No Cure For That
 
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I am proud to be an initial signer of this document (from War is a Crime). Please join me in vowing to impede Obama's war policies.
-Dennis Trainor, Jr

REGISTER and then ADD YOUR NAME


We the undersigned share with nearly two-thirds of our fellow Americans the conviction that our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq should be ended and that overall military spending should be dramatically reduced.  This has been our position for years and will continue to be, and we take it seriously.  We vow not to support President Barack Obama for renomination for another term in office, and to actively seek to impede his war policies unless and until he reverses them. 

Since he became president, Obama has had three opportunities to work with Congress to reduce military spending, but instead has championed increases in that spending each time, despite the fact that this spending represents a clear threat to the economic future of our country.  He has continued as well to try to hide the true costs of the wars by funding them with off-the-books supplemental spending bills, despite the fact that he campaigned against this very practice.

The President has escalated a war on Afghanistan in which rising civilian deaths and atrocities have become routine.  

He has given the CIA even greater freedom of action to launch lethal drone strikes against civilian houses in Pakistan on mere assumption of some connection with Taliban or other organizations, despite the warning from the U.S. Ambassador in late 2009 -- revealed in a Wikileaks cable -- that such attacks could "destabilize" the Pakistani government, despite many reports that civilians, including children, are disproportionately victims, and despite the contention of the United Nations and many U.S. allies that this practice is illegal.

Obama has approved an increase in covert operations by CIA-controlled Afghan troops into Pakistan, and his administration has remained silent while the U.S. command in Afghanistan leaked to the New York Times plans for new Special Operations Forces raids into Pakistan aimed at Afghan Taliban targets.

The President has expanded the use of Special Operations Forces (SOF), operating in virtually total secrecy and without any accountability to Congress, in one country after another.  SOF troops are presently in some 75 nations -- 15 more than when Obama took office.
 

President Obama has, on a later schedule than he campaigned on, finally reduced U.S. troop presence in Iraq.  But he has not fully withdrawn U.S. combat forces from Iraq or ended U.S. combat there, his claims to have done so notwithstanding.  His vice president has suggested, without correction by the President, the possibility of a U.S. military presence in the country even after the deadline for withdrawal under the U.S.-Iraq withdrawal agreement, if only through the use of military contractors.

The Obama administration has announced plans to form an army of mercenary troops from private military contractors in Iraq which is to have its own air force and its own fleet of mine-resistant military vehicles.  The plan includes continued contracts with the company formerly called Blackwater, despite the knowledge that it was guilty of atrocities against civilians in that country, and despite the openly declared opposition of the Iraqi government to such a continued role.

Obama has overseen increased weapons sales to foreign nations, and assisting in those sales has been a major function of his State Department.  He has approved increased funding for work on nuclear weapons, even while supporting an arms control treaty.  He has established a policy of potential nuclear first strike against Iran or North Korea.

President Obama has argued for the justness of war-making in widely watched speeches from the Oval Office and in Oslo, Norway, where he was accepting a Nobel Peace Prize.  He has, in his Oval Office speech last August, defended false statements that took our nation into the current wars and false statements that have prolonged them.

The President has supported sanctions against Iran and Syria that punish the people, especially children, and not the leadership, of those countries.  He has sent ships and missiles to Iran's border.  He has risked hostilities with North Korea through the ongoing construction of new military bases in South Korea and provocative war games exercises.  His administration has helped a military coup succeed in Honduras.

President Obama has sought to allow more Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories.  He has protected Israel's killing of activists on a humanitarian aid ship, not even protesting at the murder of an unarmed American youth.  He issued a presidential memorandum on October 25, 2010, giving U.S. approval for the use of child soldiers by Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, and Yemen.  He has backed Indonesian armed forces that assassinated civilian activists in late 2009.  He has expanded the U.S. military presence in Colombia, Costa Rica, Haiti, Guam, Italy, and Diego Garcia, as well as overseeing an enormous military base construction project in Afghanistan.

