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Veterans to Fort Hood GI's: “You Don't Have to Go to Afghanistan”


By MIKE PRYSNER and GERRY CONDON

Veterans For Peace has once again teamed up with March Forward to bring the Our Lives Our Rights campaign to active duty Gis facing deployment to Afghanistan.  Since Monday, Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans—including active-duty soldiers—have been engaged in a daring outreach campaign on and around Fort Hood, TX, the biggest U.S. military base in the world.

Every morning, as soldiers flood onto Fort Hood, Our Lives Our Rights organizers have been holding a massive 50-foot banner at the base gates reading “You don’t have to go to Afghanistan.” This trip was timed ahead of the deployment of Fort Hood’s III Corps in May.

This message—and information about why and how soldiers can resist deployment to Afghanistan—is also on thousands of leaflets and educational pamphlets.

This week, our organizers are actually on base at Fort Hood, distributing all of this literature to soldiers in uniform. Soldiers are also finding this literature in waiting rooms and lobbies at the USO, mental health clinic, post hospital, art and recreation center, and more. Soldiers will also open the Fort Hood post newspaper to find our literature stashed inside. 

The goal of this outreach is to let deploying soldiers—who by mainstream polls overwhelmingly oppose the continuation of the Afghanistan war—know that they have a variety of options to not have their life thrown away. Not just that, but that they would be morally right for doing so, and that they have the support of countless other soldiers, veterans and civilians who will stand beside them. 

One of those options, seeking a discharge from the military as a Conscientious Objector, was the topic of the Thursday evening “Ribs and Rights” forum at Under The Hood Cafe and GI Outreach Center.  Several active duty GI's participated, including a young soldier who has applied for a C.O. discharge and is “hopeful.” 

March Forward organizer and VFP member Kevin Baker explained that the Our Rights Our Lives campaign.  “Withdrawing all U.S. troops from Afghanistan immediately—as favored by a large majority of Americans and Afghans—would be the right thing to do,” said Baker, a former Army sergeant who spent 28 months in Iraq, but refused his third deployment. “If this government is not willing to withdraw the troops, then individual soldiers of conscience have the right to withdraw themselves from this illegal, immoral occupation.”

VFP board member Gerry Condon spoke of the many ways to resist illegal wars and occupations and called for support for GI whistleblower Bradley Manning. VFP members Helen Jaccard and Doug Zachary also participated in the lively discussion among active duty GI's, veterans and supporters.

A Fort Hood soldier and combat veteran had the following to say:“The work this campaign is doing is more effectively fulfilling my oath to this country and humanity.  It is my responsibility to disobey an unlawful order, and these occupations are no exception. Simply by having these type of conversations, we are fostering independent thought, which is a form of resistance in itself.”

Iraq veteran Malachi Muncy, who coordinates Under the Hood and hosted the event, was a gracious host.  The ribs were great.

So far, the Our Lives Our Rights campaign has received several phone calls and emails from soldiers and military families seeking more information about resisting deployment. 

JOIN THE GI OUTREACH AT FORT HOOD

The Our Lives Our Rights efforts at Fort Hood will continue throughout April.  A concentrated effort will take place from Wednesday, April 17 through Saturday, April 20, immediately before many veterans will be attending the Bush Liebury events in nearby Dallas, April 22-26.

Veterans and friends who would like to reach out to GI's at Fort Hood should get in touch with Gerry Condon at projectsafehaven@hotmail.comor by phone at 206-499-1220 or March Forward organizer Kevin Baker at 213-925-5506.

Veterans Commit Suicide From a Good Conscience

How can a veteran of war in Afghanistan help us understand good conscience?
Dr. Hakim interviews Nao Rozi

Below are excerpts of an interview of Nao Rozi, an Afghan National Army veteran, and now a member of the Afghan Peace Volunteers.

Nao Rozi : “Veterans commit suicide from a good conscience”

http://youtu.be/UVPLxl3QXxE

Excerpts of Video Transcript

Nao Rozi: I was an Afghan soldier for 2 years and had combat roles.

Hakim: What did you learn from your experience?

Nao Rozi: If I think about the root issues, philosophy since the time of Plato has tried to bring the minds of the public under government control. Sometimes, I thought that soldiers and wars were necessary but when I joined the military as a soldier, I saw the injuring and killing of soldiers and opponents like the Taliban. I thought, “Is my presence necessary? Is it correct to have a weapon?” I held a weapon before people I didn't know and who didn’t know me... We weren’t enemies because we didn’t even know one another. Even before greetings, we were supposed to kill one another.

I concluded that I should leave the army and after that, I had a crisis.

I had almost changed 180 degrees. I was affected by the war.

I tried committing suicide a few times. I felt alone.

