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In the commentary on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, the news and infotainment media have predictably framed the discussion by the question of how successful the CIA and the military have been in destroying al Qaeda. Absent from the torrent of opinion and analysis was any mention of how the U.S. military occupation of Muslim lands and wars that continue to kill Muslim civilians fuel jihadist sentiment that will keep the threat of terrorism high for many years to come.
Bush White House Resistant to Rebuilding Afghanistan
Rumsfeld's War Aim: "Significantly Change the World's Political Map"
National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 358
Posted - September 11, 2011
We are given figures in the multi multi billions spent on the wars of choice and the so called 'homeland security', but there are huge amounts, in the multi billions, not known or labeled top secret and blacked out in government reports on the rapid growth of intelligence within government and the added private contractors and the costs of that growth. As pointed out in the 'PBS Frontline' report, below, what has it accomplish over all these years, especially as to the main mission after 9/11 and finally getting bin Laden, found through intelligence of a small group and carried out by a small group of 'special forces'.
Congresswoman Barbara Lee, like Jeanette Rankin before her, bravely stood alone in Congress against a vote for war, the vote in 2001 for the so-called Authorization to Use Military Force, a Constitutionally dubious passing of the war decision buck to President Bush and his successors. A majority of Americans now believes that the Afghanistan War that followed that authorization never should have been begun and should, in fact, be ended. So, the Congresswoman, along with initial cosponsors Jones, Woolsey, Grijalva, Conyers, and Honda, is offering us a second chance, a chance to get our response to 9-11 right, to restore war powers to the Congress, and to impose the will of the people on that body.
Congresswoman Lee has sent her colleagues this letter, which we should each send them ourselves by email, fax, phone, carrier pigeon, and by nailing it to their cathedral doors:
"Dear Colleague:"Please join me as an original cosponsor of the 'Repeal of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Act of 2011.' This legislation repeals the joint resolution providing overly-broad authorization to the President to use all necessary and appropriate force against those involved in attacking our nation and to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States."This broad authorization of force has had far-reaching implications which shake the very foundations of our great nation and democracy. It has been used to justify warrantless surveillance and wiretapping activities, indefinite detention practices that fly in the face of our constitutional values, extrajudicial targeted-killing operations, and an ever-growing and indefinite pursuit of an ill-defined enemy abroad."We must repeal this authorization for use of military force, end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and re-focus our energy and efforts into those actions which truly improve our national security, including developing emerging economies and diplomatic efforts. Please join me as an original cosponsor of this legislation to remove this overly-broad blank check for war anytime, anywhere."For more information or to cosponsor this measure, please contact Teddy Miller in my office at email@example.com or 5.2661."Sincerely,
Member of Congress"
To repeal Public Law 107–40.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Ms. LEE of California introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on _______
To repeal Public Law 107–40.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ‘‘Repeal of the Authorization for Use of Military Force’’.
SEC. 2. CONGRESSIONAL FINDING.
Congress finds that the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107–40; 50 U.S.C. 1541 note), signed into law on September 18, 2001, has been used to justify a broad and open-ended authorization for the use of military force and such an interpretation is inconsistent with the authority of Congress to declare war and make all laws for executing powers vested by the Constitution in the Government of the United States.
SEC. 3. REPEAL OF PUBLIC LAW 107–40.
Effective 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107–40; 50 U.S.C. 1541 note) is hereby repealed.
By Francis Boyle
Thank you. I'm very happy to be here this evening once again at the Illinois Disciples Foundation, which has always been a center for organizing for peace, justice and human rights in this area ever since I first came to this community from Boston in July of
1978, and especially under its former minister, my friend Jim Holiman. I also want to thank Joe Miller and Jeff Machotta of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War for inviting me to speak here this evening. People of my generation still remember how important it was for the Vietnam Veterans Against the War to be organized and to speak out against the Vietnam War. They continue to serve as a voice for peace in the world for the past generation.
By Dave Lindorff
When you are the New York Times, or in this case, one of the only real liberal columnists working for the Times anymore, there are apparently some things you just cannot mention.
How else to explain how a seemingly intelligent economist like Paul Krugman can scorch the Republicans in Congress and President Obama for failing to deal with the crisis of joblessness and deepening economic collapse in the U.S., but never once mention the endless and pointless wars into which the country is pouring hundreds of billions of dollars a year?