President Obama has not closed the prison at Guantanamo Bay and continues to maintain a network of detention facilities in Afghanistan through which prisoners, according to the most recent informationavailable, are still being subjected to harsh treatment.  He has claimed the right to imprison people, including American citizens, indefinitely without charge or trial, thus further cementing in place the elimination of the rights of prisoners of war and the elimination of the right of habeas corpus for anyone, as well as the rights found in the Fourth through Eighth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.  The President has claimed the power of rendition.  His CIA Director Leon Panetta and his senior advisor David Axelrod have asserted, without correction by the President, that the President maintains the powerto torture.  In the recent case of Gulet Mohamed, the Obama administration, for a time, claimed the power to forbid an American to reenter the country, absent any conviction or even any charge of a crime, and apparently collaborated with Kuwait to torture that American.  The President has also openly claimed the power to order the assassination of Americans abroad.  In Iraq, the U.S. military has continued towork with and protect from accountability an Iraqi military that is known to regularly use torture.

The President has expanded the use of warrantless spying.  Under his leadership, the FBI has infiltrated peace groups and raided the homes of peace activists.  It has set up and entrapped in terrorism charges people whose training and motivation came largely or even entirely from the FBI.  He has supported the re-authorization of the PATRIOT Act, which strips away Americans' civil liberties.

President Obama, in direct violation of the Nuremberg Charter, a U.S. treaty commitment, has publicly instructed his Attorney General not to prosecute individuals responsible for crimes, including torture.  His administration has worked hard to provide retroactive immunity to corporations engaged in warrantless spying and individuals engaged in sanctioning torture.  He has kept secret a vast trove of documents, photos, and videos pertaining to prisoner abuse.  He has advanced unprecedented claims of secrecy powers in defending the crimes of his predecessor. President Obama's White House has put great pressure on European states not to investigate or prosecute U.S. war crimes.

This president has restricted the release of the names of White House visitors and has pursued the prosecution and punishment of government whistleblowers more aggressively than any previous president.  His administration is responsible for the cruel and unusual lengthy confinement in a 6' by 12' cell, prior to any trial, of alleged whistleblower Bradley Manning.  His vice president, Joe Biden, has publicly labeled an Australian journalist, Julian Assange, a "terrorist."  President Obama has used a private propaganda firm that had been exposed planting lies in Iraqi media, to screen potential embedded reporters for coverage of the U.S. military. He has used the military to restrict reporting by American journalists on an oil spill in American waters.

Perhaps most perilously, President Obama has claimed the right to engage in many of these activities without the authorization of Congress.  He has even claimed the power first developed by his predecessor to rewrite new laws through the extra-Constitutional use of presidential signing statements.  Expanded powers that are not opposed now will be far more difficult to oppose later with another president able to claim past precedent.

The President's own deficit commission recommended cuts of $100 billion to the military budget.  The United States spends about $1 trillion each year on the military, through a variety of departments, and has spent over $1 trillion already on the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan.  Over half of every U.S. dollar of income tax is going to war making.  The Department of Defense budget alone is larger than the military expenditures of the next largest 16 militaries in the world combined.  That budget could be cut by 85% and still be the largest in the world.  In addition to the lessening of hostility toward our country that would result from a significant decrease in U.S. military presence around the world, by shifting our financial resources we could create jobs, green energy, top quality free education, public transportation and infrastructure.  We could also end all talk of reducing our Social Security or health coverage.  We intend to support public servants who put our money where it serves the public.

We are not concerned with whether President Obama is acting enthusiastically or reluctantly in pursuing a militaristic policy abroad and more repression of dissent at home.  It matters little whether he is submitting to powerful forces or freely following his preferred course.  We do not elect his soldiers or spies, his advisors, his campaign funders, or the owners of our major media outlets.  We elect the president.  We will not support his nomination for another term, and we believe that a large proportion of Americans who voted for him in 2008 will not do so again unless he reverses the most egregious policies to which we have referred -- especially by taking decisive steps to end the war on Afghanistan and to make deep cuts in the military and war budgets.

