The American Bear

Sunshine/Lollipops

U.S. Militarism and Perpetual War | Jeff Cohen

I spent years as a political pundit on mainstream TV – at CNN, Fox News and MSNBC. I was outnumbered, outshouted, red-baited and finally terminated. Inside mainstream media, I saw that major issues were not only dodged, but sometimes not even acknowledged to exist.

Today there’s an elephant in the room: a huge, yet ignored, issue that largely explains why Social Security is now on the chopping block. And why other industrialized countries have free college education and universal healthcare, but we don’t. It’s arguably our country’s biggest problem – a problem that Martin Luther King Jr. focused on before he was assassinated 45 years ago, and has only worsened since then (which was the height of the Vietnam War).

That problem is U.S. militarism and perpetual war.

In 1967, King called the United States “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today” – and said, “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”

Nowadays MSNBC hosts yell at Fox News hosts, and vice versa, about all sorts of issues – but when the Obama administration expanded the bloody war in Afghanistan, the shouting heads at both channels went almost silent. When Obama’s drone war expanded, there was little shouting. Not at MSNBC, not at Fox. Nor at CNN, CBS, ABC or so-called public broadcasting.

We can have raging debates in mainstream media about issues like gun control and gay marriage and minimum wage, but when the elites of both parties agree on military intervention – as they so often do – debate is nearly nonexistent. Anyone in the mainstream who goes out on a limb to loudly question this oversized creature in the middle of the room known as militarism or interventionism is likely to disappear faster than you can say ‘Phil Donahue.’ [++]

Who Will Save Social Security and Medicare? | Shamus Cooke

Before Social Security and Medicare existed, the elderly were either completely dependent on their children or were left to beg in the streets. These programs thus remain sacred to the vast majority of Americans. They allow the elderly dignity and independence instead of poverty and insecurity.

Attacking these programs has always been political suicide for the assailant; not even the smoothest talking politician would squirm into an aggressive stance.

But now the gloves are off. Obama and the Democrats are aligning with Republicans to strike the first major blows against Social Security and Medicare. This long hidden agenda is finally in full view of the public. The decades-long political agreement to save these programs is dead, and the foundation of American politics is shifting beneath everyone’s feet.

The New York Times reports:

“President Obama next week will take the political risk of formally proposing cuts to Social Security and Medicare in his annual budget…”

Many liberals are scratching their heads in astonishment, asking “How could this happen?”

The truth is that every liberal and labor leader knew this was in the works for years; they just kept their mouths shut in the hope that Obama could successfully push the blame entirely on the Republicans.

Throughout the summer of 2011 Obama worked with Republicans in the first attempt at a ‘Grand Bargain’ that included cuts to Social Security and Medicare. The Washington Post published an article entitled “Obama’sEvolution” about that summer:

“…the major elements of a [Grand] bargain seemed to be falling into place: $1.2 trillion in [national programs] agency cuts, smaller cost-of-living increases [cuts] for Social Security recipients [cuts by dollar inflation], nearly $250 billion in Medicare savings [cuts] achieved in part by raising the eligibility age [of Medicare]. And $800 billion in new taxes.”

Labor and liberal leaders kept quiet about this so they could push their members to vote for Obama in 2012. They also kept quite in the fall of 2011 when Obama released his budget proposal that included hundreds of billions of dollars worth of cuts to Medicare and Medicaid.

But hiding the most recent betrayal was next to impossible, and every liberal group is now suddenly “shocked” to see Obama officially and publicly on record to pursue the cuts.

The most craven of the liberal groups will continue to spew rotten rhetoric that only blames Republicans for the cuts while making excuses for Obama’s behavior, claiming that he merely buckled under intense Republican pressure and felt the need to “compromise.”