Talk Nation Radio for August 31, 2011
‘Afghanistan is More for Sale Today than 10 Years Ago’Edward Girardet
Part 2 of our continued interview, see part 1
A day-long symposium in which historians, activists, current and former military personnel,
anthropologists, journalists, and filmmakers gather to examine the past, present, and future of the
doctrine that has officially guided the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2007.
John Allison Clinton Ancker Joaquin Chavez
Conrad Crane Lloyd Gardner Gian Gentile
Roberto Gonzalez Hannah Gurman Karl Hack
Ansley Hamid Bill Hartung M. Jamil Hanifi
Jeremy Kuzmarov Vina Lanzona Jean MacKenzie
Vince Rafael Rick Rowley Nick Turse
Dahlia Wasfi Marilyn Young
Organized by Gallatin Professor Hannah Gurman
The Jerry H. Labowitz Theatre for the Performing Arts
1 Washington Place
For more information go to www.nyu.edu/gallatin
Democracy Now! interviews US Army Ranger widow who confronted Donald Rumsfeld about her husband's suicide
Standard would reduce dangerous US oil dependence, save Americans billions at the pump
Reason they were talking Saddam, before and Condi on the day of 9/11, in the weeks directly after and reason we left the mission in Afghanistan high and dry to fester and grow with recruitment from the devastation in Iraq an innocent country!!!
Edward Girardet’s new book, ‘Killing the Cranes, a Reporter’s Journey through Three Decades of War in Afghanistan’, is a scathing indictment of the Afghan War
With assassinations becoming routine, and NATO air strikes continuing to enrage and alienate civilians, Edward Giradet says once again, that the war was unnecessary. He further suggests the situation is highly complex with no obvious or easy way forward. This is part one of an extended interview.
Journalist, author and producer, Edward Girardet joins us to talk about his 2011 book published by Chelsea Green Press, Killing the Cranes, a Reporter’s Journey Through Three Decades of War in Afghanistan. The book spans his reporting to the Christian Science Monitor and other major media outlets. Based in Paris, he began covering Afghanistan several months before the Soviets invaded in 1979. Just before we spoke with him about his book, the British counsel in Kabul was the target of twin suicide attacks, which took place on the anniversary of Afghanistan’s Independence Day from Britain in 1919. It was a grim reminder that the people of Afghanistan have been struggling against various forces over many generations. We look at the complexities of the ongoing war and occupation, and hear an insiders view of the personalities involved.
Edward Girardet is often described by the US media as, ‘The man who met Osama Bin Ladin.” He discusses the encounter in Killing the Cranes, but the much larger discussion is about the complexities of Afghan society and the seemingly endless US and NATO presence there. In his report in Foreign Policy Magazine July 18th Edward Girardet asks, after more than three decades of targeted killings, is there anyone left alive who can actually run Afghanistan?
Related links: Edward Girardet, Assassin Nation, Foreign Policy Magazine, July 18, 2011.
Where's the Strategy?
It's disappointing, to say the least, that after ten years in Afghanistan we seem not to have a strategy, or at least a strategy people can easily discern, one that's related to known U.S. national security interests. Whatever U.S. policy is, if it can't be put into a single, simple, declarative sentence then its pursuit must be reassessed. To try to get at the truth of Afghanistan I turned to a recent U.S. Ambassador to Kabul, Ronald E. Neumann (2005-2007), who very graciously explained a few of the complexities. Total runtime fifty four minutes. Bellum nec timendum nec prōvocandum.
by Debra Sweet, National Director, World Can't Wait
The UK Daily Telegraph had an alarming headline last week: "US Troops to Remain in Afghanistan Until 2004." The United States military and the subservient Karzai government are "negotiating" from their very different positions on the continuation of U.S. military presence there, long beyond the 2014 date that the Obama administration has most recently announced:
Troops lined up in formation, preparing to get on a plane bound for Iraq. (Photo: j. botter)
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: 'Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear -
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.'
- Percy Bysshe Shelley
A pair of vitally important news reports were lost recently amid a blizzard of stories about the gyrating stock market and a rogue East Coast earthquake. The first came from Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who announced that a deal had been struck to keep US forces in Iraq beyond the oft-publicized December 31st withdrawal deadline and into 2012, contrary to Mr. Obama's promises. Not long after, a spokesman for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki came forward to say hold on, wait a minute, nothing along these lines has been agreed upon as yet, and negotiations are still ongoing.