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Some of those who have signed: 

Nic Abramson, U.S. Boat to Gaza
Meredith Aby, MN Anti-War Committee
Elliott Adams, president, Veterans For Peace
Will Allen, author, The War on Bugs
Maria Allwine, Pledge of Resistance Baltimore
Vicki Andrews, Peace Circle - Grand Rapids MN
Jean Athey, coordinator of Peace Action Montgomery (MD)* and national board member, Peace Action*
Nellie Hester Bailey, Harlem Tenants Council & Black Agenda Report
Anna Baltzer, activist
Mark Bebawi, producer/host, The Monitor, KPFT
Medea Benjamin,  cofounder, Code Pink*
Frida Berrigan, War Resisters League*
Toby Blome, activist, Bay Area Code Pink
William Blum, author of books on U.S. foreign policy
Leah Bolger, CDR, USN (Ret), Vice-President, Veterans For Peace
Linda Boyd, activist
Lenni Brenner, author, Zionism in the Age of the Dictators
Elaine Brower, military mom, World Can't Wait
Mike Byerly, Alachua County Commissioner, Gainesville, Fla.
Scott Camil, President, Gainesville Florida Chapter, Veterans For Peace
Patty Casazza, 9/11 widow, former 9/11 Commission Family Steering Committee Member
Oskar Castro, board member, War Resisters League
Zach Choate, operation recovery field organizer, Iraq Veterans Against the War
David Cobb, Move To Amend coalition*
Jeff Cohen, author/media critic
William John Cox, Voters Evolt!
Catarina Correia, video editor, coordinating committee member, National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance
Bud Courtney, New York Catholic Worker
David Culver, publisher, Evergreene Digest
Ronnie Cummins, national director, Organic Consumers Association
Matthew W. Daloisio, Witness Against Torture*
Nicolas J S Davies, author, Blood On Our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq
Elena Day, People's Alliance for Clean Energy
Sibel Edmonds, founder & director, National Security Whistleblowers Coalition
Cherie Eichholz, national board member, Veterans for Peace
Roy Eidelson, past president, Psychologists for Social Responsibility
Pat Elder, Coordinating Committee, National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth*
Daniel Ellsberg, former State and Defense Dept. official, whistleblower of Pentagon Papers
Samuel S. Epstein, professor
Desiree Fairooz, Northern Virginians for Peace and Justice
Mike Ferner, national board member, Veterans for Peace
Joy First, National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance
Robert Fitrakis, professor, editor
Lisa Fithian, convenor, United for Peace and Justice
Margaret Flowers, M.D., Physicians for a National Health Program*
Glen Ford, executive editor, Black Agenda Report*
George Friday, Independent Progressive Politics Network
Sarah Fuhro, board member, Military Families Speak Out*
James Clay Fuller, retired newspaper editor
Monica Gabrielle, 9/11 widow, former 9/11 Commission Family Steering Committee Member
Bruce K. Gagnon, coordinator, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space*
Lila Garrett, radio host
Nate Goldshlag, national board member and treasurer, Veterans For Peace
Michelle Gross, president, Communities United Against Police Brutality
Thomas John Gumbleton, retired Roman Catholic Bishop
Connie Hammond, Progressive Peace Coalition, Columbus, Ohio
Kathy Hass, activist, Central Florida Code Pink
Bill Habedank, Veterans for Peace
Jim Haber, coordinator, Nevada Desert Experience
Susan Harman, Progressive Democrats of America*, Code Pink*
David Harris, Veterans for Peace
David Harris, draft resister, author
Leslie Harris, activist, Code Pink Greater Dallas*
Bob Heberle, former national board member, Veterans for Peace
Chris Hedges, author, Death of the Liberal Class
Dud Hendrick, Maine chapter president, Veterans for Peace
Steve Hendricks, author, A Kidnapping in Milan: The CIA on Trial
Martha Hennessy, Catholic Worker
John Heuer, chair and national board member, NC Peace Action
Herbert J. Hoffman, vice president, Maine Veterans for Peace
Connie Hogarth, Cofounder WESPAC (Westchester Peoples Action Coalition)*
Lydia Howell, writer and host, "Catalyst", KFAI Radio
Sam Husseini, activist
Hugh Iglarsh, writer/editor
Rick Jahnkow, Committee Opposed to Militarism and the Draft*
Dahr Jamail, journalist/author
Mark C. Johnson, executive director, Fellowship of Reconciliation
Tarak Kauff, Veterans For Peace
Kathy Kelly, Voices for Creative Nonviolence*
Nada Khader, WESPAC Foundation
Joey King, national board member, Veterans for Peace