But it’s all nonsense. [++]

Sean Wilentz: Wrong on 'Untold History,' Wrong on History in General | Jon Schwarz

[…] We can never know what might have come to pass had the U.S. adopted a different posture toward the Soviet Union, either after World War II or during the decades that followed. But from the viewpoint of liberals like Wilentz, the answer clearly is: nothing good. The Soviets were determined to export their totalitarianism to the world, and any naive failure on our part to resist would end in disaster. Yes, the U.S. might have gone overboard here and there, but the overall story of the cold war was that the Soviet Union acted and we reacted.

But this is what we can know: if Wilentz’s understanding of history is correct, U.S. cold war policies should have ended with the cold war itself. If the leftists were right, U.S. policies would have continued almost completely unchanged – except for the pretexts provided to Americans.

Looked at through that lens, Stone and Kuznick’s perspective explains a lot more about the world than that of Wilentz. The Warsaw Pact is gone, but NATO remains, and in fact has expanded eastward. The embargo against Cuba was not lifted at the end of the cold war but intensified. The U.S. habit of supporting overseas coups, both successful (Honduras) and not (Venezuela, Gaza), endures. The Air Force is busily researching how to drop tungsten rods onto anyone anywhere from space.

And on Iraq, the most important foreign policy issue of the past twenty years, we appear to have reenacted the cold war in miniature. Like the Soviet Union, Iraq had been a U.S. ally against a third country. Like Stalin, Saddam Hussein was a cruel dictator who was extremely dangerous to his subjects. But also like the Soviet Union, Iraq was ruined by war and far weaker than the U.S., yet inflated by propaganda into a huge danger to us that bore almost no resemblance to reality. Like Soviet leaders, Hussein understood the realities of power and made repeated attempts to avoid conflict with the U.S. – attempts of which almost no Americans are aware. (According to the CIA, Hussein begged the Clinton administration for the opportunity to be our “best friend in the region bar none” but felt “he was not given a chance because the US refused to listen to anything Iraq had to say.”) And as with the cold war, we will never know what would have happened if our country had chosen another path. All we know is U.S. officials had no interest in exploring it.

Finally, with both the Soviets and Iraq there was – as Henry Wallace said in 1948 – a “bipartisan reactionary war policy.” Vice President Biden voted for the Iraq war, as did our old Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and our new one John Kerry. The day after Colin Powell’s notorious Security Council presentation, Susan Rice, now the U.S. Ambassador to the UN, claimed Powell had “proved that Iraq has these weapons and is hiding them.” And while Barack Obama did give a mildly anti-war speech in October, 2002 (stating “I don’t oppose all wars” three times), he was then representing a solidly liberal state senate district where opposing the war posed no political danger. Given his behavior as president, it’s hard to be certain he would have voted no if he’d then been an ambitious U.S. senator.

Most depressing of all, establishment historians like Wilentz play the same role today as they did during the cold war: not just refusing to ask critical questions about U.S. history and its effect on the present day, but shouting down those who attempt to do so. That’s what Wilentz is doing with his review of Untold History. And it’s what he did in October, 2001 when he explained why the U.S. had just been attacked: “To the terrorists, America’s crime – its real crime – is to be America.”

It’s no surprise Wilentz was desperate for Americans to adopt this childish view: the Arab anger that al Qaeda was attempting to ride to power via 9/11 was the result of the Iraq policies of his friend Bill Clinton. Without Clinton’s brutal sanctions on Iraq and U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia, bin Laden might – as a senior Bush official said in 2004 – “still be redecorating mosques and boring friends with stories of his mujahideen days in the Khyber Pass.”

So in Wilentz’s own words we can see the value of what Stone and Kuznick have accomplished. Readers and viewers of Untold History could use what they learned about the past to predict that the liberal War on Terror would be virtually indistinguishable from – indeed, complicit with – the War on Terror of the right. And they’d be correct.

