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TSA goons steal woman’s shoes, bracelet at BWI

In the never-ending saga of TSA theft and stupidity — and did I say theft? — we have the latest episode (that we know of): at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, the goons saw yet another tasty treat they wanted to sample. So they pretended that said items were dangerous and confiscated them — er, sorry, encouraged the passenger to give them up. (As we know, since they tell us all the time, especially at their main propaganda organ, they don’t confiscate anything.) From the story in the Baltimore Sun:


Tomgram: Andrew Bacevich, Donald Trump and the Remaking of America

This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com. To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week, click here.

How a Hillary or Bernie Government Would Relate to the World

By David Swanson, teleSUR

By world standards, a U.S. government led by President Bernie Sanders would be exceptionally militarized and very much an outlier in terms of its disregard for the standards of international law and its lack of respect for the sovereignty of other nations.

By comparison to a U.S. government led by a hyper-militarist President Hillary Clinton, a Bernie government would be the peaceful, law-abiding, and humanitarian Age of Aquarius.

Bernie Sanders lacks any transformative vision of peace, international cooperation, the rule of law, or transition to a peaceful economy.

Senator Sanders has been unwilling to propose any significant reduction in military spending, despite the boon it would be to his campaign, which faces criticism over planned taxes to pay for desired domestic programs. Just stating "I would cut aggressive and counterproductive military weapons and operations," would eliminate the need to ever raise taxes on a non-billionaire to pay for anything ever again, but Sanders won't state that. I've communicated with his campaign, which has declined thus far to tell me what level of military spending Sanders favors, but it seems clear it would not be dramatically different from the world-record levels of spending now current.

Candidate Sanders tells us he would continue to kill people with drones, he would continue the wars but seek more partners and funders abroad. He rather grotesquely wants Saudi Arabia to "get its hands dirty." He also has a long history of justifying military spending as a jobs program, and of merging his support for the needs of veterans with glorification of war making. While he eventually opposed the Gulf War and then the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Sanders supported wars in Yugoslavia and Afghanistan.

Sanders lacks any transformative vision of peace, international cooperation, the rule of law, or transition to a peaceful economy. He does not propose to eliminate nuclear weapons or join the International Criminal Court or ban weapons in space or stop antagonizing Russia. He's offered no proposal for a ceasefire, humanitarian aid, or other diplomatic initiative in Syria / Iraq. There's reason to hope only that a Sanders White House would be a bit less bellicose than Obama's -- and the chief reason to hope that is that Sanders would almost certainly not include Hillary Clinton in his cabinet.

Hillary Clinton lost the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008 largely because she'd been in the Senate in time to vote for the Iraq invasion, while Barack Obama had not. That they'd both later voted repeatedly to fund that war seemed lost both on those defending Clinton's vote and those claiming Obama for the peace movement.

Prior to 2008 we already knew Clinton's history. She had pushed her husband in a militaristic direction throughout his presidency, including on Yugoslavia and Iraq. The 1998 Iraq Liberation Act had laid the groundwork for the war to come. She's urged Bill Clinton to bomb Kosovo in violation of the U.N. Charter and against the will of Congress. She'd not only voted for the war on Iraq, and against an amendment to pursue inspections first, but she'd promoted all of Bush-Cheney's lies as her own, despite having been well informed of the facts. She'd then continued to defend her actions for years, and to argue for continuing and escalating the war.

In 2006, Democrats had won Congressional victories principally on the public demand to end the war on Iraq. Clinton protégé and future despot of Chicago Rahm Emanuel openly told the Washington Post that the Democrats would keep the war on Iraq going in order to run against it again in 2008, and that's what Hillary Clinton did. In time for the 2008 primaries, she turned against the Iraq war and began lying that she'd never supported it and only ever wanted inspections pursued, a lie she has articulated in recent weeks as well.

None of this has changed in the past 8 years. On top of it we can add the following. Hillary Clinton turned the U.S. State Department into an arm of the military, redefined "diplomacy" to mean the communication of threats of violence, made diplomats work as marketing staff for weapons companies, waived restrictions on arms sales to brutal governments that donated to her personal foundation, led the advocacy for escalation in Afghanistan, led the lobbying for a war to overthrow the government of Libya creating the disaster now found there, backed a military coup in Honduras, defended dictators and torturers in Tunisia and Egypt until the last possible moment, and in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia until the present moment, threatened assault on Iran and lied about Iranian nukes even after finally being compelled to support the nuclear agreement with Iran, supported the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara, opposed opportunities for peace in Syria at every turn, and much much more. Clinton had in fact joined Republicans in pushing for the disarmament of Syria as early as 2004. On Afghanistan, Libya, and the attack on Osama bin Laden, Secretary of State Clinton was more hawkish than Secretary of "Defense" Robert Gates.

Much of the additional information we know comes from WikiLeaks which exposed the Clinton State Department as a cynical Machiavellian club for contemptuous rogues out to dominate the world for the sake of corporate profits. The fault here lies not with Chelsea Manning for exposing these outrages, but with Clinton for leading them. But her attitude toward whistleblowers like Manning and Edward Snowden has exposed another difference with Sanders, to Sanders' advantage. A Hillary Clinton administration promises to be as secretive and vindictive as Obama's.

A Sanders White House would not cut off the free weaponry and legal immunity for Israel, but a Clinton White House would expand on those policies, offer unlimited support to openly racist Israeli assaults on and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. Sanders has proposed normalizing relations with Iran, while Clinton has denounced that idea and demanded that all (meaning nuclear) options be "on the table." If peace should come to Syria with Assad still in power, Clinton can be expected to continue the line she has already promoted, namely that Obama should have overthrown Assad with massive force long ago. Sanders, in contrast, could be expected to breathe a sigh of relief and focus on domestic matters until the next crisis develops.

While Clinton has accused Sanders of heresy for disagreeing with Obama's disastrous domestic policies, she herself has frequently criticized Obama's foreign policies for being insufficiently militaristic. Clinton does not hide who she is. She's fear mongered 9/11 in a debate. She's giggled jubilantly while bragging about the murder of Muamar Gadaffi. She's suggested the possibility of "obliterating" Iran. She talks up her dedication to the Israeli rightwing in public as well as behind closed doors with donors. Donors like Boeing have successfully hired her, while Secretary of State, to personally market their products to foreign governments.

