Archive | Anti-war

Maybe someone should tell Kerry the Middle East is ignoring him

john kerry

All the politicians making crazy sounds.

Gaza crisis: Kerry rushes to Cairo, but does he have a strategy?

Kerry appeared to be chomping at the bit before he dashed to Cairo, hoping to end the bloodshed in the Gaza Strip. The cost of failure is high, some experts say.

What’s the point in rushing to the Middle East when you have no plan, unless of course you are a grandstanding sociopath. And why is the cost of failure high when it’s not our battle? Tell me again why the US simply must get involved in every conflict?

And all the dead bodies piled up in mounds.

Does it really matter if it’s a Palestinian or Israeli mother sobbing hysterically over her dead son’s body? Does Hamas even care about the innocent Palestinian lives it is putting in danger by continuing to lob rockets in a battle it can’t win? Israel’s psychotic overreaction guarantees more suicide bombers as does Israelis sitting outside watching the fun as Palestinian children get killed. Have they all just gone fucking insane? And then there’s Ukraine…

Of such shrieking lunacy, nihilism is born.

“Because when the smack begins to flow
I really don’t care anymore
About all the Jim-Jims in this town
All the politicians makin’ crazy sounds
And everybody puttin’ everybody else down
And all the dead bodies piled up in mounds”
– Heroin, The Velvet Underground

Great lyrics, even if drugs are no answer. But you knew that. Lordy, we are living in deranged times.

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Eddie Vedder: Imagine that – I’m still anti-war

Eddie Vedder speaks at anti-war rally. Hollywood. March 2003

Me too, Eddie, me too. And thank you for being at the anti-war protest in LA in 2003 when few other celebs would publicly take such a stance. Susan Sarandon was there too as were her then-husband Tim Robbins, and Pedro Almodovar.  Sarandon in particular got harpooned by the MSM for being one of them damn uppity anti-war women. (I helped organize the protest and took both photos.)

Yes, some wars do need to be fought. However the US seems to revel in getting embroiled in conflicts which invariably end badly for us and everyone else. Only the war pigs profit from them. The rest of us, not so much. Pakistan, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, and Iraq are destabilized, in large part thanks to us. Maybe the US, at the very least, should pick its fights smarter, better, and choose way less of them. Because what we are doing now is beyond counterproductive, kiyt’s bordering on being self-destructive.

July 16 2014

Most of us have heard John Lennon sing

“You may say I’m a dreamer,… but I’m not the only one.”

And some of us, after another morning dose of news coverage full of death and destruction, feel the need to reach out to others to see if we are not alone in our outrage. With about a dozen assorted ongoing conflicts in the news everyday, and with the stories becoming more horrific, the level of sadness becomes unbearable. And what becomes of our planet when that sadness becomes apathy? Because we feel helpless. And we turn our heads and turn the page.

Currently, I’m full of hope. That hope springs from the multitudes of people that our band has been fortunate enough to play for night after night here in Europe. To see flags of so many different nations, and to have these huge crowds gathered peacefully and joyfully is the exact inspiration behind the words I felt the need to emphatically relay. When attempting to make a plea for more peace in the world at a rock concert, we are reflecting the feelings of all those we have come in contact with so we may all have a better understanding of each other.

That’s not something I’m going to stop anytime soon. Call me naïve. I’d rather be naïve, heartfelt and hopeful than resigned to say nothing for fear of misinterpretation and retribution.

The majority of humans on this planet are more consumed by the pursuit of love, health, family, food and shelter than any kind of war. War hurts. It hurts no matter which sides the bombs are falling on.

With all the global achievements in modern technology, enhanced communication and information devices, cracking the human genome, land rovers on Mars etc., do we really have to resign ourselves to the devastating reality that conflict will be resolved with bombs, murder and acts of barbarism?

We are such a remarkable species. Capable of creating beauty. Capable of awe-inspiring advancements. We must be capable of resolving conflicts without bloodshed.

I don’t know how to reconcile the peaceful rainbow of flags we see each night at our concerts with the daily news of a dozen global conflicts and their horrific consequences. I don’t know how to process the feeling of guilt and complicity when I hear about the deaths of a civilian family from a U.S. drone strike. But I know that we can’t let the sadness turn into apathy. And I do know we are better off when we reach out to each other.

