a PR game to tenderize public opinion, just more cynical role play to get people ready for the slaughter.

When our leaders say they hate war, be VERY ANGRY. Because their actions betray their love __ their worship! __ of military power.  Just look at their priorities.  Just look at the national budget. Just take out a world map and try to identify the 1000+ military bases the U.S. has in over 140 countries across the globe. If they really wanted peace, these would be Peace Corps camps, not military installations.

When they talk about “humanitarian war” and “R2P” __ responsibility to protect __ LAUGH, then CRY. Because any humanitarian concern is not about you. And when you’re getting your ass shot at, the only reason they want to protect you is so you can shoot back.

On the increasingly rare occasions, when our leaders do give their token nod to promoting peace in the world, be INDIGNANT __ be OUTRAGED __ at the blatant hypocrisy. Why, our Nobel Peace Prize winning president even used his award acceptance speech to make the case for “necessary wars”.

Let’s see . . . necessary wars. When I was in college, it was Vietnam. Commies would take over the world if we didn’t stop them. Then we had to stop Saddam Hussein from taking over Kuwait, even though 9 out of 10 American thought Kuwait was a tropical fruit. Then, of course, we had to bomb the shit out of Afghanistan to catch Osama bin Laden, though he strutted around the caves and continued to make threatening videos for the next eight years. Then, we really had to get Saddam Hussein, this time before he dropped an atomic bomb on Baltimore or Orlando, even if he didn’t have one and if he did had no way to lob it further than the Sea of Galilee. Then there was Libya because we had to get rid of that pesky Gadaffi. And Syria because . . . well, just because. And of course, we’ve been having  a regular hissy fit about Iran for decades now, so they’re high on the hit list. And now we have the Ukraine, for a lot of reasons, including Snowden, and Putin’s making Obama look like a warmonger, which frankly is not that hard, and the BRICS, and the abandonment of the dollar, and the deranged neocons running amok in the State Department, and the piles of military hardware which we’re bankrupting the country to buy __ after all, you can’t just leave that stuff laying around, because it’s dangerous, so it’s imperative we use it. Hell, let’s throw some ordnance at the Russkies, and the Chinese . . . and . . . and . . .

Whew! All these “necessary wars” are exhausting!

As anyone who reads my blogs knows, I have never recommended any organization and directed readers to support its activities. There are hundreds __ thousands __ of good, hard-working, well-meaning, probably extremely worthwhile groups out there trying to make a difference. My reluctance stems from observing that despite their best efforts, not a lot seems to be getting done.

But now, since time is running out and this might be our last best hope, I’m going to break tradition.

Please go to the website for World Beyond War. One of the founding members and its current director is a man I greatly respect and admire, David Swanson, who I’ve written about before. There is much more on the web site itself but here is a quick summary of their agenda:

    Creating an easily recognizable and joinable mainstream international movement to end all war.
    Education about war, peace, and nonviolent action — including all that is to be gained by ending war.
    Improving access to accurate information about wars. Exposing falsehoods.
    Improving access to information about successful steps away from war in other parts of the world.
    Increased understanding of partial steps as movement in the direction of eliminating, not reforming, war.
    Partial and full disarmament.
    Conversion or transition to peaceful industries.
    Closing, converting or donating foreign military bases.
    Democratizing militaries while they exist and making them truly volunteer.
    Banning foreign weapons sales and gifts.
    Outlawing profiteering from war.
    Banning the use of mercenaries and private contractors.
    Abolishing the CIA and other secret agencies.
    Promoting diplomacy and international law, and consistent enforcement of laws against war, including prosecution of violators.
    Reforming or replacing the U.N. and the ICC.
    Expansion of peace teams and human shields.
    Promotion of nonmilitary foreign aid and crisis prevention.
    Placing restrictions on military recruitment and providing potential soldiers with alternatives.
    Thanking resisters for their service.
    Encouraging cultural exchange.
    Discouraging racism and nationalism.
    Developing less destructive and exploitative lifestyles.
    Expanding the use of public demonstrations and nonviolent civil resistance to enact all of these changes.

Is it naive to think that the human race can rise above its long history of savagery?

Noam Chomsky says we are a “strange species which attained the intelligence to discover the effective means to destroy itself, but __ so the evidence suggests __ not the moral and intellectual capacity to control its worst instincts.”

Let’s hope he’s wrong.