I've asked the Clinton campaign what her military budget proposal would be, and have thus far heard nothing back, but it's hard to imagine how she could do what she would do without raising it, and it's easy to imagine that her election would boost the campaign to add young women to the selective service draft registry.

Pollsters imagine that Donald Trump's negatives make him easily defeatable, but they imagined that in the primaries as well. Polls also suggest that Hillary would be weaker than Bernie in a general election and that many Bernie supporters might not support Hillary. Imagine an election in which the mad militarist with the comb-over fear mongers Muslims but accurately accuses Clinton of lying about Iraq and helping to create ISIS. Would she counter with the promise of another bigger, better war? Would such a situation create a new opportunity to move public opinion against war? What would peace advocates do? How many would hold their nose and flee the country? What would Henry Kissinger advise?

White power and the ‘model minority’ myth: Officer Peter Liang Highlights the Asian-American Identity Crisis

By Jess Guh

 

The conviction of Peter Liang is the best thing that has happened to Asian Americans since the Immigration and Nationality Act of the 1960s. It’s also an embarrassingly example of how bewildered the minds of some Asian Americans are when it comes to race.

One-Hour Special: Mary Anne Grady Flores from Jail on Why She Protested Killer Drones

  https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/one-hour-special-mary-anne-grady-flores-from-jail-on-why-she-protested-killer-drones

Mary Anne Grady Flores speaks in this 1-hour special from inside the jail near Syracuse, N.Y., where she has been imprisoned for 6 months for protesting drone murders at Hancock Air Base.

Total run time: 56:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.

Download from LetsTryDemocracy or Archive.

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
http://TalkNationRadio.org

and at
https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/tracks

Focus: The New York Times on Hillary Clinton and the Libya War - Feb 29, 2016


Hillary Clinton, ‘smart power’ and a dictator’s fall: Libya as a failed state and terrorist haven, 769 readers comments (Part 1) - New York Times


New Libya with ‘very little time left': militias fanning civil war and Islamic State rising out of chaos, 196 reader comments (Part 2) - New York Times


In their own words: the Libya tragedy, interviews with decision makers involved in the intervention about what went wrong - New York Times


VIDEO: Hillary Clinton’s legacy in Libya, as secretary of state she pressed the Obama administration to intervene militarily - New York Times


VIDEO ARCHIVE: Hillary Clinton laughing comment on Qaddafi death: we came, we saw, he died - YouTube


The New York Times accurately portrays Hillary Clinton as an unrepentant warmonger, who will call her on it? - Reason.com


The New York Times' cover-up of Hillary's illegal Libyan war - Frontpage Mag


NYT is whitewashing Clinton and her war on Libya - M of A


NY Times shamelessly whitewashes Hillary’s intervention in Libya - independentsentinel.com


ARCHIVE: Hillary Clinton Libya war genocide narrative rejected by U.S. intelligence, undercutting her primary argument for using the U.S. military to remove Qaddafi from power - Washington Times


BOOK REVIEW: Daughter of empire in its heyday: Diana Johnstone dissects Hillary Clinton in ‘Queen of Chaos’ - counterpunch.org

 

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DNC vice chair Tulsi Gabbard resigns and endorses Sanders, blasts Clinton’s 'interventionist, regime change policies' - Salon.com


VIDEO: Tulsi Gabbard on endorsing Sanders: we need a commander in chief who do not waste precious lives and money on wars - YouTube


Bill Clinton gets into heated exchange with Benghazi protesters - CNNPolitics.com


VIDEO: Protesters talk Benghazi four at Bill Clinton rally for Hillary 2016 - YouTube


Robert Kagan's Premature and Wrongheaded Decision to Endorse Clinton - PJ Media


Robert Kagan op-ed: Trump is the GOP’s frankenstein monster, the only choice will be to vote for Hillary Clinton - The Washington Post


Trump's spotty memory on Libya: In a February 2011 video he called for U.S. intervention in Libya - US News


VIDEO: Donald Trump flip flop on Gaddafi & Libya 2011 - 2016 - YouTube


To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

An Open Letter to the People of West Papua

James Burrowes & Robert J. Burrowes

Wa wa wa wa.

We have recently been discussing your ongoing courageous struggle to liberate yourselves from more than 100 years of occupation, first by the Netherlands, briefly and brutally by Japan during World War II, and now by Indonesia. In that regard, we would each like to share a brief message with you, our friends from West Papua.

DNC defection: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s Surprise Endorsement Gives Sanders a Chance to Change the Whole Primary Game

By Dave Lindorff

 

            Just as the media, in the wake of Hillary Clinton’s landslide win in South Carolina’s Democratic primary Saturday, are predictably writing the obituary for Bernie Sanders’ upstart and uphill campaign for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) has handed him an opportunity to jolt the American people awake.

New TCBH! poem by resident poet gary Lindorff: 'The Pink Bear'


Wow. I had a dream that went on all night.
 
There was a pink bear sighting in Alaska.
 
Then there were pink bear sightings
In South Dakota and Colorado,
All thought to be hoaxes but then
The New York Times published a photo, front page;
It looked real enough.
 
The article interviewed a hiker
Who reported talking to the Pink Bear.
He said it was standing up.
When asked what the bear said
The hiker said he couldn’t repeat it;
The bear was talking trash.
The hiker said the bear was heading for Washington.
 
What happened next is hard to believe.
(I mean in my dream it was hard to believe.)
There were signs that great changes are coming:
Mount Shasta was waking up, sending out a plume of ash.
Native Americans warning, This is it.

An Offer the Candidates Shouldn't Refuse

 

 


VIPS Offers Advice to Candidates

 

 

Editor Note: Former Secretary of State Clinton, whose campaign is brimming with establishment foreign policy advisers, has chided Democratic rival Sen. Sanders for lacking a roster of experts. But ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern says an untapped resource for any candidate is the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

By Ray McGovern

A Memo to: Dr. Ben Carson, Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, Bernie Sanders, Dr. Jill Stein, and Donald Trump

I’m just sayin’... Who Cares About Democratic Primary Results in South Carolina -- a State Democrats Will Lose in November?

By Dave Lindorff

 

            I'll be the first to admit I'm no pollster or even political scientist, but when I read that Bernie Sanders is going to be crushed by Hillary Clinton in Saturday's primary in South Carolina, the state that fired the opening shots in the Civil War and that only last year took down a Confederate battle flag in front of the capitol building, I have to shake my head at the absurdity of it.