Hakim: Some people who hear your story may think your mind was weak; you wanted to commit suicide…

Nao Rozi: Veterans who commit suicide are not cowardly…they are victims of the war.

Life becomes meaningless. It becomes difficult. You think you’ve done something such that you feel you no longer have the right to live.

Those US veterans who committed suicide had a conscience.

Hakim: What message do you have for friends and for the world?

Nao Rozi: Teacher, how I wish that every human in the world would…just for once, sit down alone and ask, “What are we here for?”

How have we been deceived? How true to self have we been?

I was brought up under the ‘government system’ and things I heard from society and the media. I was captive to these. Now, I am free!

Nao Rozi lives and struggles with the Afghan Peace Volunteers,

seeking a better life, seeking a better world.

Afternote by Dr. Hakim

I believe the medical community has made a mistake in considering war-related post-traumatic stress a disorder.

War related post-traumatic stress is a natural order, not a disorder.

I speak as a general medical practitioner, not as a psychiatrist. But more importantly, I speak as a human being whose thinking about war trauma transformed in the few minutes that I was interviewing Faiz Ahmad a few years ago, and then recently in interviewing Nao Rozi, an Afghan National Army veteran.

Anyone who witnesses gruesome violence and death would feel nauseous and repulsed, and these reactions are a natural order of human preservation, not a disorder. 

War-related post-traumatic stress prompts us to avoid the blood and gore of mutual killing. Collecting and hearing all the stories of war veterans should prompt us to seriously abolish wars. Albert Einstein had said, “War cannot be humanized, only abolished. War is a terrible thing, and must be abolished at all costs. “ 

Nao Rozi had painted for me a morbid scene that poets and writers have consistently described in different ways over the centuries, “There were so many dead young bodies, and all of them were strangers to me. I thought, ‘Why did we do this to one another? Who benefited from these deaths? Weren’t their mothers waiting for them at home?’ ”

These questions changed the course of his life.

While making sense out of what he had experienced, he had tried to kill himself a few times.

Today, there is an on-going suicide epidemic among U.S. soldiers and veterans.

A portion of the Guardian article which touched on this suicide epidemic among U.S. soldiers is worth reproducing here.

Libby Busbee is pretty sure that her son William never sat through or read Shakespeare's Macbeth, even though he behaved as though he had. Soon after he got back from his final tour of Afghanistan, he began rubbing his hands over and over and constantly rinsing them under the tap. "Mom, it won't wash off," he said.

"What are you talking about?" she replied.

“The blood. It won't come off."

On 20 March 2012, the soldier's striving for self-cleanliness came to a sudden end. That night he locked himself in his car and, with his mother and two sisters screaming just a few feet away and with Swat officers encircling the vehicle, he shot himself in the head.

At the age of 23, William Busbee had joined a gruesome statistic. In 2012, for the first time in at least a generation, the number of active-duty soldiers who killed themselves, 177, exceeded the 176 who were killed while in the war zone.

Tomas Young, an Iraq veteran who has decided to end his life, wrote a letter to Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney stating "My day of reckoning is upon me. Yours will come. I hope you will be put on trial. But mostly I hope, for your sakes, that you find the moral courage to face what you have done to me and to many, many others who deserved to live. I hope that before your time on earth ends, as mine is now ending, you will find the strength of character to stand before the American public and the world, and in particular the Iraqi people, and beg for forgiveness."

In the words of Erica Modugno, author of a pledge some veterans are making to dying Tomas Young:

“We see you. We hear you. We will not remain passive. We will not be silent.

Farewell, Tomas, and thank you.”

I’m sad that some of us may still conclude that Nao Rozi, William Busbee and Tomas Young were ‘wimpy soldiers’, not brave enough to unflinchingly continue doing their jobs.

Rather, their post-traumatic stress was a natural order seeking to preserve their good conscience, a kind order that can help us find a better world.

Dr. Teck Young Wee, a Singaporean medical doctor, has been involved in health and development work in Afghanistan since 2004.  The name he uses, Hakim, was given to him by Afghans he served in refugee camps. In the Dari language, "Hakim" means "local healer.” He now lives and works in Kabul establishing small social enterprise and is a friend-mentor of the Afghan Peace Volunteers.   (ourjourneytosmile.com)

A Peace Movement That Moves Toward Peace

Why did the peace movement of the middle of the last decade not grow larger?  Why did it shrink away?  Why is it struggling now?

As has been documented, a huge factor in the shrinking away was partisan delusion.  You put a different political party's name on the wars and they become good wars.

But that also means that what you had was a peace movement that believed in the possibility of good wars.  In fact, much of it believed that Iraq was a bad war and Afghanistan a good war.  Many people even went out of their way to display their "reasonableness" by declaring Afghanistan a good war without actually examining the war on Afghanistan; this was imagined to be a strategic way to prevent or scale back or end the war on Iraq.

