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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.

 

Download or get embed code from Archive or  AudioPort or LetsTryDemocracy.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!

Embed on your own site with this code:

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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.

Permanent Afghanistan Occupation Planned

 

Permanent Afghanistan Occupation Planned

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

America came to stay. Accelerated withdrawal claims reflect subterfuge. Washington officials and media scoundrels don't explain. Misinformation and illusion substitute for reality.

 

'The Afghan People Are Fed Up': An Interview with Malalai Joya

Malalai Joya, 34, first gained international attention in 2003 when she spoke out publicly against the domination of warlords. She was at that time serving as an elected delegate to the Loya Jirga that was convened to ratify the Constitution of Afghanistan; in 2005 she became one of 68 women elected to the 249-seat National Assembly, or Wolesi Jirga, and was the youngest member of the Afghan parliament.Malalai Joya visits a girls school in Farah province in Afghanistan in 2007. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

In 2007 she again spoke out against former warlords and war criminals in the Afghan parliament and was thereupon suspended from the parliament. Since then she has survived many assassination attempts. She travels in Afghanistan with armed guards and has worked tirelessly on behalf of Afghan women and to end the occupation of her country.

She has received broad international recognition. In 2010, Time Magazine placed Malalai Joya on their annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world, and Foreign Policy Magazine in listed her in its annual list of the Top 100 Global Thinkers.  In March, 2011, The Guardian listed her among "Top 100 women: activists and campaigners." Her most recent book is "Raising My Voice."

I first met Malalai in 2007 in Berlin, after she was invited to speak in the German Parliament (see http://www.zcommunications.org/the-war-on-terror-is-a-mockery-by-elsa-rassbach), and we've met again during some of her further visits to Europe. This interview is based on our conversation during her most recent visit to Berlin and subsequent email correspondence between us.

The above text and following interview is by Elsa Rassbach, a US journalist and filmmaker based in Berlin, Germany.

__________________

RASSBACH:  Last month in Paris representatives of the Taliban for the first time met with their former enemies of the Northern Alliance, the collection of militias that fought them in the 1990s and eventually helped the U.S. to oust the Taliban regime.  Now President Obama has invited Afghan President Hamid Karzai to meet with him in Washington on January 11th.

What do you make of this?

Obama Considers Actually Ending the Occupation When He Ends the Occupation (Now Speed It Up 2 Years!)

White House weighs total Afghan pullout
http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/21d4969a-59e6-11e2-b728-00144feab49a.html#axzz2HMbTC4eE
By Geoff Dyer in Washington

The Obama administration is considering leaving no US troops in Afghanistan after 2014 when the current mission is due to end, White House officials said on Tuesday.

1-Year Old Girl Froze to Death Last Night

By Guy Smallman

Last night 18 month old Saiyma Gadazai froze to death in the Kabul refugee camp where she was born. Her father told how they fled the war in the South. He held both NATO and the Taliban in equal contempt. She was laid to rest next to a 3 year old boy called Janaan who died in the same camp 13 days ago. Also from exposure. This country has been under the control of the richest nations on earth for over 10 years. For children to be dying like this in its capital city is utterly obscene. SHARE if you think something should be done about this!

See the funeral photos.

In Kabul, Widows and Orphans Move Up

By Kathy Kelly

Kabul --Yesterday, four young Afghan Peace Volunteer members, Zainab, Umalbanin, Abdulhai, and Ali, guided Martha and me along narrow, primitive roads and crumbling stairs, ascending a mountain slope on the outskirts of Kabul.  The icy, rutted roads twisted and turned.  I asked if we could pause as my heart was hammering and I needed to catch my breath.  Looking down, we saw a breathtaking view of Kabul.  Above us, women in bright clothing were navigating the treacherous roads with heavy water containers on their heads or shoulders.  I marveled at their strength and tenacity.  “Yes, they make this trip every morning,” Umalbanin said, as she helped me regain my balance after I had slipped on the ice. 

Zainab, Umalbanin, Ali, Kathy and Martha going up the mountainside

 

America’s Political Dysfunction at Root is an Unwillingness to Cut War Spending

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

I was asked earlier this week by an reporter for PressTV, the state television network in Iran, if I could explain why the US political system seemed to be so dysfunctional, with Congress and the President having created an artificial budget crisis 17 months ago, not “solving” it until the last hour before a Congressional deadline would have created financial chaos, and even then not solving the problem and instead just pushing it off for two months until the next crisis moment.

 

Peace on Earth Should Include Afghanistan

Let there be peace on earth, and let it include Afghanistan.

We cannot be for peace without being against war.

We cannot be satisfied with inner peace while wars are being waged with our money and in our names.

The largest of those wars remains Afghanistan.  It is larger now than when Barack Obama first became president.