Kill lists? Dems don’t want to know | David Sirota

[…] With Democratic politicians unanimously cheering on Obama’s policies, with the party platform being radically revised to embrace Bush-era positions on these terrorism-related issues, and with no major Democratic criticism of their legality or efficacy, polls show the same rank-and-file Democratic voters who previously expressed vehement outrage at more mild Bush administration anti-terrorism policies (torture, indefinite detention, etc.) today largely applaud Obama policies that are even more extreme (undeclared drone wars and extra-judicial executions). Likewise, with Republican politicians silent on these issues, the same polls show strong support for those extra-constitutional policies among the very GOP activists who regularly trumpet their supposed fealty to the constitution.

For authoritarian and neoconservative propagandists in the establishments of both parties, these numbers represent a “Mission Accomplished” moment – one loyally reflected in the media coverage, or lack thereof. Case in point, again, is [the interview with Debbie] Wasserman Schultz: what should have been a controversial headline-grabbing exchange has been all but ignored by a political media that focuses exclusively on the differences – rather than the disturbing similarities – between the parties.

Obviously, with this week’s final presidential debate focusing on foreign policy and national security, there’s still time for these issues to come up. But with both parties averse to such a discussion, and with a media that defines “news” as only those issues of guaranteed partisan conflict, don’t bet on it. More likely, we’ll see party spokespeople like Wasserman Schultz in the spin room refusing to address the issues because they weren’t “a subject at the debate,” pleading ignorance, declaring what is and is not “serious” – and, of course, laughing off the most critical questions of all.

randomactsofchaos:

Foreign policy is for the birds. Of course, just five years ago it was the only thing worth talking about. When Republicans wanted to talk about it. Now it’s all about taxes and spending. Oddly, that’s what Repubicans want to talk about now too.

This is not to say that I wouldn’t welcome a debate on the economy, jobs, income inequality, education, climate change, immigration and women’s rights among a dozen other important topics. But the fiscal cliff? It’s a phony crisis that only plays into the hands of the deficit hysterics who are determined to use any excuse they can to cut the hell out of our already tattered safety net. The differences between the two parties are so infinitesimal on this anyway that all we’d have is a hour of bullshit designed to make the voters forget about the fact that they are getting screwed by millionaires and worry instead about fiscal phantoms. No thanks.

And hey, if we get lucky in an hour long foreign policy debate we might even find out that foreign countries exist outside the Middle East and the Indian sub-continent. I’m so old I remember when we used to talk about the Far East and South America once in a while. I’m not holding my breath. I have a feeling it’s going to be a truly impressive dick measuring contest with Obam finding ways to mention that he killed bin Laden at every opportunity and Mitt rsponding that if it had been him he’d have killed him twice as hard. (I’m anticipating a major next day hangover.)

Hullabaloo

Martha Raddatz and the faux objectivity of journalists | Glenn Greenwald

That Iran is some major national security issue for the US is a concoction of the bipartisan DC class that always needs a scary foreign enemy. The claim is frequently debunked in multiple venues. But because both political parties embrace this highly ideological claim, Raddatz does, too. Indeed, one of the most strictly enforced taboos in establishment journalism is the prohibition on aggressively challenging those views that are shared by the two parties. Doing that makes one fringe, unserious and radical: the opposite of solemn objectivity.

Most of Raddatz’s Iran questions were thus snugly within this bipartisan framework. At one point, she even chided Biden for appearing to suggest that Iran may not be actively pursuing a nuclear weapon: “You are acting a little bit like they don’t want one” (Biden, of course, urgently disclaimed any such view: “Oh, I didn’t say - no, I’m not saying that”). To the extent that she questioned the possibility of attacking Iran, it was purely on the grounds of whether an attack would be tactically effective, citing former defense secretary Bob Gates’ warning that that such an attack “could prove catastrophic, haunting us for generations,” and then asking: “Can the two of you be absolutely clear and specific to the American people how effective would a military strike be?”