A Cease-Fire to Re-Load or to Build Peace?

A cease-fire, even a partial one by only some of the parties to the war in Syria, is the perfect first step -- but only if it's widely understood as a first step.

Almost none of the news coverage I've seen speaks to what purpose the cease-fire serves. And most of it focuses on the cease-fire's limitations and who predicts someone else will violate it, and who openly promises to violate it. The big outside parties, or at least Russia, plus the Syrian government, will go right on bombing selected targets, which will go right on shooting back, while Turkey has announced that ceasing to kill Kurds would just be taking the whole thing a bit too far (Kurds the United States is arming against other people the United States is arming, by the way).

The United States distrusts Russia on this, while Russia distrusts the United States, various Syrian opposition groups distrust each other and the Syrian government, everybody distrusts Turkey and Saudi Arabia -- the Turks and Saudis most of all, and U.S. neocons remain obsessed with Iranian evil. The predictions of failure could be self-fulfilling, as they seem to have been before.

Vague talk of a "political solution," which parties take to mean completely incompatible things, is not a second step designed to make a cease-fire succeed. It's a fifth or sixth or seventh step. The second step that is missing, after ceasing to directly kill people, is to cease facilitating the killing of people by others.

This was what was needed when Russia proposed peace in 2012 and the United States brushed it aside. This is what was needed after the chemical weapons agreement in 2013. Instead the United States held off on bombing, under public and international pressure, but escalated its arming and training of others to kill, and its winking at Saudi Arabia's and Turkey's and others' fueling of the violence.

Truth be told, this was what was needed when President Barack Obama was allowing Hillary Clinton to convince him to overthrow the government of Libya in 2011. Outside parties need an agreement to cease supplying weapons and fighters, and an agreement to supply unprecedented levels of humanitarian aid. The goal should be disarming those who would kill, supporting those who would join the violence out of economic need, and countering the highly successful propaganda of groups that live off the assaults on them by outside nations.

ISIS is thriving in Libya now and going after the oil there. Italy, which has a shameful history in Libya, is showing some reluctance to worsening the situation there by continuing to attack. The point is not that local forces can defeat ISIS but that nonviolence would do less harm than violence in the short, middle, and long term. Hillary Clinton, for her part, is bordering on the criminally insane, or at least the criminal, as she just spoke about Libya in her most recent debate on the model of a permanent occupation of Germany, Japan, or Korea. So much for hope and change.

The second step, the public commitment to which could make the first step work, would involve the United States withdrawing from the region and insisting on Turkey and Saudi Arabia and others ceasing to fuel the violence. It would involve Russia and Iran pulling out all forces and canceling backwards ideas like Russia's new proposal to arm Armenia. Russia should ship nothing but food and medicine to Syria. The United States should do the same and commit to no longer seeking the overthrow of the Syrian government -- not because it's a good government, but because it has to be overthrown nonviolently by forces that actually mean well, not by a distant imperial power.

Secretary of State John Kerry's already announced plan B is to partition Syria, meaning to continue to fuel the mass murder and suffering, while hoping to diminish the size of the state allied to Iran and Russia, in favor of empowering the terrorists that the United States empowered in Afghanistan in the 1980s and in Iraq in the 2000s and right now in Yemen. The U.S. delusion that yet another overthrow, yet again empowering small groups of killers, will fix things is a root cause of the conflict at this point. But so is the Russian delusion that bombing just the right people will bring peace and stability. Both nations have stumbled into a cease-fire, but seem to think of it as an opportunity to appease a bit of global outrage while reloading. If you want to know how the cease-fire is going, watch the weapons companies' stocks.

South Carolina Democratic Party Means Well

The chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party called to complain that I was being unfair to him, and maybe he was right. But I'd simply urged the need to avoid any appearance of bias, and if the chairman doesn't understand that, he's in for a heck of a lot more criticism than he's ever imagined. This is his bio on the party website at 11:15 a.m. ET on Friday, February 26, just after he called me:

The Washington Times had prompted Harrison's call with this article:

. . . What his bio on the party’s Web page doesn’t mention, though, is that Mr. Harrison is also a principal at the Podesta Group, a lobbying firm founded by brothers Tony and John Podesta — the same John Podesta who is chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Mr. Harrison’s day job is likely to get more scrutiny as the presidential campaign turns to South Carolina and questions continue to swirl about whether the Democratic Party apparatus is fairly treating Mrs. Clinton’s challenger, Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont. . . .

“If you want to avoid appearances of conflict of interest, you need to be completely open and reveal that,” said David Swanson, a spokesman at Rootsaction.org, a progressive online group that also has organized a petition asking for the ouster of the head of the Democratic National Committee. “Someone can be in favor of one candidate and still conduct a fair primary election, but if they’re hiding that they have close ties — beyond just electoral interest, but with actual monetary interests — that starts to look bad.”

Harrison called me up and recounted his long connections with staffers for Bernie Sanders, and said that he had been the first to invite Sanders to come speak even before he was officially a candidate. Harrison said he'd also had Sanders as the first ever guest in his video series called "Chair Chats." Here's that video:

And here's one with Hillary Clinton, which has about half as many views.

Harrison said he'd offered Sanders the party's resources and conference room, that his own Deputy Executive Director had gone to work for the Sanders campaign, that anything he and the party had done for Clinton they'd done for Sanders, and that I could ask the Sanders campaign and they'd say as much.

I said I was certain they would indeed, whether true or not, but that I had merely answered a reporter's question on one point, that of Harrison's bio on the party site leaving out what he did for a living, namely that he worked for a Clinton-affiliated organization. Amazingly, Harrison claimed not to know whether his bio included that info or not. He blamed me for not investigating it myself, while he himself claimed not to have looked into it either. And he assured me that if I "googled" him I'd see that he worked for the Podesta Group.

But isn't that the point, I asked? If I google Santorum I'll find something else entirely, but that's what Google shows, not what Santorum chooses to display. If everyone can find out that your paycheck comes from a Clinton-associated group, but that's left out of your bio, how does that look? Harrison promised to look into it and to make sure that it said from now on right at the top: "Jamie Harrison, chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party and Principle at the Podesta Group...."

I said I thought that would be a good idea.