“I hope someday you’ll join us,…”

Won’t you listen to what the man said.

Eddie Vedder

Susan Sarandon. Anti-war rally. Hollywood. March 2003

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Russell Brand: Is Fox News more dangerous than Isis?

Joker_burns

Russell Brand deconstructs Fox News extremism, which apparently exists primarily to throw gasoline on fires in hopes of goosing ratings without much caring what the consequences of their actions are. Sure, lots of other media organizations do the same, including so called liberal media. MSNBC can be just as mindlessly and stupidly partisan but generally aren’t endlessly cheerleading for the US to go invade another country. By contrast, Fox News seems to thrive on war, blowback be damned. Like the Joker in recent Batman movies, Fox seemingly likes to see things burn.

Most everything Fox News accuses Obama doing in this video have of course been done by Republican presidents too, like arming insurgents who turn against us and being almost completely clueless about the consequences of reckless attempts to build empires.

Brand is funny, incisive, and biting. Watch the video

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No more whack-a-mole for US, which is out of clues in Iraq

whack-a-mole

The Iraq debacle signals the end of American Exceptionalism. Good. President Obama says no more whack-a-mole against terrorists or invading countries, except to we send in “advisors” to train apparently inept locals. Oh wait, the locals in Iraq want nothing to do with the US. Just about every other country has voiced the same opinion. US stay out of Iraq. You’ve already screwed things up badly enough. I’d say US has blown it big time.

Obama:

“And as I said yesterday, what we can’t do is think that we’re just going to play whack-a-mole and send US troops occupying various countries wherever these organizations pop up.

‘We’re going to have to have a more focused, more targeted strategy and we’re going to have to partner and train local law enforcement and military to do their jobs as well.’

I’m going out on a limb and say many countries will do just fine without our help. Plus, shouldn’t we ask them if they want our help before barging in (again). And, as we’ve done a rather piss-poor job ourselves, maybe it’s time to clean up our own backyard first?

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US wants Iraq to solve political crisis quickly. Really?

political

The US initiative to force Maliki from power in hopes a new leader with magically bring warring Iraq factions together is brain-dead and counter productive. Does anyone in DC ever actually think these things through before proposing them? A peaceful resolution now means all the players would have power within a new government, including  ISIS and Kurds. I’m guessing Washington would be horrified were that to actually happen. Further, there’s no way the warring factions could possibly co-exist now peacefully because underlying problems have not been resolved.

The Kurds want their own area. ISIS wants to control whatever it can grab. The Sunni vs Shia fratricide is not something that can be resolved in a few weeks. The US needs to let those in the Middle East solve their problems as all we’ve accomplished is to make things far worse than they were before our invasion based on lies.

Even if a new government forms, it will not be able to stop the fighting because it will have no real power. The Iraq Army deserted when ISIS advanced. And despite the bleatings of Obama and Kerry that darn it, you Iraqis just have to do something now, the schisms are too wide for peace to happen now.

“Those who call for him to step down, step aside, or otherwise quit are ignoring the clear message of the last election: most Shi’a want him to stay in place and crack down on a Sunni insurgency,” according to Daniel Serwer, a professor of conflict management at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies in Washington.

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Saudi Ambassador: No bombing of Iraq. This is their problem

Eddie Vedder. antiwar protest. Los Angeles. Spring 2003

Eddie Vedder. antiwar protest. Los Angeles. Spring 2003

The Saudi Ambassador to the UK strongly opposes foreign intervention and bombing of Iraq, saying it is Iraq’s mess and only they can fix it. Foreign intervention favoring one side over another will only inflame the situation. It will also increase the chances of terrorist attacks against the country doing the bombing. Let’s hope “Bombs Away” Obama has the sense to heed what the ambassador says.

Italics added.

We absolutely oppose all foreign intervention and interference. So the call by the Iraqi foreign minister for President Obama and the US government to launch airstrikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and Al Sham (Isis) rebels is beyond our comprehension.

An airstrike will not just eliminate extremists – whom we do not support – but will effectively sign the death warrant of many Iraqi citizens, innocent families trapped and terrified by this crisis. This request to President Obama is madness: it reveals a government that no longer sees clearly and no longer cares about the people it has been appointed to care for.