Back In Iraq: We Only Want To Save You

By Danny Schechter

New York, New York: Welcome back to Iraq -- complete with our ever present WMD's -- Weapons of Mass deception.

Suddenly, the country we never wanted to have to think about again is back in the news and on our military agenda. So, after a few denials that troops would not, never, and no way be sent, sure'nuff, U.S, boots are back on the ground, but to play a very different "mission."

Of course, it's not combat, assures Secretary of Defense Hagel who was wearing his tennis clothes when he met with GIs. That is, no doubt, why we are pounding that country with bombs again.

To signal that we are not back in the days of the war for Iraqi Freedom, the Pentagon announced its latest humanitarian effort with a tweet, that, in the media world we are now part of, maybe the equivalent of a whimper not a neocon bark.

Once again, we are the good guys charging in to protect and defend, save and rescue.  You saw the alarmist stories.

This report was on RTE in Ireland: "Islamic State militants have killed hundreds of Iraq's minority Yazidis.
They buried some alive and took women as slaves, as US warplanes again bombed the insurgents.

Human rights minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani accused the Sunni Muslim insurgents of celebrating what he called a "a vicious atrocity."


But, then, predictably, there was this coda that put the story in question: "No independent confirmation was available of an event that could increase pressure on Western powers to do more to help."

It sounded like the story a few weeks back that had ISIS vowing to impose female genital mutilation on every woman they met. Happily, it was later repudiated.

This is not to say that ISIS is not brutal says Edmund Ghareeb of the Center for Global Peace at American University.

"Where have people been? Certainly some of the recent reporting of the carnage by IS is sensationalized, but their brutality is all too real. But critically, it's been happening for years in both Iraq and in Syria, where is should have been confronted. In Syria, ancient Christian churches were destroyed, nuns and bishops were kidnapped and priests were killed. In Syria and Iraq, many belonging to different religions, sects and nationalities were killed or forced to flee at the hands of extremists and criminals. This was widely ignored in large part because many in the region and in the west were so focused on attacking the Assad government.

"As for U.S. intervention, the danger is that it may further hurt the Iraqi people and fragment Iraq altogether in the name of this humanitarian intervention."

Now, we have US troops flying into the mountain that we were told was packed to overflowing with 40,000 desperate refugees facing starvation.

What happened when their saviors finally arrived?

Here's USA Today:

"WASHINGTON — A review by U.S. special operations troops of conditions on Iraq's Mount Sinjar on Wednesday has determined that the conditions of a religious minority seeking refuge there are better than believed and may not require a U.S.-led evacuation, the Pentagon said…

"Based on this assessment the interagency has determined that an evacuation mission is far less likely. Additionally, we will continue to provide humanitarian assistance as needed and will protect U.S. personnel and facilities."

Comments Jason Ditz on anti-war.com: "The Pentagon is trying to manage the narrative by simply saying the rescue mission "appears unnecessary," but the fact that it was used to start a US war remains, and the State Department is doubling down, trying to spin the lack of a crisis as vindication of the war."

Of course, protecting Americans was the first reason cited for this intervention.

So noted the political scientist Michael Brenner, without first noting that the City of Erbil is a major center for U.S. Oil companies and their employees:

"The first thing to say is that we should not confuse purpose with justification. Thursday night, Obama explicitly stated that protection of Americans in Irbil (and implicitly Kurdistan) was the reason for acting against advancing IS forces.

This is not entirely convincing; evacuation could be a logical alternative. Obviously, there are other aims, inter alia in the immediate, securing access to the air and support facilities we have established at the airport that are crucial to any future operations -- including supplying the Peshmerga, e.g. keeping open your military options; to shore up Kurdish morale; to send a message to IS and its allies that any future campaigns in that direction that they contemplate would not be a cakewalk. The President said none of this due to his anxieties about making about making implicit commitments that he is not sure that he could meet."

What they are doing, says Brenner, is dipping into an old playbook  "trying to lay the groundwork for revival of the Sawah Awakening movement among Sunni tribes that had suppressed al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia in 2006-2008." That effort was based on a vicious counter-insurgency campaign with plenty of pay-offs to our robed "allies."

Clearly, in the aftermath of the ISIS victories, this maneuver decisively failed.

No matter, for Obama, it was soon back to the golf course on Martha's Vineyard, the Kennedy and then Clinton vacation playground he has made his own. Maybe he feels like he can relax because the British and French are shipping in weapons to the US trained Peshmerga, whether they need them or not. After all, they, too, have to promote their "humanitarian" cred.