There is no strategic, legal, or -- above all -- moral justification for continuing this war for another year, or for another day.

Please take a moment to click here and tell our government that we want peace on earth.

Catch up on a forgotten war:

$500 For Desecration: 'US Marine fined, demoted for urinating on Afghan bodies'

US Military Needs to Leave Afghanistan and Stop Widening Drone Strikes

Why not warmth in Afghan duvets?

Afghanistan War Without End -- Or Wisdom, Understanding, and Peace

The Compassion of Women of Afghanistan for the Women of Gaza

Nobel Laureate Mairead Maguire Goes to Afghanistan to Join Afghan Peace Volunteers' Demand for Cease Fire and Negotiation

Eid "Sensations"

Children under Attack in Pakistan and Afghanistan

What to Do after 11 Years of War? How About Occupying Your City Council?!

US / NATO OUT OF AFGHANISTAN NOW!

Video: Recruiting Soldiers to Refuse to Go

Resolution passed by U.S. Senate:

"It is the sense of Congress that the President should, as previously announced by the President, continue to draw down United States troop levels at a steady pace through the end of 2014; and end all regular combat operations by United States troops by not later than December 31, 2014, and take all possible steps to end such operations at the earliest date consistent with a safe and orderly draw down of United States troops in Afghanistan."

Letter sent to President Obama by 94 Congress Members (PDF):

Dear President Obama:
Your military advisors will soon be providing you with a set of military options in Afghanistan. We are writing to urge you to pursue a strategy in Afghanistan that best serves the interests of the American people and our brave troops on the ground. That strategy is simple: an accelerated withdrawal to bring to an end the decade-long war as soon as can safely and responsibly be accomplished.
After 10 years and almost $600 billion spent, over 2,000 American lives lost, and 18,000 wounded - it is time to accelerate the transition to full Afghan control. While NATO and Afghan National Security Forces have made considerable strides, no military strategy exists and morale has been undermined by the proliferation of “Green on Blue” attacks. Sixty coalition soldiers have been killed this year alone by their Afghan allies. To quote a former Commandant of the Marine Corps, “When our friends turn out to be our enemy, it is time to pull the plug.”
This is one issue that overwhelmingly unifies Americans: the desire to bring the war in Afghanistan to an accelerated close. Polls show over two-thirds of Americans, on a bipartisan basis, believe it is past time to end our combat role and bring the troops home.
We write to request that you respond to the consensus amongst military experts, diplomats, and the American people. It is time to announce an accelerated transition of security responsibility to the Afghan government and to bring our troops home as soon as can be safely and responsibly accomplished.
Al Qaeda’s presence has been greatly diminished and Osama bin Laden is no longer a threat to the United States. There can be no military solution in Afghanistan. It is past time for the United States to allow the Afghanistan government to assume responsibility for its own security.
While many of us would prefer an immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan starting today, there is broad recognition that the primary objectives have been completed. We also would like to remind you that any long term security agreement committing U.S. troops to the defense of Afghanistan must have congressional approval to be binding. In addition, we would like to request a meeting to discuss these issues directly with you and your staff.
We look forward to working with you.

Where the U.S. public is:

 

  Stay until
stabilized
Remove
troops ASAP
Unsure    
   % % %      
 10/4-7/12

35

60 5      
4/4-15/12

32

60 8      
 3/7-11/12

35

57 7      
 1/11-16/12

38

56 6      
6/15-19/11

39

56 4  
  Doing the
right thing
Should not
be involved
Unsure    
   % % %      
 ALL

31

60 9    

 

"Do you favor or oppose the war in Afghanistan?"

 
    Favor Oppose Unsure Refused  
    % % % %  
 

5/3-7/12

27 66 6 1

"Do you approve or disapprove of the U.S. withdrawing military troops in Afghanistan?"

 
    Approve Disapprove Unsure    
    % % %    
 

4/22-24/12

78 16 6

 

  Worth
fighting
Not worth
fighting
Unsure    
   % % %      
 4/5-8/12

30

66 4    

 

Reasons for the U.S. military to stay in Afghanistan for two more years, and for 10 more years beyond that:

______________________.

 

US Military Needs to Leave Afghanistan and Stop Widening Drone Strikes

There is perhaps no time in American history when our leaders have fought a war with so little support. More than 60 percent of Americans want out of Afghanistan. Even at the peak of the anti-Vietnam-war movement, after a majority had turned against the war, there were still a large number of citizens who believed in the war and its official justifications. Today, as my colleague Robert Naiman of Just Foreign Policy notes, “Western leaders have largely given up trying to explain or justify why Western troops are still in Afghanistan and why they are still killing and being killed.”

Yet the war goes on, and even the White House plans for too slowly reducing the U.S. troop presence meet resistance from the Pentagon. In a replay of the internal fight over U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, U.S. commander General George Allen was pushing just a few months ago to keep the current level of troops for another year. The military would also like to maintain a permanent presence of some 6,000 to 15,000 troops.