There must be no meddling in Iraq’s internal affairs: not by us or by the US, the UK or by any other government. This is Iraq’s problem and they must sort it out themselves. Any government that meddles in Iraq’s affairs runs the risk of escalating the situation, creating greater mistrust between the people of Iraq – both Sunni and Shia.

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‘No boots’ Obama sending troops ready to fight to Iraq

no-boot Apparently heavily armed Navy SEALs and Army Rangers will be magically non-combative once in Iraq, only doing defensive security, which if involving shooting, won’t be considered fighting. Such sleazy fabrications are what passes for accepted truth in DC. Fighting isn’t fighting if we say it isn’t. US involvement in Iraq will be minimal until it isn’t. Simply because the US completely screwed things up in Iraq before and may do the same thing again is no reason to assume the results will be the same.

The U.S. is urgently deploying several hundred armed troops in and around Iraq and considering sending an additional contingent of special forces soldiers as Baghdad struggles to repel a rampant insurgency, even as the White House insists anew that America will not be dragged into another war.

Wouldn’t a far better way to avoid another war be to not do anything in Iraq and let the people there fight it out.? Not getting involved there also reduces the chance of terrorist attacks here at home.

While Obama has vowed to keep U.S. forces out of combat in Iraq, he said in his notification to Congress that the personnel moving into the region are equipped for direct fighting.

You can’t keep combat troops out of Iraq by sending them in, This would seem to be obvious.

But sending Navy SEALs and Army Rangers into harm’s way could help ISIS draw the U.S. into a series of firefights to which Obama would likely have to respond with greater force.

The war pigs would very much like that. Greater force means greater profits for them.

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Gosh, another army trained by the US at great expense collapses

gomer

Armies trained by the US are curiously notoriously weak and inept. South Vietnam, Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Iraq are examples. A weak state is no threat to the US and guarantees more wars. Our war pigs financially prosper from such deliberate nation weakening. Their toadies in DC use war to strengthen their power bases. And of course everyone makes money when the US gallantly helps to rebuild a country after it’s been mostly destroyed. The country takes on huge debt, making banksters happy, to finance construction done by mega-companies, and money then flows to politician’s re-election funds. Is everyone happy? You bet.

At the risk of sounding conspiracist, I can’t help but suspect that perhaps this is deliberate. Making sure other countries have weak armies keeps them dependent on the US. What’s more, it means their armies can never pose a threat to the US. (The logic here is not unlike that of Trotskyist and Maoist sects, which keep their front groups weak, so they can never pose a threat to them.)

It could also be that despite our tedious strutting at how marvelously exceptional we are, that our military just isn’t that competent or that we blunder into countries with no actual plans, alienate the locals, then are baffled when things turn into another yet quagmire that no one could have possibly predicted.

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Another war in Iraq! Just what US needs!

russian-roulette

Kinetic support: a euphemism for the President’s pre-authorized war. By the time you read this, America’s next, undeclared war in Iraq may already be under way.

Imperial militarists started floating trial balloons for the next American aggression as of June 11 in the Wall Street Journal, quoting “a senior U.S. official who added that no decisions have been made.”

Those seemingly reassuring words from one or another anonymous official may have meant only that the decision had not yet been made whether to use drones, planes, or missiles to start bombing Iraq again.

Militarily, any such bombing is likely to be pointless.  Psychologically, it will allow the White House to claim that blowing things up proves that the President is “strong,” while Senators like Lindsey Graham and John McCain lead the chorus of “Masters of War” while calling for more. But expending lots of ordnance will at least have the usual economic benefit of allowing the Pentagon to order more WMDs to expend on more international debacles. We’ve seen this movie before.

Given the American popular response to last year’s plans to bomb Syria, there’s a pretty good chance that the militaristic trial balloons over Iraq will fall flat.

The Iraqi army has already fallen flat, why should the United States get re-involved in the disaster that Bush administration lies set in motion in 2002?

The American-trained Iraqi army and police had some 65,000 soldiers and police on the ground in Mosul. Rebels attacked on June 10 with a force of maybe 3,000. The Iraqi army, police, and perhaps 500,000 civilians all fled without serious resistance.