The Podesta Group was founded by John and Tony Podesta, the former serving also as Hillary Clinton's campaign chair.

I explained to Harrison that my concern was not over any actual unfair treatment I knew him to have engaged in, but over the appearance of it in a context that had everyone understandably on the lookout for bias. I pointed out to him that the DNC Chair was quite openly on Hillary Clinton's side, had sought to minimize debates and hide them on Saturday nights and other times of low viewership, had sought to deny Sanders access to his own voter files, had just opened up the Democratic Party to money from corporate lobbyists to benefit one candidate, had refused to release the results in Iowa, etc., and that the Party had its superdelegates lined up for Hillary in open defiance of popular will.

Harrison said he agreed with me that the superdelegate system and the electoral college for that matter should be scrapped. And he agreed with my blaming the DNC, which he pointed out was not the South Carolina Democratic Party.

The funny thing is, after I hung up, I looked at Harrison's bio on the Podesta Group website. That bio is very open about his Democratic Party identifications. And they include this: "Member of the DNC Executive Committee."

The 2016 Election's Obama Problem

I was looking for love in all the wrong places
Looking for love in too many faces
Searching your eyes, looking for traces
Of what I'm dreaming of  --Waylon Jennings

Why do the Republican presidential debates resemble world wrestling matches without all the formality and politeness?

Why do the Democratic presidential debates always end up with the two candidates deeply respecting the other's admirable efforts to destroy everything decent in the world?

Because the Republicans are going after voters who are thoroughly disgusted with the U.S. government, including the man running it, Barack Obama, while the Democrats are going after voters who are thoroughly disgusted with the U.S. government but in love with the man running it.

Senator Bernie Sanders explains that we need the opposite of what Obama's been doing, then claims to agree with Obama. Why? Because he wants to win over voters who think exactly that, who believe that Obama has done everything wrong but who love Obama despite, or even because, of his disastrous conduct. Sanders knows that many of the same voters feel (that's the key word) the same way about Hillary Clinton.

Pick up a book called I [Heart] Obama by Erin Aubry Kaplan. In it, she explains that she and others she's asked love Obama for his looks, his voice, his poise, his attitude, his facial expressions, and his skin color. She and others she quotes fell in love with him before they'd learned anything about his political performance. And whatever they later learned entirely confirmed their sentiments. If he did something terrible, they imagined he'd tried to do something good. If he failed, they loved his failure and blamed it on his racist opponents. Because racists hate him, one must love him, they feel.

Kaplan hoped for change, but when Obama didn't meet her expectations she condemned anyone so misguided as to complain. Then she blamed the public for not rising up and complaining, without which Obama couldn't very well be expected to do anything, could he? But even when Obama didn't do the right thing, you could be sure he knew what the right thing to do would have been. And that was good enough. Hell, that was better. And if he lied about it, that was better than truth. Even his bullshit smelled sweet. Kaplan writes:

"Does the fact that  his 'Hope/Change' campaign was more a matter of brilliant branding than anything else diminish the fact that hope and change are exactly what black folks need?"

Perish the thought!

Racists would even object to Obama murdering people. Not the Obamaphiles Kaplan quotes: "'I know it's hard for people to look at the drones, to look at why he doesn't do this thing or that thing,' says Ward. 'But the tightrope is one that he has to walk. I have a friend in the South who says she's seen bars with calendars on the walls that count down the days to when Obama gets assassinated.'"

Get it? Racists want to murder Obama, so he should go on murdering all those dark-skinned foreigners, and you should shut up about it and love him even if you hate what he's doing.

Do the old people and black people backing Hillary Clinton in primaries associate her with Obama and his lovable odiousness? Or do they associate her with the Democratic Party and identify with that party as they might with a racial group? Or do they want to feel the warm tingles of watching a woman, instead of a man, pilot the empire over the cliff? Are good people going to double down on tokenism while the fascists prepare to play their trump card?

The answer is, of course, not to elect all white guys. The answer is to end the election obsession, and build a movement. And when we must have an election, elect the best person. Democrats need to stop loving the people who have created everything Sanders wants to fix. Obama and Hillary do not love you back, my friends. They're using you. They have nothing but contempt for you. And if the morning ever comes, you'll hate yourself in it.

Republicans, of course, need to stop bowing down before a fascist clown who openly tells them that he only loves himself and they should love him too. For him, you are beneath contempt, unworthy even of notice. You'd better hope the Democrats don't run the woman you hate against him, because then he'll be president, you'll be the woman scorned, you'll hate yourselves more than the Democrats hate you, and most people will give up hope for the electoral system -- which will of course turn out to be even worse than falling for false hope with a nice smile.

A Big Lie: Hollywood Producers’ Failure to Fulfill 1942 Pledge Perpetuated Prejudice

By Linn Washington, Jr.

 

Hollywood honchos told a big lie 74-years ago.

That lie told in 1942 is a link in the sordid chain of perceptions and practices that have produced the present brouhaha surrounding the 2016 Oscar awards featuring an all-white bevy of acting category nominations.

Libya News - Feb 26, 2016


Secret's out: French special forces, along with U.S., U.K. teams, fighting Islamic State in Libya - The Japan Times


France’s ‘secret war’ against IS in Libya: Defence Minister launches an investigation alleging 'breaches of national defence' - France 24


UK Special Forces spearheading 'secret war' against IS in Libya - Mirror Online


French forces arrived in Libya to support Haftar in Benghazi, a common operations room has been set up - middleeastmonitor.com


Deploying land troops in Libya ‘unthinkable’ and ‘absurd': Italy Defense Minister - EUROPE ONLINE


Italy seeks to keep allies in check, tries to persuade them to limit action in Libya until a unity government is in place - Reuters


Libya’s neighbours to meet March 21 in Tunisia on ending IS crisis - Africanews


Bombing of Libya looms as neighboring states seek to seal the borders and build refugee towns - The North Africa Journal


US rules out leading coalition to stop IS in Libya - Worldbulletin News


U.S. unable to halt IS march towards Libyan oil - OilPrice.com


Hunting Boko Haram: U.S. extends its drone war deeper into Africa with secretive base - theintercept.com


Libya’s warring governments launch separate assaults on IS - The National


PHOTOS: Benghazi celebrates after government forces seize control of areas once controlled by Islamic militants - ibtimes.com