Of course, when the bad war ends, and all that's left is the good war, those who are actually motivated by opposition to war must shift to opposing the former good war as the current bad war.  And why would you listen to anyone who did that?

Many, of course, opposed the war on Afghanistan until the invasion of Iraq, and then switched to talking almost exclusively about Iraq.  Afghanistan was labeled the good war once Iraq had happened, just as World War II was labeled the good war once Vietnam had happened.  Our beliefs regarding contrasts between Iraq and Afghanistan are mostly false.  The invasion of Afghanistan was no more legal or moral or honest or U.N.-authorized than the invasion of Iraq.  The occupation of Afghanistan is no less of a vicious one-sided slaughter of helpless people who wished us no ill than the occupation of Iraq was.

But we aren't in the habit of talking about wars as one-sided slaughters of innocent men, women, and children.  And we aren't in the habit precisely because that is the essential feature that all of our wars share in common. 

When we chose to oppose the war on Iraq without opposing all wars, we were obliged to find a reason why.  We were obliged to oppose the war . . .

·      because Iraq had no weapons (as if a government's possessing weapons were grounds for its people being bombed -- a notion that could cost Iran dearly),

·      or because Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11 (as if a government's association with a group affiliated with a party having once met with a wing of an organization connected to a group involved in 9-11 were grounds for being bombed -- a notion now costing the lives of drone strike victims by the thousands, not to mention sustaining the war on Afghanistan),

·      or because the war in Iraq wasn't being won (a notion that helped escalate that war and later the occupation of Afghanistan as well),

·      or because -- in fact -- the war on Iraq was a Republican Party war (as of course it was not; just check who controlled the U.S. Senate at the time -- remember the Senate, that body that long prevented President Obama from doing any of the wonderful things he'd like to have done in his secret, if not imaginary, heart of hearts?  And look at what happens to opposition to Republican wars when a Democrat is put on the throne.)

A forthcoming book by Paul Chappell is even better than all of his other ones, and I highly recommend it, but it's marred by advocacy for appealing to people's patriotism and religion.  I attended a peace conference recently at which some of the speakers claimed that the movement against the war on Iraq had been more strategic than that against the war on Vietnam, and had done so by appealing to patriotism, waving flags, avoiding disrespect for the U.S. military, and not opposing war in general.  For several years now, peace groups have been preaching that it would be unstrategic, if not racist, to oppose President Obama.  We must oppose Obama's wars, but not him or his political party, as that might turn people off.  So we're told.

Often it's considered humble and inclusive to reach people "where they are" and nudge them ever so slightly toward where you'd like them to be.  And most of our country is saturated with militarism.  But if a peace-in-certain-circumstances movement does manage to turn out a crowd for a march or two, what remains behind when the marches are over?  Certainly not an understanding of what's wrong with militarism.  Not even an understanding of what the war was that was marched against.

A majority of Americans believes the war on Iraq benefitted Iraq but hurt the United States.  A majority wanted that war ended, year after year, for several years, many motivated by selfishness -- by a desire to cease bestowing such philanthropy on the undeserving and ungrateful people of Iraq.  A majority believes President George W. Bush lied the nation into the war, but not that all wars are begun with similar lies.  And almost no one in the United States understands what was done to Iraq, that more Iraqis and a higher percentage of Iraqis were killed than were Americans in our civil war, or British or French or Japanese or Americans in World War II, or that three times that many Iraqis were made refugees, that towns and neighborhoods and populations were wiped out, infrastructure destroyed and never yet rebuilt, cancer and birth defects at record levels, civil rights worse than under Saddam Hussein's dictatorship, a nation devastated as totally as almost any other in history.

We opposed this without understanding a fraction of it, without educating others about it, and without displaying disrespect for the U.S. military.  Is that an accomplishment to be truly proud of?  How can counter-recruitment efforts possibly succeed in limiting the military's supply of cannon fodder if the peace movement doesn't disrespect the military?  I think the simplemindedness here is not in the public we're so arrogantly trying to manipulate gently, but in ourselves.  When we tried to impeach George W. Bush it was not with ill-will toward him, but with an eye on the future behavior of future presidents.  When we treat membership in the U.S. military as respectable, how can we simultaneously convey to high school students the disgust we will feel for their action, should they choose to enlist?  I said for their action, not for them.  Are we not capable of recognizing the economic bind students are in and nonetheless stigmatizing participation in mass-murder?  Or are we perhaps not even capable of recognizing mass-murder for what it is?

