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davidswanson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 12:33 PM
Original message
No Good War, No Good Drone
Eight years of slaughter, and not so much as a hint at what a "victory" would look like. It's gotten to the point where even polls by Fox News show a majority of Americans against escalating the war in Afghanistan, and polls by more honest organizations show a majority wanting to bring home the troops that are there now.

But our so-called representatives in Congress are reluctant to "interfere" with their own primary Constitutional responsibilities, and the so-called executive whom they've given free reign is undecided about whether to listen to us or the military. There's no time like the present to "go out there and make him do it."

On Monday, October 5, citizens from across the country will join together at the White House in nonviolent resistance to and demonstration against the ongoing wars. You can safely demonstrate or you can choose to risk arrest as many of us will be doing. Sign up now at http://nogoodwar.org The more people who come, the more reluctant the police will be to arrest anyone, and the more reluctant our government will be to defy the will of the majority we represent. If you cannot come to DC, you can call your congress member on Monday, October 5th at (202) 224-3121 and tell them to vote no on any more money for wars. Here's where your congress member stands: http://afterdowningstreet.org/node/43479 And here are two lists of events happening all over the country marking 8 years in the Graveyard of Empires: http://natassembly.org and http://unitedforpeace.org

If, on the other hand, you CAN join us in our empire's capital, please consider coming for more than one day. On October 2nd and 3rd, Friday and Saturday (and you can come for just Saturday too), there will be a conference at Georgetown Law School in downtown Washington, D.C., that you won't want to miss called "Who Decides About War?" Here are some of the speakers:
* Jean Athey, Peace Action, Montgomery County, MD
* Phyllis Bennis, Institute for Policy Studies
* Leah Bolger, National Vice-President, Veterans for Peace
* John Bonifaz, Attorney at Law
* Elaine Brower, Military Families Speak Out
* Prof. Marjorie Cohn, President, National Lawyers Guild
* Rep. Michael Fisher, State Representative, Lincoln, Vermont
* Bonnie Gorman, Military Families Speak Out, Boston
* Mort Halperin, Senior Adviser, Open Society Institute, Keynote Speaker
* Sen. Richard Madaleno, State Senator, Montgomery County, Maryland
* Ben Manski, Esq., Executive Director, Liberty Tree
* Geoff Millard, Chair of the Board of Directors, Iraq Veterans Against the War
* John Nichols, Esq., The Nation magazine
* Caleb Rossiter, Professor, International Service, American University
* Jeremy Scahill, author, Blackwater, Keynote Speaker
* Benson Scotch, Senior Legal Counsel, Bring the Guard Home! It's the Law.
* David Swanson, Founder, After Downing Street
* Don Wallace, Professor, Georgetown Law School
Learn more: http://WhoDecidesAboutWar.org

Wouldn't it be nice to hold a conference like this in your own town? You easily can, by arranging for one or more of these speakers to be there, and by using the magic of video. Videos of this DC conference will be made available. And there are wonderful videos already out there. For example, take a look at the videos called "This Is Where We Take Our Stand" ( http://thisiswherewetakeourstand.com ). The latest one shows a U.S. veteran in tears after having mistakenly called in air strikes against an Afghan village. For more powerful footage along the same lines see the "Winter Soldier" videos: http://www.ivaw.org/wintersoldier/testimony

Or consider showing Robert Greenwald's new film "Rethink Afghanistan." There are six parts available now online, covering the civilian casualties, the financial costs of escalation, the futility of the occupation, the impact on Pakistan, the impact on women, and expert views on the impossibility of "victory." Check it out: http://rethinkafghanistan.com

But please don't do events without music. I did some events this week with the amazing music of David Rovics http://www.davidrovics.com A musician in DC named Brenda Elthon just sent me this wonderful set of songs: http://www.myspace.com/SongsForOurSoldiers And of course Emma's Revolution and dozens of great groups that I pre-apologize for not mentioning have been leading the way for years now: http://www.emmasrevolution.com

And do not -- I repeat -- do NOT hold an event meant to educate without making sure that people will attend who do not already agree, or without videotaping the event and immediately posting the video online. We actually have the technology and the reach needed to educate this country. We've already turned a majority against all wars, Republican wars, Democratic wars, bad wars, "good" wars. But our understanding of war, of what creates it, and of how exactly to stop it needs to deepen.