Got that? Negotiations are still ongoing, which in all likelihood means that, sometime before December 31st, a deal will be struck between Al-Maliki and the US to keep American forces right where they've been for the last three thousand days. In fact, Panetta let it be known that the Pentagon is already laying plans to do exactly that. Panetta made sure to draw a line between "combat forces," which he claims will be withdrawn, and "training forces," which appear poised to remain into the foreseeable future. This will come as a great comfort to the troops who will not be coming home, as insurgent leaders have made it clear that any American on Iraqi soil after the withdrawal deadline will live life with a bullseye taped to their back...but who won't live long, if the insurgents have anything to say about it.
Journalists from ThisCantBeHappening! took on the Philadelphia Inquirer, the nation’s third oldest surviving daily, this morning, conducting a leafletting “happening” in front of the paper’s soon-to-be-sold headquarters building on Broad Street.
A one-page flyer, written in old English and featuring a replica of the masthead of Benjamin Franklin’s original one-page broadsheet, the Pennsylvania Gazette, accused the oft re-sold and steadily downsized and gutted Inquirer of abandoning its Fourth Estate role in favor of entertainment and profits.
On Sunday, Aug. 21, I had the privilege of speaking via conference call with several young people from the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers. It was the occasion of what they have termed the "Global Day of Listening," during which the kids spoke with supporters and sympathizers all over the world for approximately 5 and a half hours.
AVAW Tour Hits the Road!
The Afghanistan Veterans Against the War (AVAW) speaking tour kicked off yesterday marking the beginning of a series of events around the country from August 22 -31. The first stop was hosted by the IVAW Bay Area chapter and tonight the tour will go to Coffee Strong near Fort Lewis, WA.
AVAW co-founders Brock McIntosh and Jacob George returned to Afghanistan last month with a U.S. delegation for nonviolence, eager to meet with local Afghan peace and social justice organizations. Their mission was twofold: to gain a greater understanding ordinary Afghans’ needs, fears, and desires for their country, and to discover ways U.S. activists can support indigenous nonviolent efforts to reach those goals.
Brock and Jacob are reporting back on this landmark dialogue between Afghan civilians and Afghanistan veterans. Also joining the tour on the Midwest stops is Alejandro Villatoro, just back from a tour of duty in Afghanistan with the Illinois Army National Guard.
Check out the Events page to find the stop near you and spread the word!
Convention 2011 Report Back
IVAW’s 2011 Convention on August 4 - 7 at Portland State Universitywas a huge success! Sixty members came out from all corners of the country to share in training, decision-making, and camaraderie. We were joined by over forty allies and invited speakers.
Held in conjunction with Veterans For Peace, the combined convention offered almost 40 workshops spanning a huge variety of topics, from Military Sexual Trauma and PTSD to Creative Resistance and Media to Counter-Recruitment. For the first time workshops were streamed live during the convention, and will remain available on our U-stream channelforfuture viewing.
In addition to workshops, IVAW members participated in a fruitful strategy meeting, heard from leaders of other successful organizing movements, and screened David Zeiger’s new Winter Soldier documentary “This Is Where We Take Our Stand.” A strong new Board of Directors emerged from the election, as well as a new resolution on Palestine. The 2011 Election Results can be viewed on the site.
A big thanks goes out to all of those who helped make Convention 2011 happen: Veterans for Peace, Civilian-Soldier Alliance, the Iraqi Student Project, Clare Bayard & Maryam Roberts, Paige Shell-Spurling, Abe Mwaura of the Warehouse Workers for Justice, Marina Saenz-Luna of the Student Farmworker Alliance, Brooke Anderson of EBASE, Lucilene Lira of Sisters of the Road, Sergio España of United Workers, IVAW – Portland Chapter, and especially Joe Dunn, without whose tireless work we would have been screwed. Many more contributed to pulling this together and we thank you!