Libyan Tobruk-based parliament to move to Benghazi within week - sputniknews.com


Libya unity government vote stalls after threats, Washington strongly condemns all attempts to obstruct the political process - AFP


UN cites torture, murder, violations and abuses in lawless Libya - United Nations


Investigation by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on Libya (Short Version) - United Nations


Investigation by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on Libya (Long Version) - United Nations

 

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‘Bravo!’ In email Clinton’s friend praises her for convincing a reluctant President Obama to take military action in Libya - In These Times


VIDEO: Hillary Clinton answers a question about her support for the 2011 Libya war which toppled Qaddafi and led to five years of anarchy - CNN


ARCHIVE: Emails show Clinton’s interest in arming Libyan rebels despite prohibitions - Fox News


Assange: Vote for Hillary Clinton is ‘vote for endless, stupid war' which spreads terrorism - RT News


Gowdy: Benghazi findings likely public before summer, ‘our committee continues to break an immense amount of new ground' - Washington Examiner


To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

Tomgram: Engelhardt, The Disappointments of War in a World of Unintended Consequences

This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com. To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week, click here.

[Note for TomDispatch Readers: I'm on the road for a few days, and will be slow indeed to answer mail or requests of any kind. So be patient. There will be no Sunday post. The next TD piece will appear on Super Tuesday, March 1. Tom]

More U.S. troops killed by Halliburton than by Iraqis

By David Swanson, American Herald Tribune

The U.S. government, from Dick Cheney to Hillary Clinton, told blatant lies about the Iraqi government creating chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons in 2002, despite having been informed of the fact that Iraq was doing no such thing. U.S. leaders lied about ties between Iraq and terrorists that they also knew did not exist.

Then the U.S. military attacked and invaded Iraq, in the process heavily bombing old sites of Iraqi chemical weapons from the 1980s, many of those weapons having been provided by the United States. In large part because of the U.S. origin of the old Iraqi chemical weapons, the U.S. kept quiet about them during the new war. Another reason for the official silence was that, during the 2003 U.S. destruction of Iraq, many of those old weapons were seized by fledgling terrorist groups. The war had done exactly what it had been justified as being needed to prevent; it had given WMDs to terrorists.

The geniuses running the U.S. military set up U.S. bases at the sites of old chemical weapons piles, dug giant burn pits into the ground, and began burning the military's trash -- monumental quantities of trash, something like The Story of Stuff on steroids. They burned hundreds of tons of trash every day, including everything you can think of: oil, rubber, tires, treated wood, medicines, pesticides, asbestos, plastic, explosives, paint, human body parts, and . . . (wait for it) . . . nuclear, biological, and chemical decontamination materials.

The burn pits poisoned Iraq, together with depleted uranium weapons, napalm, white phosphorous, and various other horrors, creating unprecedented epidemics of birth defects, and killing untold masses of Iraqis. The burn pits also poisoned tens of thousands of U.S. troops, many of whom have died as a result, including very likely the son of the current U.S. vice president. The burn pits profited Halliburton, the company of the previous U.S. vice president.

The burn pits were no secret, although bases sometimes stopped the burning during VIP tours. Typically, huge clouds of smoke filled the air and created immediate breathing difficulties and sicknesses. Soldiers knew which colors of smoke were most dangerous and discussed it as they discussed an enemy. Numerous burn pits turned hundreds of previously healthy U.S. troops into invalids. But the burn pits at six particular bases caused the most severe illnesses and the most deaths. They caused, among other things, numerous cases of constrictive bronchiolitis, which could only have resulted from exposure to mustard gas -- a chemical weapon left over from a program the United States had supported when it existed and used as an excuse for war when it didn't.

I'm reminded of a ship that sits at the bottom of the Mediterranean. In 1943, German bombs sank a U.S. ship at Bari, Italy, that was secretly carrying a million pounds of mustard gas. Many of the U.S. sailors died from the poison, which the United States dishonestly claimed to have been using as a "deterrent," despite keeping it secret. The ship is expected to continue leaking the gas into the sea for centuries. The earth and water of Iraq have been similarly poisoned, as have U.S. soldiers.

The Pentagon made crystal clear in Iraq, as most everywhere else, that it cares not a damn for the people or the natural environment of the places it attacks, and that it cares even less for the troops it uses to do so. But if you imagine that the Pentagon has reserved its concern for the civilian inhabitants of the Fatherland, don't look too closely into the open-air burns still happening in the United States. The U.S. military is the third-largest polluter of U.S. waterways, top producer of superfund disaster sites, and top consumer of petroleum. At least 33,480 U.S. nuclear weapons workers who have received compensation for health damage are now dead. Where it is blocked by legal regulations effectively enforced, the military shows restraint; where it isn't, it doesn't. In Virginia, the military very responsibly throws dead soldiers into a landfill rather then burning them. Either method communicates equally well just how much the military cares.

Halliburton, for its part, is as happy to deal death at home as abroad. Residents of Duncan, Oklahoma, have sued Cheney's cash machine for poisoning the ground water with  ammonium perchlorate. Government investigators also concluded that Halliburton was, in part, to blame for the BP oil spill that flooded into the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

Joseph Hickman's new book, The Burn Pits: The Poisoning of America's Soldiers, collects the evidence, including from similar incidents during the first Gulf War that were known before the first 2003 burn pit was dug and lit. Hickman gives us stories of young healthy men who headed off to Iraq believing the lies, believing that the U.S. government that is now begging Russia to stop attacking terrorists because the U.S. wants to overthrow yet another government -- believing that this U.S. government had good intentions in attacking Iraq. These poor souls went to Iraq hoping to protect people from horrible suffering, and ended up inflicting horrible suffering on people including themselves. They come home, develop cancer, get stonewalled by the VA, and die dreaming of what it might have been to have health and the wealth needed to attend college. Their American Dream was cut short by the militarized American Fantasy.

Joe Biden supported a war that very likely killed his son by means of burn pits. He then chose not to run for president because of his grief. His decision not to run received more media coverage than several months of the campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders who had voted against the war. But did Biden lift a finger to hold Halliburton or the military or the Congress accountable? Not that I've heard.