Howie Klein, publisher, DownWithTyranny.com
Michael Knox, professor and clinical psychologist
Georg Koszulinski, filmmaker
Joel Kovel, author, The Enemy of Nature, Overcoming Zionism
Andrew Kolin, author, State Power and Democracy: Before and During the Presidency of George W Bush
Steve Lane, activist
Jesse Lemisch, Historian, Emeritus Prof, John Jay Coll of Criminal Justice, CUNY
Rabbi Michael Lerner, Tikkun/Network of Spiritual Progressives
Linda LeTendre, LMSW Christian Peace Witness
Dave Lindorff, editor, Thiscantbehappening.net
Erik Lobo, Veteran For Peace
Ralph Lopez, JobsForAfghans.org  
David MacMichael, Ph.D., former CIA analyst
Sarah Martin, subpoenaed antiwar and international solidarity activist
Gene Marx, national board member, Veterans for Peace
Ethan McCord, IVAW, VFP, former army specialist from "collateral murder" video
Ray McGovern, former CIA analyst
Cynthia McKinney, former U.S. Congresswoman and 2008 Green Party Nominee for U.S. President
David McReynolds, Socialist Party USA*
Bob Meola, War Resisters League National Committee* and Courage to Resist Organizing Collective*
Michael T. McPhearson, co-convenor United For Peace and Justice, former executive director of Veterans For Peace
Camilo E. Mejia, activist, resister
Linda Milazzo,  activist, writer
Dede Miller, activist
Mark Crispin Miller, author, professor
Nick Mottern, Consumers for Peace
Gael Murphy, co-chair, Legislative Working Group, United for Peace and Justice*, co-founder, Code Pink*
Robert Naiman, Just Foreign Policy*
Bruce Nestor, past president, National Lawyers Guild
Brad Newsham, activist
Georgianne Nienaber, activist and author
Stirling Newberry, former military contractor
Max Obuszewski, Baltimore Nonviolence Center
Jeanne Olson, veteran, activist
Paul Ortiz, Veterans for Peace, author
Cynthia Papermaster, director, National Accountability Action Network*
Judith Mahoney Pasternak, War Resisters League*
Jeff Paterson, Courage to Resist
Lewis Pitts, Legal Aid of NC
Gareth Porter, author and journalist
Bill Quigley, Center for Constitutional Rights and professor of law, Loyola University New Orleans*
Jesselyn Radack, former Department of Justice legal adviser
Garett Reppenhagen, chair of the board of directors, Iraq Veterans Against the War
Ward Reilly, advisory committee member, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Veterans For Peace, VVAW
Jill Richardson, author
Katie Robbins, national organizer, Healthcare-NOW!
David Rovics, singer/song writer
Coleen Rowley, retired FBI agent, one of TIME's 2002 Persons of the Year
Richard E. Rubenstein, author, Reasons to Kill: Why Americans Choose War
Stephanie Rugoff, project coordinator, War Criminals Watch
A.F. Saidy, M.D., Coalition for Peace in M.E. in L.A.
Nicole Sandler, radio host
Lisa Savage, Code Pink Maine*
Linda Schade, WikiLeaksisDemocracy.org
Bill Scheurer, PeaceMajority Report
Sue Serpa, coordinator, JobsForAfghans.org
Jamilla El-Shafei, Peace Action Maine, Code Pink
Joanne Sheehan, coordinator, War Resisters League New England
Robert Shetterly, artist, Americans Who Tell the Truth
Gar Smith, Environmentalists Against War
Michael Steven Smith, Law and Disorder Radio; board member, Center for Constitutional Rights*
Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap, Democracy Unlimited
Jeffrey St Clair, CounterPunch
John Stauber, author, Weapons of Mass Deception
Josh Stieber, conscientious objector
John Stockwell, former intelligence officer, author
David Swanson, WarIsACrime.org
Rev. James L. Swarts, professor, Veterans For Peace, Progressives In Action Peace Committee Chair
Dennis Trainor, Jr., NoCureForThat.org
Diane Turco, Cape Codders for Peace and Justice
Sue Udry, Defending Dissent Foundation*
Elizabeth De La Vega, former assistant U.S. attorney, author
Robert C. Walter, Peace Action Maine, associate member of Veterans for Peace
Harvey Wasserman, author
Janet Weil, military family member
Alison Weir, president, Council for the National Interest
Beverley Whipple, Fla. chapter leader, Military Families Speak Out
Paki Wieland, activist
S. Brian Willson, Viet Nam Veteran, activist
Diane Wilson, shrimper, activist, author, Veterans for Peace
Marcy Winograd, former Democratic congressional candidate
Ann Wright, US Army Reserve Colonel and former US diplomat
Dan Yaseen, Peace Fresno
Charles M. Young, contributing editor, Thiscantbehappening.net
Kevin Zeese, Voters For Peace
Maggie Zhou, Climate SOS