Note what Raddatz did not ask and never would. Even after both candidates re-affirmed their commitment to attacking Iran to prevent it from acquiring a nuclear weapon (Biden dismissed Gates’ warning about an attack by saying that “it could prove catastrophic, if we didn’t
do it with precision
”), there were no questions about whether the US would have the legal or moral right to launch an aggressive attack on Iran. That the US has the right to attack any country it wants is one of those unexamined assumptions in Washington discourse, probably the supreme orthodoxy of the nation’s “foreign policy community”.

Worse, even after Biden boasted about the destruction of the Iranian economy from US sanctions - “the ayatollah sees his economy being crippled… . He sees the currency going into the tank. He sees the economy going into freefall” - there was no discussion about the severe suffering imposed on Iranian civilians by the US, whether the US wants to repeat the mass death and starvation it brought to millions of Iraqis for a full decade, or what the consequences of doing that will be.

In sum, all of Raddatz’s questions were squarely within the extremely narrow - and highly ideological - DC consensus about US foreign policy generally and Iran specifically: namely, Iran is a national security threat to the US; it is trying to obtain nuclear weapons; the US must stop them; the US has the unchallenged right to suffocate Iranian civilians and attack militarily. As usual, the only question worth debating is whether a military attack on Iran now would be strategically wise, whether it would advance US interests.

One can say many things about the worldview promoted by her questions. That it is “objective” or free of ideology is most certainly not one of them. [++]

Election year garbage | Glenn Greenwald

On this fall’s false choice:

These episodes, all from the last 24 hours, demonstrate why I cannot wait for the election to be over:

Mitt Romney, Monday, in his heralded foreign policy speech:

“This is the struggle that is now shaking the entire Middle East to its foundation… . In short, it is a struggle between liberty and tyranny, justice and oppression, hope and despair.”

Mitt Romney, yesterday, in the same speech, moments later:

“I will deepen our critical cooperation with our partners in the Gulf.”

So to recap: we’re in a war for freedom against tyranny, and for justice against oppression - a war which Mitt Romney will fight in close alliance with the regimes of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.

Then we have this, from Romney’s foreign policy speech, in which the GOP nominee diagnoses what he sees as the problem in the Middle East:

“The attacks against us in Libya were not an isolated incident. They were accompanied by anti-American riots in nearly two dozen other countries, mostly in the Middle East, but also in Africa and Asia. Our embassies have been attacked. Our flag has been burned. Many of our citizens have been threatened and driven from their overseas homes by vicious mobs, shouting ‘Death to America.’ These mobs hoisted the black banner of Islamic extremism over American embassies on the anniversary of the September 11th attacks.”

And here are his solutions:

“Drones and the modern instruments of war are important tools in our fight … . I will not hesitate to impose new sanctions on Iran, and will tighten the sanctions we currently have. I will restore the permanent presence of aircraft carrier task forces in both the Eastern Mediterranean and the Gulf region - and work with Israel to increase our military assistance and coordination… . I will reaffirm our historic ties to Israel and our abiding commitment to its security - the world must never see any daylight between our two nations. I will deepen our critical cooperation with our partners in the Gulf.”

To summarize: in light of extreme anti-American sentiment, we must drone-bomb more, kill Iranian civilians with sanctions, send more symbols of military occupation to their region, move still closer to Israel (which could only be accomplished by some sort of new surgical procedure to collectively implant us inside of them), and more vigorously support the repressive Gulf regimes. In other words, to solve the problem of anti-American hatred in the region, we must do more and more of exactly that which - quite rationally - generates that hatred.

And “more and more of exactly that which” ……. Barack Obama is already doing. And people think there isn’t enough bipartisanship in Washington.

As Michael Cohen stated in the Guardian:

[O]ne would be hard-pressed to find a single substantive difference [wrt foreign policy] between what Romney is proposing as a candidate and Obama is actually doing as president.