Here's a secret about people in this country: they don't support mass murder.  Here's another: they're not stupid.  So, when you force them to be aware that their government is committing mass murder and glorifying it, they get upset, angry, and often energized to make a change.  And when you talk to them honestly, they know you're being honest even if they don't agree with you at first.  And when you respectfully disagree, they are able to notice whether your position makes any sense.  So, if you oppose wars because you oppose killing people, you have to explain to everyone you can that you oppose wars because they kill people.  You can't say "I oppose this particular war because Paul Bremmer did something dumb," because everyone will fantasize about a future war that doesn't include the dumb thing.  And once you've said that, you have to downplay the fact that the war is an act of mass-murder, because if it were, then why wouldn't you be opposing it for that reason?  Why wouldn't your interlocutor as well?  You have joined in a cooperative agreement to keep that matter secret as you turn the conversation to the WMD lies or the financial costs or the costs to the U.S. troops who made up 0.3% of the deaths.

On the train home from a recent peace conference, I spoke to a young woman who told me she was studying dentistry and would be in the Air Force.  Couldn't she be a dentist without the military, I asked?  No, she answered, not without $200,000 in debt.  Yes, I replied, but without the Air Force, we could have free colleges and no debts.  No, she replied . . .  and, if you think for a moment, I know you'll know what she said next.  It had nothing to do with the lies about Iraq, the financial cost of Iraq, the number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq, or what war mongers the Republicans are.  It had nothing to do with any of that.  Think for a second, and you'll know.

Got it?  She replied: if we didn't have the Air Force, North Korea would kill us.

Now, if you have a little education you probably realize that North Korea couldn't attack the United States without being completely obliterated, and that any nation on earth would scream angry threats if we pretended to drop nuclear bombs on it after having destroyed all of its cities, killed millions of its people, and threatened and antagonized it for over half a century through control of the military belonging to its former other half. 

But if you'd just learned that the war on Iraq was a dumb war that cost too much, that nothing is more heroic than militarism, that even the peace movement should be led by soldiers, and that waving flags and valuing a particular 5% of humanity to a special degree are admirable values, where would you be?  What would you know about militarism, where it exists, or how it functions?

There will always, always, always be another North Korea that's supposedly about to kill us.  We don't need rapid-response fact corrections.  We need citizens with some understanding of history, with knowledge of the Other 95%, with the capacity to resist terrorism-by-television, and capable of independent thought.  To get there, we need a peace movement that moves us, at whatever pace it can, toward peace -- toward the popular demand for the absolute abolition of all war.

Crashing the 2-Party System: The Way Forward is a Single-Issue Social Security Defense Party

 

By Dave Lindorff


The history of third parties in America is pretty dismal. The system is rigged against them, for one thing. But equally problematic is the lack of focus that leads to infighting and splits whenever a third party is created.


The Future's So Much More Fun than the Past: How to Avoid the Bummer Myth

 

By John Grant


“The elite always has a Plan B, while people have no escape.”
            - Ahmad Saadawi


The Real Obama? The Devil...is in The Details

 

By Linn Washington, Jr.


The HISTORY channel is catching righteous hell for crafting the character of Satan in its miniseries “The Bible” to bear an uncanny likeness to U.S. President Barak Obama.

Is it just coincidence that the dark-skinned Satan in this HISTORY channel miniseries looks hauntingly similar to the first black man to occupy the Oval Office seat in America’s White House?

Inside Afghanistan’s Appalling Refugee Camps

By Alex Thomson

It has come to this. A woman sits in the mud and puddles. The snow falls relentlessly. It is minus 6 degrees, even at 11 in the morning. But sit here she must.

If she moves suddenly, she will be hit, for she sits in the middle of the road and covered head to foot in the blue burkha. Her vision is restricted ahead and her peripheral vision is non-existent. And she’s in the middle of one of the busiest streets in probably the most traffic-choked capital on earth.

This is Kabul’s not-so-secret shame – women forced to do this in the hope that a hand might come from the window of one of the city’s legion of 4x4s and bestow a few precious Afghanis to keep her and her children alive for another day.

That is, if you can call this life, or living.

04 afghanblog w Inside Afghanistans appalling refugee camps

After all the billions poured into the country in foreign aid during the west’s invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, even in the capital the conditions in the fifty or more mostly illegal refugee camps have to be seen to be believed.

One of those begging women, Sakineh, agrees to take our cameraman Mehran Bozorgnia back to the Nasajiu refugee camp to show how things are for the poorest of the city’s poor.

There are scores of camps like these. At least 50,000 refugees across Kabul. Some have come back from the 2.6 million Afghans who fled the Taliban to the vast camps of Pakistan and Iran, many others have been displaced by the fighting which has continued ever since the west ousted those same Taliban fighters.

And they are desperate places at this time of year – or any other. Running water or sewerage would be a dream here. The stench of human waste mixes with the toxic fumes of plastic being burned – though aid organisations deliver some firewood, it is pitiful and nowhere near what is needed for people here.