*for identification purposes only

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Even as President Obama maintains close to 50,000 troops in Iraq and continues to escalate and expand the war in Afghanistan, the antiwar movement in America continues to shrink.

So, what happened?

Reason.tv visited two antiwar protests—one left-leaning, one libertarian—in an attempt to answer that question. Author and historian Thaddeus Russell and Reason Senior Editor Brian Doherty also weigh in. 

War, it seems, is a bipartisan venture, which is reflected by the fact that Democrats have a favorable view of Obama's foreign policy, despite its remarkable similarity to George W. Bush's foreign policy. And though there have been rumblings of antiwar sentiment from some on the Right, Republicans remain strongly in favor of an interventionist foreign policy.

Although public sentiment is turning against the war in Afghanistan, the always-shifting withdrawal deadlines and the unwillingness to touch defense spending mean that this bipartisan war is likely to continue far into the future.

Approximately 7 minutes. Written and Produced by Zach Weissmueller. Senior Producer: Ted Balaker. 

Visit Reason.tv for downloadable versions, and subscribe to Reason.tv's YouTube Channel to receive automatic notification when new material goes live.

via ReasonTV
 
 
 
 
By David Swanson / War is a Crime

Fifty years ago this Monday, President Dwight Eisenhower gave a farewell address in which he famously warned of the dangers of influence on our government by the "military industrial complex." Our current Secretary of War, Robert Gates, has proposed to retire this year and has recommended that his successors stop increasing the military budget. But Eisenhower didn't just bring this up on his way out the door. It was seven years earlier that he had remarked:

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed 8,000 people."

But pulling these quotes out of context, as we like to do, misses the reprehensible context of the speeches in which they originated. It would be a similar act of distortion to quote President Barack Obama's Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech and leave out everything but that peaceful opening line,

"Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, Distinguished Members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, citizens of America, and citizens of the world:"

Obama went on to argue the necessity of war. And that is what Eisenhower did in his farewell address. He argued against unlimited militarization while arguing for something just short of it. He proposed disarmament while suggesting that we'd really better not do it. These lines are less well remembered:

"We face a hostile ideology, global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose, and insidious in method. Unhappily, the danger it poses promises to be of indefinite duration."

How does one dismantle the military industrial complex in the face of a ruthless, atheistic ideology? Of course, Eisenhower did not do so. He refrained from some of the excesses, in both war funding and war lying, of his successors. He dug our country into a pointless war on Vietnam, but not to the extent of his successors. And when his immediate successor resisted the military machine more than Eisenhower had, a single bullet struck him multiple times in Dallas.

If we set aside for a moment the pressing question for all presidents of whether Eisenhower was a devil or a saint, we can appreciate the value of having a president say anything worthwhile. But a half century later, we should be able to bring ourselves to also recognize what ideally should have been said -- and was being said by others.

In the same speech in which Eisenhower spoke of the theft from those who hunger, he claimed eternal innocence for the United States in foreign affairs. The United States had never been an aggressor; that was the Soviet Union's role. The United States relied on "trust and mutual aid" while the USSR relied on "force: huge armies, subversion, rule of neighbor nations." Why did we have to steal from the hungry in order to build weapons? Eisenhower had the answer:

"The amassing of Soviet power alerted free nations to a new danger of aggression. It compelled them in self-defense to spend unprecedented money and energy for armaments."