What's missing from the media narratives that focus on these forever changing daily incidents, is the deeper reality, that US intervention has not saved Iraq but destroyed it, with more than a million dead, unrepresentative and unaccountable governments and enough war crimes to keep international courts busy for decades.

To understand the depths of the destruction and Iraqi despair, you need the perspective of long time Iraq watchers like The Independent's Patrick Cockburn whose new book is titled, "The end of a country, and the start of a new dark age."

He writes, "Iraq has disintegrated. Little is exchanged between its three great communities – Shia, Sunni and Kurd – except gunfire. The outside world hopes that a more inclusive government will change this but it is probably too late.

The main victor in the new war in Iraq is the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) which wants to kill Shia rather than negotiate with them. Iraq is facing a civil war that could be as bloody as anything that we have seen in Syria and could go on for years."

Who is ultimately responsible for this? We can blame Saddam Hussein, but he's long gone, or Osama bin Laden who is swimming with the fishes.

More likely, as is most often the case, blame the victims for the crimes, but accepting responsibility is not something that Washington is ever willing or able to do. It seems like we would rather keep arming the "rebels" in Syria, the Israeli army or the Ferguson Mo. Police.

Perhaps that's why all we hear on TV news shows us a chorus for more killing, to save "civilization" from "those People, "the heathens, of course. Never mind that Iraq was the original home of civilization.

It is summer time and the living is easy. Besides, we have dead celebrities to mourn in these dog days of August.

News Dissector Danny Schechter made the film WMD about deceptive media in Iraq and wrote "When News Lies" about U.S. media war coverage. (Select Books, 2006.) He blogs at Newsdissector.net and edits the media issues site, Mediachannel.org. Comments to dissector@mediachannel.org

A Show on Future Weapons: Discovering Hidden Politics

By Gouthama Siddarthan

The Discovery Channel has been doing a yeoman’s service in visually capturing day-to-day activities of dangerous animals and rare birds in forests untouched by human footfalls, animals living in depths of oceans and animals facing extinction threat.It has been winning laurels for reconstructing the life of tribals and the tribals living in dwellings built on trees, piercing into the areas unknown to the world and untouched by the sunny rays.

(By the way, we can set aside the criticism made by certain media that the channel is stage-managing such rare scenes in their studios and sets.)

However, the magnificence of such rare depictions of animals and tribals cannot camouflage the channel’s failure to speak about animal rights and analyse the reasons for the miseries of the tribals, political factors behind their woes and about the tribal rights.

Local Police and Much Else Will Be Militarized As Long As Federal Government Is

Groups on the ground in St. Louis are calling for nationwide solidarity actions in support of Justice for Mike Brown and the end of police and extrajudicial killings everywhere.”

As they should. And we should all join in.

But “nationwide” and “everywhere” are odd terms to equate when discussing police militarization. Are we against extrajudicial killings (otherwise known as murder) by U.S. government employees and U.S. weapons in Pakistan? Yemen? Iraq? Gaza? And literally everywhere they occur? The militarization of local police in the United States is related to the militarization of U.S. foreign policy, which has now reached the point that bombing and “doing nothing” are generally conceived as the only two choices available. Local police are being militarized as a result of these factors:

  • A culture glorifying militarization and justifying it as global policing.
  • A federal government that directs roughly $1 trillion every year into the U.S. military, depriving virtually everything else of needed resources.
  • A federal government that still manages to find resources to offer free military weapons to local police in the U.S. and elsewhere.
  • Weapons profiteers that eat up local subsidies as well as federal contracts while funding election campaigns, threatening job elimination in Congressional districts, and pushing for the unloading of weapons by the U.S. military on local police as one means of creating the demand for more.
  • The use of permanent wartime fears to justify the removal of citizens’ rights, gradually allowing local police to begin viewing the people they were supposed to protect as low-level threats, potential terrorists, and enemies of law and order in particular when they exercise their former rights to speech and assembly. Police “excesses” like war “excesses” are not apologized for, as one does not apologize to an enemy.
  • The further funding of abusive policing through asset forfeitures and SWAT raids.
  • The further conflation of military and police through the militarization of borders, especially the Mexican border, the combined efforts of federal and local forces in fusion centers, the military’s engagement in “exercises” in the U.S., and the growth of the drone industry with the military, among others, flying drones in U.S. skies and piloting drones abroad from U.S. land.
  • The growth of the profit-driven prison industry and mass incarceration, which dehumanize people in the minds of participants just as boot camp and the nightly news do to war targets.
  • Economically driven disproportionate participation in, and therefore identification with, the military by the very communities most suffering from its destruction of resources, rights, and lives.

