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(AP) LONDON — Britain's Iraq war inquiry panel says it is holding meetings in the United States this week as it continues to investigate the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.
The panel is examining the case made for the war and errors in planning for post-conflict reconstruction — but it won't apportion blame or establish criminal or civil liability.
Britain's Cabinet Office said Tuesday the panel has arrived for five days of talks in Washington and Boston, but would not disclose in advance the identity of individuals meeting with the team.
It said that the panel visited France on May 4 to question ex-French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin and others.
Hearings in London began in November and have seen ex-prime ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown testify.
Swanson: Congress set to pass emergency funding for war
It looks like the Republicans will vote against the war supplemental, and filibuster it.
Last June in the House, in this situation, we needed 39 Democrats to vote No and got 32. Now this is no longer war funding but escalation funding, and of a less popular war, and with a president who's lost that new car smell, and with the economy in the toilet, and importantly with the experience of last june under our belts. Plus we can get Blue Dogs to vote No too, because of all the spending included. We can stop this bill if we all work together.
By David Swanson
Senator Tom Coburn, a Republican from Oklahoma, is committed to opposing a supplemental spending bill that includes $33.5 billion to escalate war in Afghanistan, unless the funds to pay for it are found.
On May 10th Senator Coburn wrote to his colleagues asking for their support for an amendment that would offset the new spending in this bill with cuts elsewhere. I spoke on Monday with Senator Coburn's communications director John Hart who assured me that Coburn intends to oppose the supplemental spending bill unless such an amendment is passed.
8:30 starts at 9, people filling into the Pavilion Room in the Ronald R----n building (family friendly blog, no bad words)
On the Agenda:
9:00 a.m. James K. Galbraith, Economists for Peace and Security (which is cosponsor of this event)
9:15-10:45 a.m. (but I have to leave by 10:15) "Unnecessary and Counterproductive" (about covers it, just leaves out murderous and immoral and illegal and costly)
Hillary Mann Leverett
Steve Clemons (thanks to whom for putting this together)
Tom Andrews (who will likely push Rep. McGovern's nonbinding unspecified timetable bill even as they vote on another $33 billion in that domed building down the street)
By David Swanson
Reducing political discourse to advertising slogans loses almost everything of value. Without lengthy books that develop complex ideas, we'd be so lost we'd never produce a worthwhile bumper sticker. The notion that facts don't matter because only emotional appeals to "values" sway anyone is an absurd and arrogant over-simplification. And, yet, something is gained, as well, in producing powerful and catchy imagery and slogans that at least disrupt the way people think about things. Rewriting "Columbus discovered America" as "Columbus invaded America" does alter the entire story. The image of tiny activist boats going up against enormous whaling ships does reverse the imagery of heroic sailors battling a leviathan. "Support the troops, bring them home," is a useful slogan.
As Long as We're Denying Miranda Warnings, and We're Free to Just Murder People, Surely We Can Delay Any Judicial Hearings Too?
Oh you betcha: more change you have to believe to see.
If Republicans Oppose War Escalation Because Funding for Teachers Included, Only 40 Democrats Will Be Needed to Kill It
Remember that in June we only needed 40 Democrats to block the war funding in the House, because all the Republicans voted no, due to the inclusion of bailouts for European bankers (which the Republicans mistook for something offensively useful). Now it looks like the same drama could play out, with funds for teachers in U.S. schools playing the role of banker bailouts. Here's what Boehner has to say. Read that whole thing, and you'll see that there's even the possibility that the Republicans could try to block the funding of any federal worker who watches pornography, which I think would be a lovely way to end the war. The right wingers will notice the financial cost right on queue if there's a danger that someone might get a better education than they did. They will NOT stand for funding teachers, which just might help us refrain from funding the escalation of a war.
If the Iraq occupation lasts another 50 years, it's doubtful a better account of it will be produced than this one. Davies puts the invasion and occupation of Iraq into a framework not only of history but also of law. 'Blood on Our Hands' is packed with critical information that never made into the so-called first draft of history, the U.S. media. This is a thoroughly documented account of the motivations, launching, and the conduct through several stages of the Iraq War, a war that any one of these periods shows to have been, above all else, a massive crime.