Eisenhower blamed the Soviet Union for "aggression in Korea and southeast Asia." We know that to have constituted a pair of super-destructive lies. The point is not that Eisenhower wasn't relatively responsible, when compared with his predecessors and successors. But he maintained the same set of lies that allowed for the military industrial complex to grow into something today that probably didn't penetrate his worst nightmares.

Fifty years later it has come to look likely that militarized global empire cannot be maintained at a limited level that permits democracy at home. This is an all or nothing endeavor that requires a radical solution. We cannot both live and breathe fear of the evil now-Muslim terrorist ideology and halt nuclear proliferation. We cannot pretend our wars have been defensive and humanitarian while at the same time shutting down bases around the globe. We cannot imagine foreigners to be subhuman beasts and simultaneously pursue disarmament. In 1959, A.J. Muste said:

"I am not impressed . . . with the struggle that goes on periodically between the White House and Congressional committees over whether a balanced budget or national security is of first importance. These are not struggles between pacifists and militarists, people who want or do not want 'genuine negotiation.' And however these controversies come out, the military budget will be of astronomical proportions for 'peacetime'."

Muste cited C. Wright Mills and George F. Kennan in arguing for unilateral disarmament and adoption of a very different approach to the world. A half century later, that idea has less respect than ever, but the dominant idea is taking us off a cliff. The war machine is stronger than ever, the war propaganda slicker, the dangers heightened. Continuing down this course is not survivable in terms of proliferation or blowback, environmental destruction or loss of democratic representation, or in simple economic terms. This week a congress member proposed a bill to allow his colleagues to come armed to work, on the grounds that they could not safely walk home on Capitol Hill.

Tinkering with a self-destructive system will not save us. We need what Martin Luther King, Jr., whose holiday is also celebrated on Monday, called a revaluation of values. We need to outgrow the idea that there can be a good or just war any more than there can be a good slavery or a just rape. We need to confront the root of the militaristic ideology that even Eisenhower pushed on us: the lies about World War II. Yes, Franklin Roosevelt campaigned for office promising to stay out of a war he was already working to maneuver the United States into, and for all the wrong reasons, and he lied about German attacks and plans for conquest, and he lied about Pearl Harbor.

For a truly painful experience, read what FDR and others knew. Then read the endless saga of investigations and coverups.

That FDR pursued very good policies domestically is not altered by what he did abroad. If we are looking for people to model our lives after, they should not be elected officials.

They should be people like Martin Luther King, Jr.

Here is someone doing that.

 
 
via The Onion
In The Know panelists discuss Obama's failure to repair Americans' Bush-era reputation overseas as drunken belligerent assholes vomiting on ancient treasures.
 
 
 by Tom Engelhardt
via  TomDispatch.com

Last week, Pentagon budget “cuts” were in the headlines, often almost luridly so -- “Pentagon Faces the Knife,” “Pentagon to Cut Spending by $78 Billion, Reduce Troop Strength,” “U.S. Aims to Cut Defense Budget and Slash Troops.”  Responding to the mood of the moment in Washington (“the fiscal pressures the country is facing”), Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Mike Mullen made those headlines by calling a news conference to explain prospective “cuts” they were proposing.  Summing the situation up, Mullen seconded Gates this way: “The secretary's right, we can't hold ourselves exempt from the belt-tightening.”

Gates then appeared on the PBS NewsHour to explain the nature of Pentagon “belt-tightening,” while reminding anchor Jim Lehrer that last year the Pentagon announced plans to cap or cut “programs that, had they been built to conclusion, would have cost the taxpayers about $330 billion.”  The newest $78 billion in cuts over five years was to be considered but an add-on to already supposedly staggering savings, which he described as “changes in the expected dollars that we thought we were going to have when we prepared last year's budget.” According to the Secretary of Defense, this massive set of cuts would, in fact, guarantee “modest growth” in the already monstrous Pentagon budget for at least the next three years.

Keeping Mullen’s “belt-tightening” image in mind, what you have here, imagistically speaking, is an especially obese man cutting down on his own future expectations for how much he’s planning to overeat, even as he continues to increase what he’s actually eating.  In other words, this is actually a belt-loosening operation.  (And by the way, the Secretary of Defense knows perfectly well that some of his “cuts,” announced with such flare, will never make it through a Congress where powerful Republicans, among others, prefer to exempt the national security budget from serious cuts, or any cuts at all.)