But policing is not the only thing militarized by what President Eisenhower called the “total influence — economic, political, even spiritual” of the military industrial complex. Our morality is militarized, our entertainment is militarized, our natural world is militarized, and our education system is militarized. “Unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex” is not easily opposed while maintaining the military industrial complex. When Congress Members lend their support to a new war in Iraq while proposing that the U.S. Post Office and a dozen other decent things not be defunded, they are speaking out of both sides of their mouths. The United States cannot live like other wealthy nations while dumping $1 trillion a year into a killing machine.

The way out of this cycle of madness in which we spend more just on recruiting someone into the military or on locking them up behind bars than we spend on educating them is to confront in a unified and coherent manner what Martin Luther King Jr. called the evils of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism. Not racism, extreme materialism, and what the military does to the local police. Not racism, extreme materialism, and what the military does to weapons testing sites. Not racism, extreme materialism, and what the military does to the people of Honduras causing them to flee to a land that then welcomes them with an attitude of militarism. Not any of these partial steps alone, but the whole package of interlocking evils of attitude and mindset.

There is a no-fly-zone over Ferguson, Missouri, because people in the U.S. government view the people of the United States increasingly as they view the people of other countries: as best controlled from the air. Notes the War Resister League,

“Vigils and protests in Ferguson – a community facing persistent racist profiling and police brutality – have been attacked by tear gas, rubber bullets, police in fully-armored SWAT gear, and tank-like personnel carriers. This underscores not only the dangers of being young, Black, and male in the US, but also the fear of mobilization and rebellion from within racialized communities facing the violence of austerity and criminalization.

“The parallels between the Israeli Defense Forces in Palestine, the Military Police of Rio de Janeiro, the Indian police in Kashmir, the array of oppressive armed forces in Iraq, and the LAPD in Skid Row could not be any clearer. . . .

“This is not happening by accident. What is growing the capacity of local police agencies to exercise this force are police militarization programs explicitly designed to do so. As St. Louis writer Jamala Rogers wrote in an article on the militarization of St. Louis Police this past April, ‘It became clear that SWAT was designed as a response to the social unrest of the 1960s, particularly the anti-war and black liberation movements.’ Federal programs such as DoD 1033 and 1122, and the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI), in which St. Louis Police are active participants, provide weapons and training to police departments across the country, directly from the Pentagon. Commenting on the ominous growth of the phenomenon, Rogers continues: ‘and now, Police Chief [of St. Louis Police] Sam Dotson wants to add drones to his arsenal.’

“The events in Ferguson over these last few days demonstrate that the violence of policing and militarism are inextricably bound. To realize justice and freedom as a condition for peace, we must work together to end police militarization and violence.”

The War Resisters League is organizing against Urban Shield, an expo of military weapons for police and training event planned for Oakland, Calif., this September 4-8. The Week of Education and Action will take place in Oakland from August 30-September 5. Read all about it here.

 

David Swanson is a member of the National Committee of the War Resisters League and wants you to declare peace at http://WorldBeyondWar.org  His new book is War No More: The Case for Abolition. He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for http://rootsaction.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.

Senator Bernie Sanders Wants More Nations to Join with U.S. in Bombing Iraq

Full statement:

“The United States is not the only country on Earth with an air force. While I support President Obama’s decision to use airstrikes to protect the lives of thousands of innocent people of the Yazidi minority, the U.S. should not have to act alone militarily in this crisis.  ISIS is a danger to the entire region and to the world.  The international community must work with the U.S.”

Borderfree

By Kathy Kelly

Here in Kabul, Sherri Maurin and I are guests of the Afghan Peace Volunteers’ recently formed live-in community for young women.  Hollyhocks in the garden reach as high as the second floor of our living space.  Rose bushes, morning glories and four-o-clocks have bloomed, and each day we eat tomatoes, mint and green onions plucked from the well-cared for garden. The water source is a hose and tank outside, (there’s no indoor plumbing) so dishes and clothes are cleaned outside. The latrine is also outside, --and unfortunately we’re sharing it with playful kitties, but otherwise  Zarghuna, Zahidi and Zahro have managed to efficiently manage almost every detail of housekeeping, each day, by 7:00 a.m.