Hickman describes the burn pits, and analogous poisons from past wars like Agent Orange in Vietnam, as "recklessly endangering the health of our fighting men and women." The only trouble with this is the fact that all war, all "fighting," consists of recklessly endangering the lives of the vast bulk of the victims (the Vietnamese, Iraqis, etc.) and of the U.S. troops. There's nothing non-reckless about any war. Perhaps distant drone pilots are not endangered in the typical way, but then look at how they're mocked within the Air Force. If troops weren't endangered, people wouldn't treat them with reverence and describe them -- as Hickman does -- as somehow "serving" their country, even while the facts he includes in his book speak otherwise.

The U.S. Supreme Court has held since 1950 that members and former members of the military cannot sue over injuries received on the job. It may, however, still prove possible to win compensation from Halliburton. If so, you can probably chalk up another assist to Chelsea Manning who leaked evidence that the military had knowledge of the dangers when it created the burn pits, knowledge that General David Petraeus blatantly lied about in response to a Congressional inquiry.

It now appears that the 2003- war on Iraq not only created ISIS, but armed it with mustard gas, thereby proving, I guess, that Saddam Hussein could indeed had given WMDs to terrorists had he just been as evil as the U.S. military.

Syria News - Feb 24, 2016

 

Syrian war: Before Senate hearing John Kerry touts Russian help with truce - CNN.com


Joint statement of the United States and the Russian Federation, as Co-Chairs of the ISSG, on cessation of hostilities in Syria - state.gov


John Kerry says partition of Syria could be part of ‘plan B’ if peace talks fail - The Guardian


VIDEO: John Kerry says partition of Syria possible if ceasefire fails - The Guardian


Pentagon, CIA chiefs don’t think Russia will abide by Syria cease-fire, Russia hawks in cabinet exposes disagreement in the administration - WSJ


Foreign Ministry: Syria accepts cessation of fighting actions on the basis of excluding ISIS and al-Nusra - Syrian Arab News Agency


Syria's opposition HNC agrees to temporary truce - Syria Opposition HNC on Twitter


Putin says ceasefire in Syria presents real chance to stop bloodshed - TASS


Mechanism to be established to monitor ceasefire in Syria: Putin - Chinadaily.com.cn


Vladimir Putin’s address following adoption of a joint statement by Russia and US on Syria • President of Russia


VIDEO: Vladimir Putin on the ceasefire in Syria - Global Research


Putin’s Personal Intervention Lends Weight To Syria Ceasefire - ibtimes.com


Russia 'Opens Center In Syria' To Monitor Truce, Organize Aid - rferl.org


A fortress to be reckoned with: how Russia's airbase in Syria is protected - sputniknews.com


Advanced Russian plane spies on Turkey from Syria - Arutz Sheva


Russia, with Turkey in mind, announces big weapons deal with Armenia - EurasiaNet.org

 

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

Turkey 'not optimistic' on Syria truce, threatens new artillery strikes against Syrian Kurdish fighters - Daily Mail Online


Turkey to not allow terror zone near border with Syria, PM says Ankara will foil designs of Russia, Assad regime, YPG and Daesh - aa.com


Turkish president accuses US of supporting ‘terrorist' Kurdish PYD and its armed wing YPG - todayszaman.com


Obama administration argues over support for Syrian Kurds - Bloomberg View


This highly advanced U.S.-made anti-tank missile is in the hands of Kurdish forces on Syria’s frontlines - The Washington Post


Hammond: 'Disturbing evidence' that Kurds are coordinating with Syrian regime and Russia - Telegraph


Turkish PM says Syrian Kurdish militia taking orders from PKK - Reuters


PYD’s Muslim says no plan for Kurdish state in Syria - todayszaman.com


No doubt YPG-PKK behind Ankara bombing: Turkish PM - hurriyetdailynews.com


DNA report suggests Ankara bomber was Turkish, not Syrian as stated by the government - Reuters


Government’s foreign policy discrediting Turkey, main opposition leader says - hurriyetdailynews.com


HDP co-chair defends PYD against Turkish government - hurriyetdailynews.com


Daily: According to wiretapped telephone calls, Turkish border officers cooperate with ISIL - todayszaman.com


Report: Turkey sixth biggest importer of arms in world - todayszaman.com


Iranian Saberin Special Forces at work in Syria - The Long War Journal


To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

Tomgram: Rebecca Gordon, Murderous Police in the City of Love

This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com. To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week, click here.

Talk Nation Radio: Harvey Wasserman on the Stripping and Flipping of Elections

  https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-harvey-wasserman-on-the-stripping-and-flipping-of-elections

Harvey Wasserman is a life-long activist who speaks, writes and organizes widely on energy, the environment, history, drug war, election protection and grassroots politics. He teaches (since 2004) history and cultural & ethnic diversity at two central Ohio colleges, and is married with five daughters and five grandchildren. Harvey works primarily for the permanent shutdown of the nuclear power industry and the birth of Solartopia, a democratic and socially just green-powered Earth free of all fossil and nuclear fuels. He writes regularly for a wide internet readership through Ecowatchsolartopia.orgfreepress.org and nukefree.org, which he edits. His articles also appear at Commondreams, CounterPunch, HuffingtonPost, Buzzflash and others. He hosts the Solartopia Green Power & Wellness Show at www.prn.fm. In this show, Harvey discusses the stripping and flipping of U.S. elections.

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.

Download from LetsTryDemocracy or Archive.

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
http://TalkNationRadio.org

and at
https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/tracks

Tomgram: Alfred McCoy, Washington's Twenty-First-Century Opium Wars

This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com. To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week, click here.

In October 2001, the U.S. launched its invasion of Afghanistan largely through proxy Afghan fighters with the help of Special Operations forces, American air power, and CIA dollars. The results were swift and stunning. The Taliban was whipped, a new government headed by Hamid Karzai soon installed in Kabul, and the country declared "liberated."

Whatever its motive, Apple’s on the right side...so far: Apple Champions Privacy; Government Seeks to Trash It

By Alfredo Lopez

 

Truth can be stranger than fiction...or at least more surprising. Apple Computer is the current champion of privacy against U.S. government attempts to expand its spying on us. The company, a frequent NSA and FBI collaborator in the past, finds itself in the strange position of confronting a federal court order to dislodge its iPhone security system, an action Apple insists will cripple encryption as a privacy-protection measure.

Why the Deafening Silence on Cutting the Military Budget?

By Harvey Wasserman, David Swanson, Bob Fitrakis

Bernie Sanders’ common sense proposals for dealing with universal health care, college tuition, restoring the infrastructure, confronting poverty and more have encountered predictable scorn from “fiscally responsible” corporatists.