By David Swanson
How can we stand to live in a country where this exchange is shown live on tv and nobody comments?
REPORTER: [I]n Marja there are reports -- credible reports -- of intimidation and even beheading of local people who work with your forces. Is that your intelligence? And if so, does it worry you?
GEN. MCCHRYSTAL: Yeah. It absolutely is things that we see. But it's absolutely predictable.
I'm sorry. If it is predictable that people who work with you are going to have their heads sliced off, STOP FUCKING DOING THAT KIND OF WORK. After all, the work you are doing consists primarily of BLOWING other people's heads off.
It's not your country. You're not welcome there. People who try to help you are seen as enemies of their country. They get their fucking heads cut off. And your puppet president thanks you on their behalf.
If Afghanistan had an Arizona-style law, guess who would fit the profile? Guess who's illegal? Guess who is there in violation of the UN Charter, the will of 94% of Kandaharis and a majority of Americans, your own perverse counterinsurgency manual, and any code of human decency whatsoever?
GET THE HELL OUT.
AND STAY OUT.
And don't even think about asking for another $33 billion of our children's money to make it worse, which we all know you want purely because you think we're stupid enough to believe you're being tough, even though it will do no good whatsoever, your new assault is already failing before being funded, and a majority of us want the whole crime brought to a close.
You don't want to give in to terrorists? OK, then give in to those legally resisting your illegal occupation. Or give in to those nonviolently protesting it. Or give in to the wisdom of your own experts, envoy, ambassador, national security advisor, Army and GAO reports. Or give in to the staggering list of names on the Vietnam Memorial and the fact that there would be fewer if you'd just gotten the hell out sooner.
Or do this: get out and stop bombing Pakistan, which no one gave you any legal right to do, before a succesful bomber hits a US city. We all know you'll kill five million innocent human beings the moment such a bomber succeeds. We all know you don't really want to do that. So STOP FUCKING MAKING IT INEVITABLE that you will be in that situation.
Stop giving our kids illegal orders.
Bring them home.
Bring them home.
Bring them home.
Peter Hart calls out the New York Times for blaming the Afghan people for not trusting their lying sack of an excuse for a government, not to mention distrusting the benevolent Americans.
Despite violence rising, civilian deaths rising, the Taliban growing stronger, and the Afghan government growing weaker, the New York Times apparently considers it news that progress is being made, purely because Obama and Karzai said so.
Oh, and McChrystal said so too and even went to the trouble to ban the term "operation".
By David Swanson
Last year I published a review of a book called "Will War Ever End: A Soldier's Vision of Peace for the 21st Century" by Captain Paul K. Chappell, U.S. Army. Chappell left active duty last November and is now the Peace Leadership Director for the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. His new book is called "The End of War: How Waging Peace Can Save Humanity, Our Planet, and Our Future."
We Want NO Votes on Escalation Bill, and YES Votes on Separating Escalation Funding from All the Lipstick
We want our representatives in the House to vote NO on war escalation funding, no matter what righteous stuff is packaged in with it.
But if there is a floor vote to separate the escalation funding from all the humanitarian measures, then we want Yes votes on that.
Secret Torture Prison in Afghanistan Run By Local Charlottesville VA Gang Known as the Defense Intelligence Agency
And boy doesn't this story make us all proud?
Segment 1 David Swanson, author Daybreak
Segment 2 Pastor Susan Smith, author Crazy Faith
Segments 3 and 4 Joe Madison, XM
By Dana Visalli
I was surprised on my recent trip to Afghanistan that I learned so much…about the United States. I was in Afghanistan for two weeks in March of this year, meeting with a large number of Afghans working in humanitarian endeavors – the principal of a girls' school, the director of a school for street children, the Afghan Human Rights Commission, a group working on environmental issues. The one thing that all of these groups that we met with had in common was, they were penniless. They all survived on rather tenuous donations made by philanthropic foundations in Europe.
His math to get it down to 50,000 by the end of August doesn't quite work, especially if the withdrawal is delayed in June but even if it isn't, but Juan Cole is confident that the withdrawal will hit that target, as well as the December 2011 deadline, and that while the withdrawal will not be complete, it'll be complete enough for him. He also sees massive and expensive bases (and presumably the so-called embassy) as no deterrent to or indication of unlikelihood of complete departure. I hope he's right.