A group of local seamstresses also have two rooms here, but lately they have been with their families as Ramadan came to a close followed by Eid celebrations.

The men's community, separate now from the newly launched “Borderfree Community Center of Nonviolence,” where projects and programs take place, also has a fine garden and similar room arrangements.  An added plus, - their yard has four trees!

Going and coming from our communities to "the center" is a 35 minute walk through village-like streets if you take the back ways.  The Borderfree Community Center, when it was first rented, needed considerable rehab and repairs. Hakim, Faiz, Zekerullah and Abdulhai worked very hard to shape it up.  Now, guests enter an attractive space, neatly painted, with plenty of classroom and meeting space.  Plants, curtains, photo exhibits, and choices for rugs and carpets have all been carefully chosen.  Sadaf, one of the APV women who has been very active Borderfree scarf production, organized art students from local Universities to paint images on the walls of a children’s classroom as well as the reception area.  Painted on a wall inside the center’s gate is a playful graffiti with lots of floating bubbles. Letters floating in some of the bubbles spell out “We love Peace,” although certain bubbles have wafted up and down, making it a challenge for linear thinkers.  Another artist, a well-known cartoonist, painted an image on the outside wall of the Borderfree Community Center, (a wall that can be seen by anyone passing by), of a figure shooting a slingshot at a drone, but instead of a rock, a red heart breaks the drone in half. 

 

The graffiti, ‘We Love Peace’, on the wall of Borderfree Community Centre of Nonviolence

 

Classes and programs keep the center lively.  Earlier this week, the center invited a small group of people to the first session of a four week course orienting people to better understand nonviolence and the APV history and goals.  We also gathered for the weekly Global Awareness sessions which focus on a wide range of topics related to militarism, environmental concerns, and socioeconomic inequalities.  Hamidullah Natiq, a seasoned practitioner of conflict resolution in Afghanistan, meets with the group once a week. Local children who are part of a “street kids” project come once a week for Dari and math classes, guided by Hadisa and Farzana, two capable young volunteer teachers.  And, once a month, the “street kids” receive, for their families, large sacks of rice and containers of cooking oil. These donations allow them to attend school rather than work as vendors on the streets of Kabul.

Rent for the center costs $500 per month. The APVs hope that by selling the borderfree sky blue scarves they can help cover this cost. Sherri, I and other internationals will encourage people in our home locales to assist with the center’s expenses. 

During a recent visit to the Emergency Surgical Center for Victims of War, here in Kabul, the staff shared with us news that they get about what's happening around the country.  They rely on reports from staff working at several dozen clinics and the two main hospitals they run in two additional provinces.  Much of our conversation pointed to the reality that Kabul is "a bubble."  Full scale wars are being fought by heavily armed sides in eastern and southern Afghanistan, but generally the only news coverage that goes beyond Afghanistan pertains to Kabul.  The groups fighting the Afghan government include various warlords, the Taliban, drug kingpins, and foreign fighters, some of whom may be strategizing ways to cut off the roads to Kabul. Clearly, the Kabul “bubble” can be quite vulnerable. 

I asked Faiz what he most appreciates about the center.  He immediately spoke of the graffiti outside, saying that it gives him hope and suggests a sense of freedom.  The heart of love that breaks apart the drone, propelled by a slingshot converted into a peace-making tool, points all of us in a direction, sorely needed, that aims to abolish war. I hope the Bordefree Centre, like the live-in community’s gardens, will flourish.

Audio: The Iraq Debate -- David Swanson and Brad Friedman

Isn't this a good war, Brad Friedman asks David Swanson.

Listen to this clip:

http://archive.kpfk.org/mp3/kpfk_140813_150002friedman.MP3

Starts around 7:30

 

UPDATE: Also here on Brad's site where he'd like you to comment:
http://www.bradblog.com/?p=10759

 

Iraq and Endless War

By Robert C. Koehler

Our kills are clean and secular; theirs are messy and religious.

“In their effort to create a caliphate across parts of Iraq and Syria,” CNN tells us, “ISIS fighters have slaughtered civilians as they take over cities in both countries.

“In Syria, the group put some of its victims’ severed heads on poles.”

Stomach-churning as this is, the context in which it is reported – as simplistic maneuvering of public opinion – numbs me to its horror, because it quietly justifies a larger, deeper horror waiting in the wings. To borrow a phrase from Benjamin Netanyahu, this is telegenic brutality. It’s just what the U.S. war machine needs to justify the next all-out assault on Iraq.