A man shows Channel 4 News terrible scars on his back. He thought if he sold a kidney he would get enough money to escape here and never have to come back. That was several years ago now and he stands angry and despairing in the freezing muddy slime of this place.

Next door, a girl of perhaps 10 or 11 years old slowly peels back the dressing to reveal her entire hand burned by an accident with one of the open fires burning all over this place to try and keep people alive.

Agha Mohammad is livid.

“Come,” he says, beckoning.

“Look at this – human beings have to live here. Look at it. You can make your own judgement. You don’t need any words from me.”

The floor is awash with the slime of liquidising mud in the freezing cold. During the night the weight of snow collapsed the flimsy tarpaulin roof over this place. The children are ill with the toxic plastic fumes everywhere here and like everyone else, any fees for private medical treatment or even medicine itself – are way out of reach.

“See my leg – it was hit by a bullet,” adds Agha.

“My hand was hit by shrapnel. I’ve served this country for thirty years!”

He’s near to tears.

The UNHCR supplies the basics of shelter, some firewood and clothing for the children. But it cannot supply what’s needed – an economy, a functioning state and above all, jobs. Hanging over all of this the great spoken and unspoken question on everyone’s mind in this country. As the west retreats from its long-lost war here, just what happens to the have-nots who need the most help?

Once Nato has gone will the fear of intensified civil war become reality? And if it does, the western charities and the United Nations will not be here as they are now – and even now the UN sums up conditions in the camps in one word: “Appalling.”

Follow @alextomo on Twitter.

True, He’s the First Black President But Obama’s the Worst President Ever

 

By Ron Ridenour


Yes, I mean it: the worst ever!


We’ve had James Monroe and his doctrine of supremacy over Latin America. We’ve had Theodore Roosevelt and his invasion of Cuba; Nixon, Reagan, Bush-Bush and their mass murder, and all the war crimes and genocide committed by most presidents. Yes, but we never had a black man sit on the white throne of imperialism committing war crimes.


Journalistic Malpractice at the Post and the Times Rejecting the Offer of Evidence of US War Crimes

 

 By Dave Lindorff


Thanks to the courageous action of Private Bradley Manning, the young soldier who has been held for over two years by the US military on trumped-up charges including espionage and aiding the enemy, we now have solid evidence that the country’s two leading news organizations, the Washington Post and the New York Times, are not interesting in serious reporting critical of the government.

Individual Honor versus Unpleasant History The Battle Still Rages Over What Vietnam Means

 

By John Grant


"The experience we have of our lives from within, the story we tell ourselves about ourselves in order to account for what we are doing, is thus a lie -- the truth lies rather outside, in what we do."

                -- Slavoj Zizek

We are those two Afghan children, killed while tending their cattle : our street protest in Kabul today

By Hakim and Afghan Peace Volunteers

Two young Afghan boys herding cattle in Uruzgan Province of Afghanistan were mistakenly killed by NATO forces yesterday.

They were seven and eight years old.

Our globe, approving of ‘necessary or just war’, thinks, “We expect this to happen occasionally.”

Some say, “We’re sorry.”

Therefore today, with sorrow and rage, we the Afghan Peace Volunteers took our hearts to the streets.

We went with two cows, remembering that the two children were tending to their cattle on their last day.

We are those two children.

We want to be human again.

Don’t we see it? Don’t we hear it?

All of nature, the cows, the grass, the hills and the songs, crave for us to be human again.

We want to get out of our seats of pride and presumption, and give a cry of resistance.

We want the world to hear us, the voice of the thundering masses.

“We’re so tired of war.”

“Children shouldn’t have to live or die this way.”

“This hurts like mad, like the mad hurt of seeing a child being caned while he’s crying from hunger.”

“We have woken up, and we detest the method of mutual killing in war that the leaders of the world have adopted.”

We say, with due respect to the leaders, but with no respect for their or any act of violence, “We are very wrong. You are very wrong.”

 “We cannot go on resolving conflicts this warring way.”

Unless we see the cattle’s submission upon being blown up to pieces, and understand the momentary surprise of the seven year old listening to music on his radio, and empathize with the eight year old who had taken responsibility for the seven year old, and weep torrentially with the mother of the children, we are at risk of losing everything we value within ourselves.

Hearing the NATO commander General Joseph Dunford say that they’re sorry makes us angry; we don’t want to hear it.

We don’t want ‘sorry-s’. We want an end to all killing. We want to live without war.

We want all warriors to run back anxiously to their own homes, and fling their arms around their sons and daughters, their grandsons and grand-daughters, and say, “We love you and will never participate in the killing of any child or human being again.”

In the days to come, we’ll remember the distraught mother and family of the two children.

We know they won’t eat, or feel like breathing or living. They will remember, yet not want to remember.

Their mother will feel like giving away tens of thousands of cows just so she can touch her two children’s faces again. No, she’ll not only touch their faces, she will shower them with the hugs and kisses only mothers can give.