Jose Vasquez, Executive Director
Marjorie Cohn: Review of Deepak Tripathi, "Breeding Ground: Afghanistan and the Origins of Islamist Terrorism" (Potomac Books, Inc., 2011)
Marjorie Cohn is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School, past president of the National Lawyers Guild, and editor, most recently, of The United States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration, and Abuse (NYU Press)
After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the Bush administration rolled out its “Global War on Terror.” Although the Obama White House doesn’t use that moniker, many of its policies are indistinguishable from those of its predecessor. Both administrations have focused on combating the symptoms of terrorism rather than grappling with its root causes. Longtime BBC correspondent Deepak Tripathi was based in Kabul, Afghanistan for 15 months in the early 1990s, where he gained a unique perspective about the genesis of terrorism from his access to Afghan leaders and citizens during the civil war following the expulsion of the communist regime there.
Breeding Ground makes a significant contribution toward understanding the origins and triggers of terrorism. Tripathi traces the development of a ‘culture of violence’ in Afghanistan—largely due to resistance against foreign invasion—from the “U.S.-led proxy war” against the USSR to the current U.S. war. Without such historical insight, efforts to make us safe from acts of terror will prove futile.
Absent from the national discourse after 9/11 was a substantive inquiry into why nineteen men could hate the United States so much they would blow themselves up and take more than three thousand innocents with them. The source of that hatred can be traced to foreign occupation of Afghanistan as well as resentment of the United States for its uncritical support of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands.
Levels of violence in Afghanistan remained high this week. Also of note is the possibility that US troops and air power might remain in Afghanistan past 2024.
US troops may stay in Afghanistan until 2024
Despite the drawdown and the announced 2014 deadline for handing over control of Afghanistan’s security to the Afghan government, US military trainers, special forces soldiers, and air power might remain in the region until 2024.
The Unwinnable Afghan War: Get Out Now to Save America
by Debra Sweet, National Director of World Can't Wait For Ten Years the Richest Country in the World Has Been "At War" With the Poorest Country in the World
Lemmingly, We Roll Along
When soldiers die, the politicians who sent them to their deaths typically use euphemisms and circumlocutions — like “lost,” “fallen,” or “ultimate sacrifice.” On one level, the avoidance of blunt language can be seen as a sign of respect, but on another, it is just one more evasion of responsibility for the snuffing out of young lives.
There has been unusually wide (and for the most part supportive) reaction to my article of August 8 (They Died in Vain: Deal With It) on the killing of 30 American troops when their helicopter was shot down over Afghanistan on the night of the 6th. One website posting the article clocked 181 comments; scanning through them, I found many substantive, helpful ones.
Let me share one telling comment, which seemed to me particularly — if sadly — apt:
STOP THE WAR COALITION Newsletter No.1216 19 August 2011 Email firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 020 7801 2768 Web: http://stopwar.org.uk Twitter: http://twitter.com/STWuk Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/stopthewarcoalition IN THIS NEWSLETTER: 1) MESSAGE FROM AFGHANISTAN: END THE WAR NOW 2) THE UK RIOTS AND UNJUSTIFIED WARS 3) WE NEED YOUR HELP NOW: PLEASE DONATE 4) THE REMARKABLE HETTY BOWER ********************************* 1) MESSAGE FROM AFGHANISTAN: END THE WAR NOW The attack on British Council office in Kabul has forced to the
by Debra Sweet, Director of World Can't Wait Several thousand people have signed up to be at Freedom Square in Washington DC on Thursday October 6. This day was chosen because it's the precise 10 year anniversary of Bush's invasion. It's a "work" day, and a day we can expect maximum coverage of the war. Join World Can't Wait there! On the
By Debra Sweet, Director of World Can't Wait It's worth examining the administration's public statements, downplayed as they were, about the biggest loss of U.S. military personnel so far in Afghanistan.
From the Washington Post:
U.S. commanders have argued that outsourcing the transport and security frees up the U.S. warfighters to handle more important missions. The only alternative, said a senior congressional staff member speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss information not yet released, is “to reduce the [U.S.] footprint in Afghanistan.”
Policymakers and the public need to understand, he said, that “the cost of doing business is that we have to pay, effectively, our enemy for the right to be there.”
By Jean Athey, Peace Action Montgomery
I have to confess to being a bit vague about the concept of “nation building.” I assume that it includes developing a country’s economy, improving the infrastructure, and instituting functioning systems of governance and services. Presumably to achieve these goals, we have committed massive amounts of money to Afghanistan, a desperately poor country in need of all these improvements. And the U.S. is not the only one: other governments and private groups have also spent prodigiously in Afghanistan. But what has been the result of all that money?