“In another instance caught on camera,” the CNN report continues, “a man appears to be forced to his knees, surrounded by masked militants who identify themselves on video as ISIS members. They force the man at gunpoint to ‘convert’ to Islam, then behead him.”

This is positively medieval. In contrast, when we kill Iraqis, it’s quick and neat, as emotionless as a chess move. The same CNN story informs us: “Iraqi officials said U.S. airstrikes Saturday killed 16 ISIS fighters, and an Iraqi airstrike in Sinjar killed an additional 45 ISIS fighters, Iraq state media reported.”

That’s it. No big deal. The dead we’re responsible for have no human qualities whatsoever, and our killing them is as consequence-free as cleaning out the refrigerator. It’s simply necessary, because these guys are jihadists, and, well . . .

“The main U.S. strategic priority now should be rolling back and defeating ISIS so it can’t establish a terrorist caliphate,” the Wall StreetJournal editorialized several days ago. “Such a state will become a mecca for jihadists who will train and then disperse to kill around the world. They will attempt to strike Americans in ways that grab world attention, including the U.S. homeland. A strategy merely to contain ISIS does not reduce this threat.”

And here’s South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, saying the same thing with more hysteria on Fox News, as quoted by Paul Waldman in the Washington Post: Obama’s “responsibility as president is to defend this nation. If he does not go on the offensive against ISIS, ISIL, whatever you want to call these guys, they are coming here. This is not just about Baghdad. This is not just about Syria. It is about our homeland. . . .

“Do you really want to let America be attacked? . . . Mr. President, if you don’t adjust your strategy, these people are coming here.”

The belligerence that passes for patriotism has never been more reckless. I was stunned by these arguments a decade ago; the fact that they’re coming back pretty much intact, rising from their own ashes to call for a new war to quell the horrors created by the old one, pushes me to a new level of incredulous despair. Fear springs eternal and can always be summoned. War devours its own lessons.

As Ivan Eland wrote recently at Huffington Post: “In war, the most ruthless groups grab the weapons and use them on everyone else. If doubt exists about this phenomenon, when ISIS recently invaded Iraq, it disarmed the better-equipped Iraqi military and sent it on the run. In its current air campaign against forces of the now renamed IS, American airpower is fighting its own weaponry.”

He added: “With such a great recent track record, one would think that American politicians would be too embarrassed to get re-involved militarily in Iraq. But they now think they need to fight the monster that they created. But if IS is more ferocious than its ancestor, al Qaeda in Iraq, what more formidable creature are they now creating in opposition to U.S. bombing?”

Let’s let this sink in. We completely destabilized Iraq in our now officially forgotten “war on terror,” displacing millions of people, killing hundreds of thousands (and by some estimates more than a million), shattering the country’s infrastructure and polluting its environment with war’s endless array of toxins. In the process of doing all this, we stirred up unimaginable levels of animosity, which slowly militarized and became the present Islamic State, which is viciously and ruthlessly taking the country back. Now, with our ignorance about Iraq’s socio-political complexity intact, we see no alternative but to jump back into a bombing campaign against it, if not a far wider war.

President Obama and the moderate Democrats see this as a limited, “humanitarian” intervention, while the Republicans and the hawkish Dems are clamoring for a major killfest in order, once again, to protect “the homeland,” which otherwise they would prefer to abandon for tax purposes.

And the mainstream analysis remains as shallow as sports commentary. Military intervention, whether full-bore, boots-on-the-ground, or limited to bombs and missiles, is always the answer, because war always looks like a solution. What’s missing above all else is soul-searching of any sort.

Meanwhile, Iraq and its people continue to suffer, either directly at our hands or at the hands of the monsters we’ve created. As the arms dealers would say, mission accomplished.

Robert Koehler is an award-winning, Chicago-based journalist and nationally syndicated writer. His book, Courage Grows Strong at the Wound (Xenos Press), is still available. Contact him at koehlercw@gmail.com or visit his website at commonwonders.com.

© 2014 TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, INC.

Historians' Letter to President Obama and Members of Congress

http://www.historiansagainstwar.org/gazapetition.html

We deplore the ongoing attacks against civilians in Gaza and in Israel. We also recognize the disproportionate harm that the Israeli military, which the United States has armed and supported for decades, is inflicting on the population of Gaza.

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