Do not insult her grief or her poverty by giving her monetary compensation for her children.

If they were alive, they would say along with their mother, “We are not goods.”

We went out there with our hearts and two cows this morning. We stood in front of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, next to a trash-lined river no one wants to clean up, and we began to feel human again.

We had begun to cry for our world.

‘We are those two Afghan children’

Droning On: The US and the M Word

 

By Dan DeWalt


‘If the President Does It, It Isn’t Illegal’

             -- Richard M. Nixon



Watch Your Wallet! Much Ado about Nothing in Budget Debate

 

By Dave Lindorff


By Dave Lindorff


All the sturm and drang in Washington over the March 1 deadline for a budget deal is an act. Two acts really.

Talkin’ ‘bout My Generation: In Defense of Baby Boomers

 

By Dave Lindorff


I’m fed up with the trashing of the Baby Boom generation.


Sure you can find plenty of scoundrels, freeloaders, charlatans and thugs who were born between 1946 and 1964, but you can find bad and lazy people in every generation. In fact, the so called “Greatest Generation” who preceded the Boomers abounds in them. That doesn’t prove anything.


The Things They Carry: Heroes and Their Medals

 

Another kid from Maine died in Afghanistan. 


Here's how my hometown paper reported it.


HUMBLE HERO FROM MAINE HONORED FOR A FINAL ACT OF VALOR


My paper, along with the papers of record in the state capital Augusta and in our state's largest city, Portland, is owned by S. Donald Sussman, the husband of our representative on the House Armed Service Committee, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree.

No More Truthless Heroes

By Joshua Brollier

On February 11, 2013, the New York Times reported about the funeral of retired Navy Seal sniper Chris Kyle, portraying him as a “warrior and family man.”  The highly politicized and massive public funeral, held at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, points to the severe moral schizophrenia our nation has internalized. We see ourselves as the shining “city on a hill” and therefore a U.S. citizen who kills people in other lands becomes an unquestionably renowned hero.  This must appear offensive and ridiculous to many people living beyond U.S. borders.

Talk Nation Radio: "I Killed People in Afghanistan: Was I Right or Wrong?"

Tim Kudo is a U.S. Marine who has participated in the war on Afghanistan.

He's authored these columns:

Washington Post: I Killed People in Afghanistan. Was I Right or Wrong?

Washington Post: How the Marines Video Made the Afghan War Even Tougher

New York Times: On War and Redemption

Kudo discusses the morality of war with, and disagrees with, host David Swanson.

Total run time: 29:00

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

 

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UN group says US attacks, air strikes kill hundreds of Afghan children in recent years

NEW YORK — Attacks by U.S. military forces in Afghanistan, including air strikes, have reportedly killed hundreds of children over the last four years, according to the U.N. body monitoring the rights of children.

The Geneva-based Committee on the Rights of the Child said the casualties were “due notably to reported lack of precautionary measures and indiscriminate use of force.” It was reviewing a range of U.S. policies affecting children for the first time since 2008 — the last year of the Bush administration and the year Barack Obama was first elected president.

The U.N. review is conducted every four years, and the report’s release came as U.S. policy on drone targeting and air strikes is under intense scrutiny in Washington.

Links? We Don’t Do No Stinkin’ Links: Cognitive Dissonance at the New York Times

 

By Dave Lindorff


For a masterpiece in cognitive dissonance, just look to the foreign editors and the  managing editor of the New York Times, who ran two stories in Saturday’s paper without referencing each other at all.


Forgetting To Remember Afghanistan In School

Cost of War in Afghanistan
$608,613,370,920

 

Counting Down to 2014 in Afghanistan

Three Lousy Options: Pick One 
By Ann Jones, TomDispatch

Kabul, Afghanistan -- Compromise, conflict, or collapse: ask an Afghan what to expect in 2014 and you’re likely to get a scenario that falls under one of those three headings. 2014, of course, is the year of the double whammy in Afghanistan: the next presidential election coupled with the departure of most American and other foreign forces. Many Afghans fear a turn for the worse, while others are no less afraid that everything will stay the same.  Some even think things will get better when the occupying forces leave.  Most predict a more conservative climate, but everyone is quick to say that it’s anybody’s guess.

Only one thing is certain in 2014: it will be a year of American military defeat.  For more than a decade, U.S. forces have fought many types of wars in Afghanistan, from a low-footprint invasion, to multiple surges, to a flirtation with Vietnam-style counterinsurgency, to a ramped-up, gloves-off air war.  And yet, despite all the experiments in styles of war-making, the American military and its coalition partners have ended up in the same place: stalemate, which in a battle with guerrillas means defeat.  For years, a modest-sized, generally unpopular, ragtag set of insurgents has fought the planet’s most heavily armed, technologically advanced military to a standstill, leaving the country shaken and its citizens anxiously imagining the outcome of unpalatable scenarios.