They all scream about the “deficit spending” and tax hikes that might be required to pay for these vital programs. From predictable right-wing corporatists to Hillary Clinton (“free stuff! free stuff!” she mocks) to fictional “left-leaning economists” invented by the New York Times, numerous voices scorn Bernie’s agenda because his proposals “cost too much.”

But nowhere do we find anyone willing to take on the biggest imperial welfare program of them all, the most obvious source of revenue for the programs needed to heal our nation: the military budget. If Sanders were willing to cut the military budget he’d encounter no criticism for raising taxes, because he’d have no need to raise taxes.  We hope that he’ll no longer pass up this opportunity to tell us how he would cut into a military budget that exceeds nearly all the rest of the world’s combined, and that largely has nothing to do with fighting terrorism (and so often makes it worse).

It’s not that Bernie doesn’t have a good answer for how he would pay for everything. He does, and it’s plenty clear and simple for an intelligent fourth grader, and possibly even Donald Trump, to grasp. But just try squeezing the following into a sound byte television response to “You want to raise my taxes!”

CbRp7q5VIAA2u7s

Even this lengthy list does not seem to straightforwardly explain that Medicare for All could raise your taxes, but would give you net savings as you dropped your health insurance payments.

For those who can get past sound bytes, Sanders’ proposals are good, and the taxes all needed for the sake of equitable sharing of wealth and power. But cutting the oceans of cash going to the armed forces is also needed for the purpose of slowing down the military industrial complex and its penchant for creating wars.

And there are projects that the United States and the world desperately need that aren’t listed above. Rather than more wars and occupations, the United States has a moral responsibility to begin a massive investment in actual humanitarian aid to the world, a world beginning to suffer from climate change driven more by the United States than any other nation, with the possible exception of the much, much larger nation of China.

The United States is currently extremely stingy in foreign aid by global standards, and a Marshall-Plan scale investment could work wonders in transforming world opinion about the U.S. government. A similar investment, much more than $100 billion per year, is needed in the United States for green energy. The possibility of creating a Solartopia is slipping away from us, while the cost of the Iraq war alone would have been enough to halt climate change.

Here are some simple, obvious ways to pay for all those programs Bernie advocates, and much much more:

  1. There are various plans afoot to “upgrade” the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal, with price tags in the range of $1,000,000,000,000 and more. Why don’t we just get rid of all of them and use the money to pay for much of the above?
  1. There is talk of a replacement fleet of a dozen “Ohio Class” nuclear submarines at a (currently estimated) cost of up to $8,000,000,000 each (which is bound to soar), with construction to begin in 2021. These are perfectly designed to protect us from the Soviet Union, which no longer exists, and will do nothing except bankrupt us, making us more vulnerable to the likes of ISIS, which was created by our intervention in Iraq.
  1. The United States currently maintains at least 900 bases outside its borders, with troops stationed in 175 foreign nations and waging or threating war in some of the handful of nations that do not have U.S. troops (Syria, Iran). The financial cost is over $100 billion a year. The bases, in many cases, generate an enormous amount of popular resentment and hatred, serving as motivations for attacks on the bases themselves or elsewhere — famously including the attacks of September 11, 2001. Why continue to pay for this?
  1. The military spends millions every year advertising itself as a career opportunity, with fly-overs at football games, saturation TV spots, marching bands (the military is the nation’s leading employer of musicians) and more. In fact, it has an entrenched interest in keeping college tuitions high, as a key incentive for young people to enlist is to be able to afford tuition. Yet while the armed forces are heavily over-staffed, and recruitment ads for the National Guard depict the bringing of aid to natural disasters, the reality is that a major effort to aid those at home and abroad impacted by climate change or disasters like the methane gas leak at Port Ranch, California, doesn’t exist and would be a prime step toward guaranteeing a true global peace.

If the military were scaled back even a little, in the direction of a purely defensive operation, we could create such a modern civilian conservation corps and, among other things, put solar panels on the rooftops of every building on earth.

There is, of course, much more that could be done to cut the military budget and pay for what we really need.  The vast bulk of military expenditures today have nothing to do with fighting terrorism. In many cases, the clumsy bludgeonings of our over-stuffed military actually promote it.

Yet this kind of discussion has not yet made it into the mainstream. We look forward to either journalists or brave nonviolent event disruptors inserting this topic into the endless election coverage.

David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of WorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org.

Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman are co-authors of the upcoming THE STRIP & FLIP SELECTION OF 2016  FIVE JIM CROWS & ELECTRONIC ELECTION THEFT.

Frederick Douglass wouldn’t have put up with the TSA

by Lisa Simeone

Great American orator, scholar, and abolitionist Frederick Douglass was born sometime in February of 1818 and died on this date, February 20th, in 1895. Among the many brilliant, fiery speeches he gave and essays he wrote, none have been more often excerpted and quoted than these lines, which apply today every bit as much as they did in his time. I’ve quoted them often, but never enough. So it’s fitting that I take this opportunity to commemorate him and do it again:

 

Read the rest at TSA News.

Focus: Syrian Kurds and Turkey - Feb 20, 2016


Backed by US strikes Kurdish-led force takes Islamic State stronghold Shaddadi in northeast Syria - AFP


Syrian Kurds further weaken Islamic State after taking Shaddadi, cutting off key supply route between Mosul and Raqqa - middleeasteye.net


Islamic State leaders, media official killed in American strike in the vicinity of Shaddadi city - ARA News


Turkish shelling in border areas continues: Syrian Kurds - The financial express


Syrian rebels say at least 2,000 reinforcements get free passage via Turkey heading into Azaz - todayszaman.com


Why Turkey is losing hope in Syrian border town of Azaz - Al-Monitor


CHP head again accuses Turkish gov’t of sending arms to jihadists - hurriyetdailynews.com


Erdoğan slams intellectuals who opposed going to war in Syria - todayszaman.com


Russia fails in UN bid to rein in Turkey over Syria - rappler.com


Syrian Kurds: Russia will fight ‘big war' to protect us from Turkey - breitbart.com


NATO Worried about Possible Turkey-Russia Hostilities - SPIEGEL ONLINE


Saudi king Salman, Putin hold talks on Syria crisis - Saudi Gazette


Saudi foreign minister says Syrian rebels should receive anti-aircraft missiles - Middle East Eye