Read the whole piece

The Biggest Kiss: How Neither Political Party Wants to Break Up the Biggest Banks | Jeff Connaughton

… It was time to vote. Senators had to stand on one side or the other: Did you believe, as even Alan Greenspan belatedly had mused, “if they’re too big to fail, they’re too big”? Or did you believe, in effect, size doesn’t matter? Ted [Kaufman] gave a brief summation. Our argument was based in prudence. Whatever you thought had caused the financial crisis, it’s clear that six megabanks have become so gigantic — and even more so after the consolidation that took place during the crisis — that they’re too big to fail. If there’s ever another crisis, these megabanks will be the recipients of a massive taxpayer bailout. The Fed has admitted that no economies of scale enable megabanks to help America better compete in a global economy — that’s a false argument that banks make to preserve their ability to borrow at lower rates (because the markets perceive them to be government-backed). Why not place a statutory limit on their size and the amount of relative borrowing they can use?

No one could confuse the issue, at least I thought. But, just before voting, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) — one of the most liberal members of the Senate — asked Durbin, the majority whip, “What’s this amendment?” According to Durbin, who later told Ted, he replied: “To break up the banks.” Giving the thumbs-down sign, Feinstein said bemusedly: “This is still America, isn’t it?”

Fifteen minutes later, the Brown-Kaufman amendment to break up the megabanks lay dead on the Senate floor, shot through by sixty-one no votes. Three Republicans — Richard Shelby (R-AL), Tom Coburn (R-OK) and John Ensign (R-NV ) — joined 30 Democrats who voted for it. Most of the same senators who’d swallowed the novel idea of a $700 billion taxpayer-funded bank bailout just couldn’t comprehend the idea of the government putting a size cap on any business. As Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH) had asked on the Senate floor: “What are we going to do next? Limit the size of McDonald’s?” Last I checked, Big Macs hadn’t collapsed, destroyed $20 trillion in housing and financial wealth, and thrown eight million Americans out of work. Under antitrust law, we stop businesses from combining if it leads to market power and consumer harm. Why can’t Congress limit bank size to prevent financial instability and massive economic harm?

All along it had felt like the Charge of the Light Brigade. For months Ted — canon to the left of him, canon to the right of him — had gone to the Senate floor to speak truth to power. Time called him “The Replacement Senator Giving Democrats Fits.” Where was the rest of the cavalry? You’d think that senators would at least come to the floor and debate what role Wall Street had played in the disaster and what needed to be done about it. For a long time, Ted was the only one. It had been exhilarating as Ted galloped down the gauntlet, opposing the President, Larry Summers and Tim Geithner, Wall Street, the Delaware banks, and, most especially, the no-plan Republicans. He threw caution to the wind, cheered on by the media, his hometown Wilmington News, and many Americans (and, best of all, Delawareans). Then we reached the canon line, vaulted it, were dismounted on landing, and lay in stunned disarray, knowing that for us and for now, the battle was over.

Issues That Obama and Romney Avoid | Noam Chomsky

[…] The official Democratic and Republican platforms on climate matters are reviewed in Science magazine’s Sept. 14 issue. In a rare instance of bipartisanship, both parties demand that we make the problem worse.

In 2008, both party platforms had devoted some attention to how the government should address climate change. Today, the issue has almost disappeared from the Republican platform – which does, however, demand that Congress “take quick action” to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency, established by former Republican President Richard Nixon in saner days, from regulating greenhouse gases. And we must open Alaska’s Arctic refuge to drilling to take “advantage of all our American God-given resources.” We cannot disobey the Lord, after all.

The platform also states that “We must restore scientific integrity to our public research institutions and remove political incentives from publicly funded research” – code words for climate science.

The Republican candidate Mitt Romney, seeking to escape from the stigma of what he understood a few years ago about climate change, has declared that there is no scientific consensus, so we should support more debate and investigation – but not action, except to make the problems more serious.

The Democrats mention in their platform that there is a problem, and recommend that we should work “toward an agreement to set emissions limits in unison with other emerging powers.” But that’s about it.