Consider this indicative of the new thinking we can expect from Washington in a crisis.  As new, in fact, as the announcement less than a week into 2011 -- the year President Obama once targeted for a major drawdown of U.S. forces in Afghanistan -- that 1,400 more Marines were being sent into that country.  It was a small but striking reminder that, as in 2009 and 2010, when it comes to the widening war in the region, the path of “more” (and more of the same) would invariably trump the idea of “less.”  This is the war-zone version of “belt-tightening.”

Similarly, when the President decided to “shake up” his administration for a new era of split-screen government in Washington, he called on a top JPMorgan Chase exec (also deeply enmeshed in the military-industrial complex and Big Pharma) and a former Goldman Sachs advisor, both Clintonistas of the 1990s, to do the shaking.  This passes for “new blood” in our nation's capital.  Think of it this way: if you fill the room with the same old same old, you’ll always end up with some version of the same old same old.

If, on the other hand, you want to see some new thinking of a sort you won’t find in Washington, check out “Why Peace Is the Business of Men (But Shouldn’t Be)” from Ann Jones, a hands-on aid worker in Afghanistan and elsewhere and remarkable writer.  Her eloquent new book, War Is Not Over When It’s Over: Women Speak Out from the Ruins of War, will undoubtedly go largely unreviewed, because when wars “end” even as the destruction of women (and children) continues, it’s no longer really news. 

Worse yet, she favors the “less” path in Afghanistan, where any path heading vaguely in the direction of “peace” (a word now synonymous with “utopian dolt” or “bleeding heart idiot”) will automatically be waved aside as hopeless.  Since putting any money behind thinking about or testing out new pathways towards peace in our world is inconceivable, we’ll never know what might work.  You can put $130 million taxpayer dollars into a new aircraft-fueling system at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan or billions of taxpayer dollars into the Pakistani military (defending a country in which the rich go notoriously untaxed), but not one cent for peace.   As for women, well, too bad.

© 2011 TomDispatch.com Tom Engelhardt, co-founder of the American Empire Project, runs the Nation Institute's TomDispatch.com. He is the author of The End of Victory Culture: a History of the Cold War and Beyond, as well as of a novel, The Last Days of Publishing. His most recent book is The American Way of War: How Bush's Wars Became Obama's (Haymarket Books).

 
 
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 By Aaron C. Davis / Washington Post

BAGHDAD - Despite Iraqi leaders' insistence that the United States meet its end-of-2011 deadline for withdrawing all troops, the contours of a large and lasting American presence here are starting to take shape.

Although a troop extension could still be negotiated, the politics of Iraq's new government make that increasingly unlikely, and the Obama administration has shown little interest in pushing the point.

Instead, planning is underway to turn over to the State Department some of the most prominent symbols of the U.S. role in the war - including several major bases and a significant portion of the Green Zone.

[Click here to continue reading article]



 
 
via Media Matters

Brock: Beck "Has Been Responsible For Three Thwarted Assassination Attempts" David Brock: "Glenn Beck Himself Has Been Responsible For Three Thwarted Assassination Attempts This Year." On January 12, Brock appeared on Hardball to discuss whether the violent rhetoric on cable news shows may have led to the shooting in Tucson, Arizona, that injured Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ). During the exchange with host Chris Matthews, Brock alleged that "Glenn Beck himself has been responsible for three thwarted assassination attempts this year":

MATTHEWS: I think we used to say, maybe back in the Churchillian age, your voice was your power, your ability to speak up. That's certainly Norman Rockwell's notion, the man, you know -- the standing up at a meeting, at a public meeting and saying, "Here's what I believe." But, now, it's standing up with your arms, standing up with your ammo, your gun sites, your bull's eye.

Why do you have -- this is a problem I have with the tea party. Why so many guns at these events? Why constantly referring to guns? What is it? Is it a throwback to the revolutionary age? They think they're in an armed revolution?

BROCK: Right. What does the tea party moniker stand for? Armed rebellion, right? This has been a theme of the Republican candidates and of Sarah Palin all year.