Interview with Saudi foreign minister Adel al Jubeir on Syrian War - SPIEGEL ONLINE

 

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

Turkey asks US to cut ties with Syrian Kurds - ABNA


Turkey's Erdogan says saddened by U.S. arming of Syrian Kurdish militia - thestar.com


Turkish minister says US making conflicting statements over Syrian Kurdish YPG - todayszaman.com


In a telephone call with Erdogan Obama calls for 'restraint' from Turkey, Kurdish YPG in Syria - Yahoo News


Readout of the President’s call with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey - whitehouse.gov


Erdoğan says no doubt YPG behind Ankara attack, urges allies to label PYD as terrorist group - Reuters


Turkey claims they can change Incerlik airbase terms AND more if Washington doesn’t label PYD a terrorist group - Joshua Landis on Twitter


Syrian PYD leader rejects responsibility for Ankara attack - todayszaman.com


Turkey manufacturing reasons to invade Syrian Kurdistan: YPG spokesman - ekurd.net


Turkish-based Kurdish splinter group claims responsibility for Ankara bombing - DW.COM


Meet the obscure Kurdish fighters taking responsibility for the the Ankara bombing - Foreign Policy


To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

Wrongs still need to be righted: Britain's Supreme Court Reverses Legal Practice Notorious For Prejudicial Enforcment

By Linn Washington, Jr.

London, UK

Often lost amidst the damning evidence of injustice in the enforcement of Britain’s notorious legal doctrine of joint enterprise are real people like Susan Williams –- persons whose lives have been shredded by the JE doctrine that Britain’s Supreme Court just gutted in a dramatic ruling today. Williams' grandson is serving a life sentence under joint enterprise which permits convictions carrying long sentences even of persons who did not commit a crime or even know a crime would occur.

Williams said her grandson was trying to break up a fight in 2010 that ended in a fatal shooting by others, yet led to his conviction under JE. The nightmare for Williams following the joint enterprise arrest and conviction of her grandson, Trevelle Williams, got much darker last November when her youngest daughter, the mother of Trevelle, committed suicide. Williams’ daughter, Tara Le, was distraught over her inability to free her son Trevelle, nicknamed Bluey, from what the Williams family and others saw as a wrongful conviction.

Striking out at the NY Times: Hit Piece on Sanders Proposals Relies on Pro-Clinton Economists Mislabeled as ‘Leftists’

By Dave Lindorff

 

As Bernie Sanders’ insurgent campaign for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination continues to strengthen, so do the attacks on him by the establishment corporate media, which are reflexively backing the status quo corporatocracy.

 

Hillary Clinton & the Dogs of War

A poll taken in Iowa before the presidential caucus found that 70% of Democrats surveyed trusted Hillary Clinton on foreign policy more than Bernie Sanders.  But her record as Secretary of State was very different from that of her successor, John Kerry, who has overseen groundbreaking diplomatic breakthroughs with Iran, Cuba and, in a more limited context, even with Russia and Syria. 
 
In fact, Clinton’s use of the term “diplomacy” in talking about her own record is idiosyncratic in that it refers almost entirely to assembling “coalitions” to support U.S.

Stop Bombing Non-Hospitals

The United States has launched over 100,000 air strikes during its war on (or is it of) terror. It's blown up houses, apartments, weddings, dinners, town hall meetings, religious gatherings. It's killed senior citizens, children, men, women. It's tapped them, double tapped them, bugsplatted them, targeted them, kill-sported them, and collateral damaged them by the hundreds of thousands. It's killed civilians, journalists, mercenaries, opportunists, those trying to get by through support of the dominant force in their village, and those opposing the foreign occupation of their countries. It's killed kind people, smart people, dumb people, and nasty sadistic people who -- purely because of where they were born and raised -- had no opportunity to become U.S. presidential candidates.

Of course I would like all militaries to refrain from bombing hospitals, but I want to say a word in support of the not-yet-injured. Don't people of sound body have rights too? If there is a problem with bombing hospitals, why is there not a problem with bombing everywhere else? If there's not a problem with bombing everywhere else, why isn't it OK to bomb hospitals too?

I suppose in a certain fantasy of honorable war, brave soldiers only kill those on the battlefield trying to kill them, so that both sides can claim self-defense in a mutual moral scam. But then shouldn't the planes fight planes, the drones fight drones, the napalm do battle with other loads of napalm, the white phosphrous take on other launchers of white phosphorous, and the soldiers kicking in doors set up some houses so that other soldiers can kick their doors in? What in the name of all Hell does blowing up buildings with missiles have to do with honor? What does any of this have to do with honor? How do you explain to a war supporter who openly admits it's mass murder that there's something wrong with using torture, but that the mass murder is OK, as long as it stays away from hospitals?

Even operating under the delusion that everybody being intentionally blown up is a "combatant," while everyone nearby is a deeply regretted statistic, why are so many combatants blown up while retreating en masse or while eating dinner with their family or sipping tea at a cafe? What kind of slacker combatants is it only possible to find at weddings? Are they doing combat singing?

The United States has young people sitting in boxes, staring at computer screens, and blowing other human beings (and whoever's near them) to little bugsplatted bits thousands of miles away. Their victims are not alleged to be in the act of waging war. They're alleged to be on the side of waging war, to have previously done something to wage war and/or to be planning to possibly participate in war, or to appear likely to do so given their insolent choice to live where they were born.

Well, if you're murdering people at the command of the U.S. president because of who they are, not what they are doing, then it doesn't much matter if they are retreating or resting or registering for a self-help class, and it's hard to see why it matters if they're in a hospital. Clearly the Pentagon can't see the distinction and chooses not to pretend to, offering only the insult of a halfhearted lie that the hospital attacks are accidental.

The wars as a whole cannot be accidental, and if you pick them apart, bit by bit, eliminating each moral outrage, you'll be left with nothing. There's no legitimate core left standing. There's no "legitimate enemy." There's no battlefield. These are wars fought where people live. They are in these wars by force. You want to "support" the U.S. troops even when you oppose the policy, cheer as for a sports team even when the sport is murder? Well, what about the non-U.S. troops? Do they not get the same understanding?

Speaking Events

David Swanson at St. Michael’s College, Colchester, VT, October 5, 2016.

David Swanson in Fairbanks, Alaska, October 22, 2016.

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