Can mindless bombing hold off mindless blame for “losing Iraq”?

Thanks to a supine and indolent Congress, and a long quiescent public, President Obama already has all the authority he may think he needs to take the United States into war in Iraq for the third time in three decades.

Remember the AUMF? That’s the Authorization to Use Military Force, passed by Congress in an abdication of its constitutional responsibility on September 14, 2001, giving away its authority to declare war. That self-neutering act was opposed by exactly one member of either house of Congress, California Rep. Barbara Lee, a Democrat.  The primary section of the AUMF bill provides:

That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

Almost 13 years later, Rep. Lee remains the only member of Congress to be on record in opposition to allowing the President to have a blank check to use violence against pretty much whomever he chooses, for whatever reason he chooses.  The recent resumption of drone attacks on civilian areas of Pakistan is one more effect of this law, even though people in the tribal areas of Pakistan have little if any connection to the attacks of 9/11.

The United States remains in a continuous state of war that Congress authorized in panic in 2001. Even though that panic has given way to chronic fear and political timidity, Rep. Lee’s perennial efforts to rescind the AUMF have had little support.

Is I.S.I.S. a direct organizational descendant of Al Qaeda?

 The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has, for the moment, established de facto control over a country-sized swath of Iraq and Syria, a goal it’s worked on for years, with some tacit support from the bordering Syrian and Turkish governments.  The ISIS-controlled area stretches some 400 miles, between Aleppo in western Syria and Kirkuk in northeast Iraq. The area runs some 200 miles north to south, from the Turkish border to Falluja and towns south of Baghdad.  The area contains the central portions of the river valleys of both the Tigris and Euphrates.

ISIS has advanced toward Baghdad, with unstated intent. It’s not yet clear whether it has the forces – or the desire – to attack Baghdad. But ISIS has more flexibility now that its attack on Mosul reportedly netted it some $425 million from local banks.

Kurdish forces have taken control of Kirkuk, in the wake of other fleeing Iraqis. Both ISIS and the Kurds have an apparent interest in establishing a modus vivendi that would allow both sides to focus on establishing their own stable states.

ISIS apparently intends to create a Sunni-dominated, Islamic state in the region it now holds. ISIS seems have a pedigree that includes Al Qaeda, at least tangentially, but enough to put it in American cross-hairs under the AUMF with far more legitimacy than some of the other people we’ve been killing.

Media war drums are banging away at the Washington Post (ISIS is “world’s richest terrorist group”) and CNN: “We should be worried. This, after all, is a group that was rejected by al Qaeda because of its ferocity. Its mysterious leaders are far beyond the extremist pale, and that they seem to be consolidating a territorial base must be put at the forefront of international counter-terrorism policy.”

Intervention-by-bombing in this situation won’t help as long as opposing forces keep running away. To make any difference with this land-locked semi-state, someone will have to provide hundreds of thousands of troops, surely more than the United States used to achieve failure the first time around.

But if ISIS is as Sunni-terrible as its harshest critics assert, there might be other, Shia-dominated states who should deal with the threat next door. Who? Well, probably whatever’s left of Iraq. And then? Iran? Saudi Arabia? [Oh, wait, Saudis bankrolled ISIS. So did Kuwait.] Egypt? Any thoughts?

Surely there’s someone besides the United States to let loose the dogs of kinetic support.

 Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

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Mission de-accomplished. Mosul falls to Islamists, big refinery next

Credit: Flickr nakedboy

Credit: Flickr nakedboy

Saddam was a thug. However, he did keep a boot on the neck of the Islamists. The US invaded under made-up pretenses, wrecked Iraq, withdrew, and now Islamists have taken Mosul, the third largest city, and are on the verge of taking Iraq’s largest refinery and Tikrit, Saddam’s home town. Since the US helpfully armed Iraq troops, who deserted their posts, the insurgents, who are from an al-Qaeda-linked splinter group, now have possession of large amounts weaponry, armored vehicles and the like.

500,000 people, many of them Christian, have fled Mosul. The government of Iraq is making brave noises about how they can repel the invaders but really, their troops fled in panic when the rebels approached. They now are calling on Kurds and Syria to help as the US stands by helplessly, watching a disaster much of its own making unfold

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