President Barack Obama has emphasized that we must gain 100 years of energy independence by exploiting fracking and other new technologies – without asking what the world would look like after a century of such practices.

So there are differences between the parties: about how enthusiastically the lemmings should march toward the cliff. [++]

Congress, Obama Administration Move to Deny Intelligence Employees Whistleblower Protections | Kevin Gosztola

The House of Representatives passed a whistleblower protection bill by unanimous consent on September 28. It expanded protection for disclosures of government wrongdoing and reformed certain government processes for review of whistleblower retaliation claims. But, the House removed an entire section of the legislation that would have provided some degree of protection for intelligence officials.

The Hill reported “Title II” of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act was completely removed. The section would have “set up whistleblower protections for all intelligence officials that are similar to those that exist for FBI employees, and would have set up a process in the executive branch for reviewing whether security clearances were denied or revoked because of what should be protected disclosure of information under the whistleblower laws.”

According to unnamed House aides, this was coordinated between both Democratic and Republican Party leaders in the house and with the Senate and White House. They decided the language “should not be included in the bill” because they did not have the political will to sort out how to protect national security secrets and also afford intelligence officials protection.

One House representative, Elijah Cummings, did not approve of the removal. ”We need to provide meaningful rights to whistleblowers in the intelligence community and we need to amend the law to allow whistleblowers the ability to go to court and have their case heard by a jury,” Cummings said in a statement. ”I know this bill represents a compromise based on the political realities of today”—the political reality that President Barack Obama and Congress leaders are more concerned with government secrecy than whistleblower rights—”But the fight is not over.”

Tom Devine of the Government Accountability Project noted the Obama administration had “promised to take executive action on national security whistleblower rights.” Evidently, the administration does not intend to take action. They coordinated with Congress to get rid of the section of the bill that would have protected intelligence officials and there has been no indication from the White House that President Obama opposes the stripping of this section.

Pay in Blood: The Bipartisan Terror Machine Stripped Bare | Chris Floyd

In the category of “the sky is blue,” “fire is hot” and “the sun rises in the east,” the Guardian reports on a new study showing that Washington’s murderous drone killing campaign in Pakistan is “counterproductive.”

The sarcasm above is not meant to cast aspersions on the report itself — which is detailed, devastating, and very productive — but on the prevailing mindset in the ruling circles of the West (the self-proclaimed “defenders of civilization”) that makes such a study even necessary, much less ‘controversial.’

For of course even the denizens of the many secret services and black-op armies and intelligence agencies that make up America’s world-straddling security apparat have said, repeatedly, that Washington’s policy of murdering, torturing, renditioning and indefinitely detaining innocent people all over the world — day after day, week after week, year after year — is in fact creating the very extremism and anti-Americanism the policy purports to combat.

Thus the new report, by the law schools of New York University and Stanford (a famously if not notoriously conservative institution) should be, in a sane and rational world, a case of carrying coals to Newscastle or selling ice to the Inuit: an exercise in redunancy.

But instead, sadly, the report, “Living Under Drones,” is a very, very rare instance of speaking truth to the power that is waging a hideous campaign of terror — there is no other word for it — against innocent people all over the world.

The personal testimonies gathered by the researchers — on the ground, in Pakistan — are shattering … at least for those who actually believe that these swarthy foreigner are actually human beings, with “hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions .. fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is.” You can be sure — you can be damned sure — that the Nobel Peace Laureate in the White House has never and will never read these stories of the ones he is terrorizing, night and day. These testimonies will never appear beside the scraps of rumor, conjecture and brutal prejudice that constitute the “reports” he sees each Tuesday — “Terror Tuesday” — when he meets in the Oval Office with his death squad team to decide who will be assassinated that week.