MATTHEWS: Excuse me. History lesson: The Boston tea party was a nonviolent economic statement against the Stamp Act, I believe. They threw the tea in the water. No guns.

BROCK: That's right.

MATTHEWS: They dressed up like Indians. It was a demonstration. It was street theater, OK? No guns.

BROCK: But this is not street theater, as you know. I mean, Glenn Beck himself has been responsible for three thwarted assassination attempts this year, and Sarah Palin hasn't condemned that.

MATTHEWS: How is he responsible for them?

BROCK: Well, you want to know what they are?

MATTHEWS: You said it.

BROCK: Yeah, sure. So, he burned Nancy Pelosi in effigy on his set. He tried to poison her with a chalice, OK? Some weeks later, somebody tried to firebomb Nancy Pelosi's house. That guy's mother went on television and said he gets all of his ideas from Fox News. Do you know about Senator Patty Murray and the death threat that she got?

MATTHEWS: No, go ahead.

BROCK: OK. It's recorded -- the guy says after the health care vote. He says you have a target on your back and I can accomplish what I want to accomplish with one bullet. Now he's tried, convicted, and in the sentencing phase, his cousin writes in for leniency, and she describes in a very chilling memo -- it's on our website -- that he was slowly drawn into Glenn Beck's world. And she portrays the guy, the attempted assassin, Charlie Wilson, as a victim of Beck.

And number three, which you probably do know about, this liberal foundation in San Francisco was targeted by a gunman, Byron Williams, in June. The shooter gave jailhouse interviews, and we published them, and he says Glenn Beck is this schoolteacher on television and points to specific episodes of the Glenn Beck show that inspired him do it. [MSNBC, Hardball with Chris Matthews, 1/12/11]

 
 
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 Glenn Beck, with his usual array of charts and pictures and implements of distraction, has made the argument that Progressives caused the economic collapse of Detroit, not through ineptitude, or negligence, but by design.

According to Beck, it is all part of a larger design to usher in a new age of socialism.

You heard me right.

Detroit was not crushed by NAFTA and a greedy, regulation free culture that allowed for the unprecedented re-distribution of Wealth upwards while blue collar jobs went overseas, no; Detroit was not destroyed by Hypercapitalist, Detroit was crushed by the Godless commies.

What then, is the sinister plan of the all powerful communist/ socialist shadow government that is really pulling the strings in Washington?

Glenn Beck has your answer:

First, he says, it started in Watts, with the riots in the 1960s. Yes, I know Watts is in Los Angeles and not Detroit, but stay with Glenn- he is going to connect all of the dots for you.

First, he tells us that the Watts riots was not the product of systematic Police Brutality and other societal injustices suffered by the black community, but the Watts riots were a tool to seek “guaranteed income, that’s communism but Nixon was in power so they realized they had to put people in power to implement a solution.” (emphasis mine)

At his professorial blackboard, Beck goes on to tell us that they have a plan that includes “creating or exploiting problems that would overwhelm and collapse the financial system by getting more and more people onto welfare until it just can not hold anymore”

Gee Glenn, so a sinister force running the country is actually seeking a classless society, where we redistribute the wealth according to need, and – according to you, I’m just trying to understand this- this secret communist agenda is going to accomplish this by waging a class war? By making consolidating power in the hands a few wealthy elite?

What will that accomplish?

To which Beck responds (and I paraphrase here)- people will become so poor that they will riot and the result of those riots and the people will cry out for the government to do something to end all of the strife at which time- WHAMMO- the government will (remember: and this was the plan all along) impose Communism on all of us. Then Beck pauses, and with all of the conviction of a decent actor in a middle school production of Rome and Juliet, starts to get a little emotional as he tells us “gosh, how do people not see this?”

You're right, Glenn. Just like the magical era of a post Watts Los Angeles, Communism is coming to America.

I remember it now; the 1970s in LA was a golden age in Communism, blotted out of the history books by good religious folk like you lest the evil ways of the Godless commies took root. Perhaps God has indeed blessed America Glenn, for the power of California to spread fads worldwide is well documented; how the golden age of Communism that came to be as a result of the Watts Riots never spread far and wide is one of the great mysteries of socio-political history.