The first, compromise, suggests the possibility of reaching some sort of almost inconceivable power-sharing agreement with multiple insurgent militias.  While Washington presses for negotiations with its designated enemy, “the Taliban,” representatives of President Hamid Karzai’s High Peace Council, which includes 12 members of the former Taliban government and many sympathizers, are making the rounds to talk disarmament and reconciliation with all the armed insurgent groups that the Afghan intelligence service has identified across the country. There are 1,500 of them.

Hey, Hey, Barack! What Do You Say? How Many Kids Have You Killed Today?

 

By Dave Lindorff


I personally found the president’s inaugural speech not just insipid, but disgusting. It reached its gut-churning nadir near the end where he said:


Not in My Name Anymore

Déjà Vu All Over Again: Notes on Jonathan Schell’s Review of 'Kill Anything That Moves'

 

By Michael Uhl


Jonathan Schell‘s probing review of Nick Turse’s new book Kill Anything That Moves originated on Tom Dispatch and migrated to Salon, where it appeared under the head “Vietnam was even more horrific than we thought.”

Obama's Second Inauguration: Big Money but No Big Lines

 

By Dave Lindorff


There were no memorable lines in President Obama’s second inaugural address. Certainly nothing like Franklin Roosevelt’s “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” which was in his first inaugural, or like John F. Kennedy’s “Ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what you can do for your country.”


But there was plenty he said that was troubling. 


The problem mostly wasn’t what he said. It was how he said it, and what he left unsaid.

On Its Way Out, the US Will Give Afghanistan Its Very Own Fleet of Drones

In his first media appearance since visiting President Obama in Washington, Hamid Karzai announced that the United States had agreed to give his country a fleet of drones. The Afghan President didn't specify how many or which kind of drones Afghanistan would get, but he was careful to explain that the unmanned vehicles would be unarmed. American troops will even stick around and show Afghan forces how to use them. "They will train Afghans to fly them, use them and maintain them," said Karzai at a news conference. "Besides drones, Afghanistan will be provided with other intelligence gathering equipment which will be used to defend and protect our air and ground sovereignty." That includes 20 helicopters and at least four C-130 transport planes.

READ THE REST.

13 PEACE, VETERANS, AND FAITH GROUPS ASK GOVERNOR KITZHABER TO KEEP OREGON NATIONAL GUARD FROM DEPLOYMENT TO AFGHANISTAN IN 2013

On January 10, thirteen peace, veterans and faith organizations from
various parts of Oregon sent a letter to Governor John Kitzhaber urging
him to keep the Oregon National Guard from its planned deployment of 1800
Oregonians to Afghanistan in 2014. The groups' letter cites a 2009 effort
to keep the Guard in Oregon through the legislative process, and a
similar letter sent to Governor Ted Kulongoski in 2008. The full text of
the new letter is below and on line at
http://www.pjw.info./guardletter2013.pdf .

The groups listed on the letter are:
Peace and Justice Works, Military Families Speak Out of Oregon, Veterans
for Peace Chapter 132 (Corvallis), Veterans for Peace Chapter 72
(Portland), Rogue Valley Veterans for Peace Chapter 156 (Grants Pass),
Community Alliance of Lane County, Citizens for Peace & Justice
(Medford/Rogue Valley), Peace House (Ashland), Oregon PeaceWorks, Oregon
Physicians for Social Responsibility, War Resisters League--Portland
Chapter, 18th Avenue Peace House (Portland), and Augustana Lutheran Church
(Portland).

The groups include locally based and statewide groups, groups connected
to national organizations, and groups based in at least 6 of Oregon's
36 Counties. Two Portland area peace activists also signed the letter.

For more information contact Peace and Justice Works at 503-236-3065.

--------------------
Peace and Justice Works
PO Box 42456
Portland, OR 97242
503-236-3065


To: Governor John Kitzhaber
160 State Capitol
900 Court Street
Salem, Oregon 97301-4047(by e-mail and postal mail)

January 10, 2013

Governor Kitzhaber

We are writing you today as organizations who, in 2009, worked with the
legislature to keep the Oregon National Guard from deploying into
undeclared military conflict zones in Iraq and Afghanistan, hoping you
will exercise your authority of the Commander in Chief of the Guard to
keep them from the planned deployment to Afghanistan in 2014.

Over 5500 people signed the petition supporting our legislation, known as
HB 2556, and nearly 50 organizations supported the effort. We had pledges
from at least 30 members of the House to support the legislation, but it
was never brought to the floor.