[…] [R]egardless of its “Homeland” provenance, this report will have no influence whatsoever on the non-existent “debate over the legality of drone warfare” in the United States. For beyond the rare, isolated op-ed, there is no “debate” on drone warfare in American political or media circles. The bipartisan political establishment is united in its support of the practice; indeed, both parties plan to expand the use of drones on a large scale in the future. This murderous record — and this shameful complicity — will be one of the Peace Laureate’s lasting legacies, whether he wins re-election or not.

[…] Current RAF doctrine tells us, euphemistically, how “the psychological impact of air power, from the presence of a UAV [unmanned aerial vehicle] to the noise generated by an approaching attack helicopter, has often proved to be extremely effective in exerting influence …” Perhaps they mean “terror”, as described by David Rohde, a former New York Times journalist kidnapped and held by the Taliban for months in Waziristan. Rohde, quoted in Living Under Drones, describes the fear the drones inspired in ordinary civilians: “The drones were terrifying. From the ground, it is impossible to determine who or what they are tracking as they circle overhead. The buzz of a distant propeller is a constant reminder of imminent death.”

Again — and we’ve said here over and over, for months, even years: when you vote for one of the factions in the imperial power bloc — Democrat or Republican — this is what you are supporting. You are empowering, enabling and associating yourself with an extremist regime that visits bin Laden-like terror on innocent people, day after day, night after night: killing them, traumatizing them, deranging their lives, destroying their families, their hopes and dreams. This is what you are voting for, you stalwart Tea Party patriots. This is what you are voting for, you earnest humanitarian progressives. This and nothing else but this: terror, murder, fear and ruin, in a never-ending, self-perpetuating, all-devouring cycle.

Next week two men who aspire to be president of the United States will debate one another on national television. During that debate no one will ask why the U.S. might need an arsenal of 7000 drones, how the U.S. government can conscionably call each military-age male it kills with those drones a ‘military combatant’ just by virtue of having killed him, how it is that Barack Obama can refuse to offer any information at all on the process by which he decides whom to target. One sees the benefits of being a Democrat given to expand upon the wartime practices of your Republican predecessor. In a race against another Republican, the only critique of your foreign policy will be that you haven’t been belligerent enough. Kerry Howley (via azspot)

(via azspot)

America's Scandalous Drone War Goes Unmentioned In The Campaign

The research found that, over the last eight years, drone strikes have “killed 2,562-3,325 people in Pakistan, of whom 474-881 were civilians, including 176 children.” Meanwhile, only 2 percent of those killed were “high-level” targets. This means that the strikes have killed three times as many children as terrorist leaders. The report also shows that the impact of the drone war isn’t limited to those directly affected by strikes because the constant presence of drones overhead “terrorizes men, women, and children, giving rise to anxiety and psychological trauma among civilian communities. ” People in these regions have become afraid to render assistance to innocent victims or to attend funerals, as both rescuers and mourners have been targeted for secondary strikes.

The report’s findings are irrefutably stunning. Even more so is the fact that these revelations won’t play any role at all in the pending presidential campaign.

(Source: azspot)

Senate Overwhelmingly Backs New Anti-Iran Resolution

Early Saturday morning the US Senate passed a non-binding resolution 90 to 1 expressing the sentiment that the US must “do everything possible” to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, and openly spurning a “containment” policy.

The resolution came out of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s demands for a “red line” by the US on military action, and while the resolution is not in and of itself an authorization for military action it continues to express the sentiment that an offensive war against Iran is a viable option.

The sole “no” vote was cast by Sen. Rand Paul (R – KY), who argued that the resolution would inevitably be used as an excuse for the use of military force against Iran. Sen. Paul did, however, go on to say he is opposed to containment as well.

On the surface the resolution is similar to countless others, urging diplomatic pressure and economic sanctions against Iran to force compliance, but the explicit rejection of “containment” suggests they are uncomfortable with allowing Iran to maintain a civilian nuclear program without a specific imprimatur from the UN Security Council to do so, and the resolution also demands Iran forever abandon its right to enrich uranium for civilian purposes.

Bipartisanship!