Friday, October 16, 2015

#RaiseYourVoice - No More Wars

Obama will leave troops in Afghanistan into the last year of presidency.

Sometime in the late 1980s or early 1990s — it's difficult to pinpoint an exact moment — the nation we had known as Afghanistan collapsed into civil war and chaos. And since September 2001, the United States has viewed that chaos as too dangerous to ignore.

That is, in its most fundamental terms, why the US has been at war in Afghanistan for now 14 years. And it's why President Obama, after coming into office in 2009 pledging to end the war, will announce today that he is not withdrawing after all. The next president will come into office overseeing the longest war in US history.

But what he or she will inherit isn't really a war in the traditional sense, but rather a mission — small but Sisyphean — that everyone knows is doomed: to temporarily stave off Afghanistan's inevitable collapse, a few months at a time. The war is already lost, and has been for years.

He and Vladimir Putin -- that is to say, the United States and Russia -- are already in a proxy war in Syria, technically against IS, but bombing each other's 'enemies of their friends'.  The CIA is again exposed as bloody muckraker.  From October 10, the AP account...

CIA-backed rebels in Syria, who had begun to put serious pressure on President Bashar Assad's forces, are now under Russian bombardment with little prospect of rescue by their American patrons, U.S. officials say.

Over the past week, Russia has directed parts of its air campaign against U.S.-funded groups and other moderate opposition in a concerted effort to weaken them, the officials say. The Obama administration has few options to defend those it had secretly armed and trained.

The Russians "know their targets, and they have a sophisticated capacity to understand the battlefield situation," said Republican Rep. Mike Pompeo, who serves on the House Intelligence Committee and was careful not to confirm a classified program. "They are bombing in locations that are not connected to the Islamic State."

Then there's Iraq (the part of it comparatively stable), uncontrolled western Iraq, Yemen and the Saudi peninsula, and Africa.  Obama has sent three hundred military advisers into Cameroon on a Boko Haram excursion.

The Drone Papers remind us that the tactic is not simply utilizing a new technology -- as the US did to end WWII, as the history books tell us -- but implementing a policy of extrajudicial assassinations, and as Hillary Clinton and the rest of the neoliberals in the Democratic Party continue to reveal, the strategy is endless war.  War without end, amen.

(A)ny doubts about whether endless war – literally – is official American doctrine should be permanently erased by this week’s comments from two leading Democrats, both former top national security officials in the Obama administration, one of whom is likely to be the next American president.

Leon Panetta, the long-time Democratic Party operative who served as Obama’s defense secretary and CIA director, said this week of Obama’s new bombing campaign: “I think we’re looking at kind of a 30-year war.” Only in America are new 30-year wars spoken of so casually, the way other countries speak of weather changes. He added that the war “will have to extend beyond Islamic State to include emerging threats in Nigeria, Somalia, Yemen, Libya and elsewhere.” And elsewhere: not just a new decades-long war with no temporal limits, but no geographic ones either. He criticized Obama – who has bombed 7 predominantly Muslim countries plus the Muslim minority in the Phillipines (almost double the number of countries Bush bombed) – for being insufficiently militaristic, despite the fact that Obama officials themselves have already instructed the public to think of The New War “in terms of years.”

Then we have Hillary Clinton, whom Panetta gushed would make a “great” president. At an event in Ottawa (last week), she proclaimed that the fight against these “militants” will “be a long-term struggle” that should entail an “information war” as “well as an air war.” The new war, she said, is “essential” and the U.S. shies away from fighting it “at our peril.” Like Panetta  -- and most establishment Republicans -- Clinton made clear in her book that virtually all of her disagreements with Obama’s foreign policy were the by-product of her view of Obama as insufficiently hawkish, militaristic and confrontational.

She has stated directly in recent weeks that when she is president, the United States will preemptively strike Iran.   Her language since the Iranian peace accord negotiated by her successor at State, John Kerry, has hardly been any less harsh.

Not even Bernie Sanders, with his "feed at the trough with the rest of the pork" mentality, bringing the bacon home to Vermont, is representative of enough hope for change in stopping any of these wars.  It's good for business, after all.

At this point, it is literally inconceivable to imagine the U.S. not at war. It would be shocking if that happened in our lifetime. U.S. officials are now all but openly saying this. “Endless War” is not dramatic rhetorical license but a precise description of America’s foreign policy.

It’s not hard to see why. A state of endless war justifies ever-increasing state power and secrecy and a further erosion of rights. It also entails a massive transfer of public wealth to the “homeland security” and weapons industry -- which the US media deceptively calls the “defense sector”.

Just (last week), Bloomberg reported: “Led by Lockheed Martin Group, the biggest U.S. defense companies are trading at record prices as shareholders reap rewards from escalating military conflicts around the world.” Particularly exciting is that “investors see rising sales for makers of missiles, drones and other weapons as the U.S. hits Islamic State fighters in Syria and Iraq”; moreover, “the U.S. also is the biggest foreign military supplier to Israel, which waged a 50-day offensive against the Hamas Islamic movement in the Gaza Strip.” ISIS is using U.S.-made ammunition and weapons, which means U.S. weapons companies get to supply all sides of The New Endless War; can you blame investors for being so giddy?

Where will it end?

Only when we the people say so.  Only when we say "STOP" to military advisers and CIA-financed destabilization efforts, which lead to special forces operations and then boots on the ground, which lead to flag-draped coffins and hearses with 'heroes' traveling down streets lined with 'Murricans holding flags, and military parades, and yellow ribbons and finally granite memorials.  Not to mention the mangled limbs and minds of the veterans of these wars who are left to suffer the after-effects, or war crimes like torture, or the loss of one's freedoms at home in the form of warrantless wiretapping and municipal police armed like the US military itself.

You'll also have to do without the war stories told by old warhorses, and the glamorous movies made about war, like 'Saving Private Ryan' and 'American Sniper' and the like.

It will not be a simple task.

War – in all its ever-changing permutations – thus enables an endless supply of power and profit to flow to those political and economic factions that control the government regardless of election outcomes. And that’s all independent of the vicarious sense of joy, purpose and fulfillment which the sociopathic Washington class derives from waging risk-free wars, as Adam Smith so perfectly described in Wealth of Nations 235 years ago:

In great empires the people who live in the capital, and in the provinces remote from the scene of action, feel, many of them, scarce any inconveniency from the war; but enjoy, at their ease, the amusement of reading in the newspapers the exploits of their own fleets and armies. To them this amusement compensates the small difference between the taxes which they pay on account of the war, and those which they had been accustomed to pay in time of peace. They are commonly dissatisfied with the return of peace, which puts an end to their amusement, and to a thousand visionary hopes of conquest and national glory from a longer continuance of the war.

We must raise our voices:  No.  More. Wars.  Enough already.  The bombing must stop, the war machine spending must stop, and the soldiers must come home.  We have to heal the warriors and ourselves so that the world can begin healing.

We must send this message loudly and clearly, with our voices and our keyboards and our actions, so loudly and clearly that they hear us and heed us.  That requires voting, and not for a member of the Demoblicans or Republicrats who support endless war.  It requires sacrificing a lot of your free time, when you'd rather be watching television or playing a game on your phone or whatever pastime you have used to inure yourself to the shooting and killing and maiming and dying.

If we cannot win this battle then we will lose all the rest.  It may be too late already.

Raise Your Voice.

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