The legal framework of the legislation was that the Authorization for Use
of Military Force of September 18, 2001, which launched the "War on
Terror," is overly broad and has allowed the United States to occupy
Afghanistan and attack Somalia, Pakistan, and elsewhere, invade Iraq, as
well as enabling the opening of the prison camp at Guantanamo, the PATRIOT
act, military tribunals, and other affronts to human, civil and
constitutional rights. The 2001 AUMF has been renewed annually by
Presidents Bush and Obama, and has no provision to end the "war," a
termination date nor a process or procedure to determine when the
authorization should terminate.

Recognizing that in 1986, Congress passed and the President signed the
"Montgomery Amendment," which provides that a governor cannot withhold
consent with regard to active duty outside the United States because of
any objection to the location, purpose, type, or schedule of such duty, we
hold that the President must act pursuant to the Constitution and laws of
the United States. The War Powers Act of 1973 (Public Law 93-148)
specifically limits the power of the President of the United States to
wage war without the approval of Congress. the 2001 AUMF could provide for
the National Guard to be deployed indefinitely.

Deployment of Oregon National Guard members in Afghanistan has resulted,
and continues to result, in significant harm to guard members and their
families, including death and injury, loss of time together, and financial
hardship.

While the bill at that time focused on the then-upcoming deployment of the
Guard to Iraq, we feel it is your duty to ensure that the request by the
federal government for Oregon's sons and daughters to be called into
harm's way are lawful and Constitutional.

We concur with the Eugene Register-Guard, which wrote in its editorial on
December 4, "The Oregon Army National Guard's 41st Infantry Brigade Combat
team, with a battalion based in Springfield, is scheduled to deploy 1,800
soldiers to Afghanistan in 2014. It's Oregon's second-largest overseas
deployment since World War II -- and it is a deployment that can be
avoided if Obama heeds the advice of the U.S. Senate and decides that the
time has come, not for sending more troops to Afghanistan, but for
bringing the 66,000 who are there now home as quickly as possible."

Thank you for your consideration

Sincerely,

Dan Handelman
for
Peace and Justice Works

Adele Kubein
for
Military Families Speak Out of Oregon

Bart Bolger
for
Veterans for Peace Chapter 132 (Corvallis)

Clayton Knight
for
Veterans for Peace Chapter 72 (Portland)

Jim Woods
for
Rogue Valley Veterans for Peace Chapter 156 (Grants Pass)

Michael Carrigan
for
Community Alliance of Lane County

Allen Hallmark
for
Citizens for Peace & Justice (Medford/Rogue Valley)

Herbert Rothschild
for
Peace House (Ashland)

Peter Bergel
for
Oregon PeaceWorks

Kelly Campbell
for
Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility

John Grueschow
for
War Resisters League--Portland Chapter

John Schweibert
for
18th Avenue Peace House (Portland)

Rev. W. J. Mark Knutson
for
Augustana Lutheran Church (Portland)

Geraldine Foote, St. Luke Lutheran Peace and Justice Advocacy Group*

Trudy Cooper, American Iranian Friendship Council*

*organizations listed for identification purposes only

reference: Read excerpts from our August 11, 2008 letter to Governor
Kulongoski at
http://www.pjw.info/kulongoskiletter08summary.html

Afghan Peace Volunteer says drones bury beautiful lives

By Hakim and the Afghan Peace Volunteers

Raz speaks out on drones in Afghanistan

Below is a transcript of an interview of Raz Mohammad, an Afghan Peace Volunteer, with questions prepared by Maya Evans of Voices for Creative Non Nonviolence UK.

Raz Mohammad : Salam ‘aleikum. I am Raz Mohammad. I’m from Maidan Wardak province and I’m Pashtun.

Kathy Kelly : Raz Mohmmad, what do you think about drones?

Raz Mohammad : I think drones are not good. I remember how, in my village, a drone attack killed my brother-in-law and four of his friends. It was truly sad. A beautiful life was buried and the sound of crying and sorrow arose from peaceful homes. I say that this is inhumane. Today, the idea of humanity has been forgotten. Why do we spend money like this? Why don’t we use an alternative way? The international community says that drones are used to kill the Taliban. This is not true. We should see the truth. Today, it’s hard to find the truth and no one listens to the people.

Kathy Kelly : How have drones impacted Wardak Afghanistan?

Raz Mohammad : Drones have a negative impact on the lives of the people of Wardak and other provinces in Afghanistan, because drones don’t bring peace. They kill human beings. Drones bring nothing but bombs. They burn the lives of the people. People can’t move around freely. In the nights, people are afraid. Drones don’t improve people’s lives, they limit the people’s lives. The people are not happy with drones. When they hear the sound of drones, they feel sad. Those who live in Kabul and those who live in the provinces especially in Pashtun areas feel differently about drones.  Those in Kabul don’t feel the pain of those in the provinces where there’s war and family members are being killed. It is those families of victims who should be asked and whose voices should be heard.

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