By Brian Faler, Bloomberg
May 13 (Bloomberg) -- A Senate panel unanimously passed a $59 billion war-funding bill that would bring total spending on the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan to more than $1.1 trillion.
The Senate Appropriations Committee voted 30-0 for the measure, which would provide $33.5 billion for military operations, including President Barack Obama’s troop buildup in Afghanistan.
“This bill is neither a bailout or a stimulus,” said Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye, a Hawaii Democrat. “It is the minimum necessary to meet emergency requirements and the cost of war.”
The measure includes $68 million to help pay cleanup costs from the oil spill at a BP Plc well in the Gulf of Mexico. “We all understand that more will be needed,” Inouye said.
It would set aside $6 billion for diplomatic and foreign- aid programs and $5 billion for disaster assistance in Tennessee, Rhode Island and other areas.
For today's five dollar friday I've given $5 to http://www.thiscantbehappening.net
This site has been expanded from Dave Lindorff's unequaled blog to a news and blog site with four contributors: Lindorff, Charles Young, John Grant, and Linn Washington. And their writing is phenomenal.
Kandahar 'offensive' scaled back; new goal to improve government
By Dion Nissenbaum and Jonathan S. Landay, McClatchy Newspapers
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — Although it's just beginning, the U.S.-led effort to pacify the Taliban's spiritual capital in southern Afghanistan already appears to be faltering.
Key military operations have been delayed until the fall, efforts to improve local government are having little impact and a Taliban assassination campaign has brought a sense of dread to Kandahar's dusty streets.
NATO officials once spoke of demonstrating major progress by mid-August, but U.S. commanders now say the turning point may not be reached until November, and perhaps later.
At the urging of Afghan leaders, U.S. officials have stopped describing the plan as a military operation. Instead, they've dubbed it "Cooperation for Kandahar ," a moniker meant to focus attention on efforts to build up local governance while reducing fears of street battles.
"We're not using the term 'operation' or 'major operations' because that often brings to mind in peoples' psyche the idea of a D-Day and an H-Hour and an attack," U.S. Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal , the commander of U.S.-led international forces in Afghanistan , said Thursday in Washington .
The Administration has requested $63 billion in FY2010 supplemental appropriations:
• $33 billion for the Department of Defense (DOD) primarily for deploying 30,000
additional troops to Afghanistan;
• $4.5 billion in war-related foreign aid to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan;
• $5.1 billion to replenish the U.S. Disaster Relief Fund administered by the
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA);
• $2.8 billion for Haiti reconstruction and foreign aid in the wake of the
• $13.4 billion to compensate veterans exposed to Agent Orange;
• $3.4 billion to settle land trust claims of American Indians in the long-standing
Cobell case; and
• $1.2 billion to settle the discrimination claims of 70,000 black farmers in the
Pigford II case.
Details here: PDF.
By David Swanson
The peace movement, and the progressive blogosphere, can be very unpeaceful places, and it seems like I've spent the past day or two arguing with more people than I've communicated with pleasantly. This is not totally new, of course, but in this case I deserve a good share of the blame for it, so there may be an opportunity to learn a lesson.
Rep Mike Michaud Commits to Voting No on Afghan Escalation Funding and Urges Rep Chellie Pingree to Do the Same
Code Pink in Maine has reportedly been assured by Rep. Mike Michaud that he will vote No on the escalation funding and is urging Rep Pingree to do so too.
Follow the ever improving whip list at http://defundwar.org
Here's a report from McClatchy that I think may present too credulously Pentagon claims that choosing not to create another Iraq or Afghanistan-like quagmire is driven by budget cuts. These wars have failed on their own terms, made us less safe, cost blood, and cost politicians elections. Cutting the military's budget is badly needed, but who's doing it? When? How?
Now we need one on GoogleEarth with images of the bodies of all the children, women, and men.
By David Swanson
So, we elected a president who promised a withdrawal from Iraq that he, or the generals who tell him what to do, is now further delaying. And, of course, the timetable he's now delaying was already a far cry from what he had promised as a candidate.
What are we to think? That may be sad news, but what could we have done differently? Surely it would have been worse to elect a president who did not promise to withdraw, right?