That is not going to happen, as the Afghan people don’t want foreign troops in their country any more than we would want armed fighters from Al Qaeda here in the U.S. But the attempts to establish a permanent base of operations will make it more difficult to negotiate an end to war.

And yes, ironically, the U.S. will most likely end up negotiating with the Taliban to end this war, something our government refused to do after 9-11 when it launched the invasion instead. So, 11 years of war, more than 2,000 U.S. troops dead and tens of thousands wounded will have all been for nothing, to arrive at the same opportunity that was available without America’s longest war. Thousands of Afghans have been killed, and the population has suffered enormously.

The invasion of Iraq was disaster on an even larger scale, with more than a million estimated dead, including more than 4,400 U.S. troops. Hundreds of thousands came home wounded or with brain or psychological trauma and bleak job prospects. Beside the fact that the war was launched on the basis of lies, it is hard to see how anyone could excuse this crime even in retrospect. As the revolution in Egypt showed, people can get rid of their own dictators – foreign intervention is much more likely to create or vastly expand a bloody civil war.

Meanwhile, U.S. drone strikes carried out “secretly” by the C.I.A. are becoming institutionalized, widening the so-called “war on terror” to more countries, in addition to the hundreds of strikes already carried out in Pakistan. These attacks, which have killed hundreds of civilians and have even targeted rescue workers, are each day making more people want to kill Americans.

Our country and our media have too much reverence for the U.S. military and the CIA, which are not making us safer but rather helping to create new threats. As the Washington Post reports, some of our generals have an “array of perquisites befitting a billionaire, including executive jets, palatial homes, drivers, security guards.” Even worse, many officers later join the boards and executive suites of military contractors, where they rake in millions making corporations such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics, Raytheon, and Northrop Grumman richer at taxpayer expense, and sometimes promoting war itself on the network news. Our military-industrial complex is as corrupt and rotten as any institution of America’s broken democracy, and more deadly than most in its consequences.

We need to end this war in Afghanistan and the other operations that are making Americans less secure and recruiting new enemies daily. Then we can focus on fixing our broken economy at home.

Crime Watch: American Presidents and their Advisors are War Criminals

 

By Dave Lindorff


Most Americans, their minds focused at the moment on the tragic slaughter of 20 young children aged 5-10, along with five teachers and a school principal in Connecticut by a heavily-armed psychotic 21-year-old, are blissfully unaware that their last president, George W. Bush, along with five key members of his administration, were convicted in absentia of war crimes earlier this month at a tribunal in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.


Why not warmth in Afghan duvets?

By Dr. Linda Sartor

Kabul--The Afghan Peace Volunteers are a group of young people in Afghanistan who are committed to learning about and practicing Gandhi’s nonviolence.  Many of them live in a house in Kabul.  I had met this inspiring group when I visited Kabul in the spring of 2011 with an organization based in the USA called Voices for Creative Nonviolence.  In mid-November, I had the opportunity to return to Kabul and spend a month living, working and playing with the group.  

Because of rampant corruption in Afghanistan, the Afghan Peace Volunteers believe that donations always come with attachment to special interests and thus they do nothing to raise funds for themselves.  Yet they had voluntarily provided for a sewing course for poor women in Kabul who could come to the house.   Out of this sewing course project grew the idea of paying a living wage to the women for sewing duvets and then giving those duvets away to the very poor in the Kabul area.  Funds for this project go directly to the project, paying for the supplies and the sewing of the duvets.    

On the day I rejoined the Afghan Peace Volunteers in Kabul, they were set to distribute 150 duvets to about 50 destitute families in Kabul. What a fun adventure!  I was sitting in the front seat of a taxi behind a truck that was piled high, watching Faiz and Ali grinning as they rode along atop the tall tower of colorful duvets down the dusty, bumpy street.  Tears came to my eyes as I thought of describing this moment in writing.  I hope that I can even capture a fraction of the joyful spirit that I felt.

 
Ali on top of the pile of duvets on the truck, with me watching in the background

The day’s adventure began with loading of the duvets.   These are like quilts that are thick, like sleeping bags filled with synthetic wool.  150 duvets turned out to be a very big pile that was challenging to fit on the truck.  The crew piled the duvets layers deep, as high as they could reach.  Then Faiz climbed on top.  Ali climbed partway up and the rest of the crew continued to carry out piles of two or three at a time while Faiz and Ali spread them on top higher and higher.  Once they got that tall pile strapped down they started another the same way and then we were soon off to take the duvets to a house where they would be distributed to some of the poorest people of Kabul.  At least 28 children died last year in Kabul due to the winter cold, so families were very grateful for these gifts. 

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