I received an Email today celebrating the "morality" of pulling out troops and sending more drones. Others have begun pushing the idea that Afghanistan may be, like Iraq, the "wrong" war, whereas the REAL "right" war is in Pakistan. All such talk reveals the thinness of our war opposition. Talking about the financial cost of war and the cost to the war-makers themselves can be useful if it brings a specific war to an end. But we must not stop clearly demanding an end to wars because they kill people. Period. Complicating the issue is not strategic or smart. It can be severely damaging. We must end all aggressive wars, or ending any one of them will just launch the next one.

Lobbying a president to end wars can be useful if it communicates the message far and wide, but presidents will never end the use of war, and strengthening the misunderstanding that such decisions should be up to presidents can do great damage. Influencing a president is almost impossible. Influencing a senator is extremely difficult. Influencing a House member is actually feasible and strategic. And luckily, we don't need the White House or the Senate in order to end wars. All we have to do is convince our representatives that we will give them hell, make their lives miserable, and vote them out of office if they vote for any more funding. That is the message you should call with on Monday, October 5th.

David Swanson is the author of the new book "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union" by Seven Stories Press. You can order it and find out when tour will be in your town: http://davidswanson.org/book
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stray cat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 12:40 PM
Response to Original message
1. Peace at any price is better than defending others or yourself?
There is never any reason to fight for anything?
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Holy Moly Donating Member (86 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 02:37 PM
Response to Reply #1
5. defense of imperial aggression?
Peace at any price is better, much better, than blindly "defending" the evil amerikan global empire fought on behalf of defending the vast insatiable wealth of thy noble banksters, arms merchants, and purveyors of thy deadly private health insurance industries who oddly art always our most patriotic war mongers. Ye dutifully glorify the soldiers in Iraq and the soldiers in Afghanistan even though neither is really defending THIS country. Iraq twas now clearly just another routine case of unprovoked war of aggression by amerika having nothing to do with thy defense. And thy war on Afghanistan twas also just an amerikan warmongers wet dream war of choice, thy bush's wet dream.

Behold
http://www.fff.org/comment/com0905c.asp
"The Taliban responded to Bushs demand by asking him to furnish evidence of bin Ladens complicity in the 9/11 attacks. Upon receipt of such evidence, they offered to turn him over to an independent tribunal instead of the United States. Bush never explained why the Talibans conditions were unreasonable."

Thy chimp instead chose the glory of war over unexciting extradition and those who voluntarily choose to join W (and now Obama) in the perpetration and glorification of His wars of choice are defending NOT this country. How many of the 100+ amerikan imperial aggressions since the end of WW2 and before were truly defensive rather than aggressive? Patriotic wars of imperial aggression do not defend, only subvert, this country by treasonously robbing the lives and wealth of its people to profit the few. So go forth and blindly glorify amerikan aggressions no more.


UNIVERSAL SOLDIER
Lyrics by Buffy Sainte Marie

He is five foot two,
And he's six feet four,
He fights with missiles and with spears,
He's all of thirty-one,
And he's only seventeen,
He's been a soldier for a thousand years.

He's a Catholic, a Hindu,
An atheist, a Chein,
A Budhist, and a Baptist and a Jew,
And he knows, he shouldn't kill,
And he knows, he always will,
Killing for me, my friend, and me for you.

And he's fighting for Canada,
He's fighting for France,
He's fighting for the USA
And he's fighting for the Russians,
He's fighting for Japan,
And he thinks we'll put an end to war this way.

And he's fighting for democracy,
He's fighting for the Reds,
He says it's for the peace of all,
He's the one who must decide,
Who's to live and who's to die,
And he never sees the writing on the wall.

But without him, how would Hitler
Have condemned him at Lw'ow, (German concentration camp)
Without him Cesar would have stood alone,
He's the one, who gives his body
As a weapon of the war,
And without him all this killing can't go on.

He's the universal soldier,
And he really is to blame,
His orders come from far away, no more,
They come from here and there,
And you and me and brothers,
Can't you see,
This is not the way we put the end to war.
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HopeHoops Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 12:50 PM
Response to Original message
2. Drones are a WONDERFUL thing - as long as they are NOT ARMED!
I fully support drones and robotic recon drones, not to mention the robots that are used for bomb inspection. Giving them weapons is just WRONG!

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SammyWinstonJack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 12:52 PM
Response to Original message
3. K&R
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Tierra_y_Libertad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 01:12 PM
Response to Original message
4. The bosses always have "good" reasons to send people to kill other people. K&R
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kenny blankenship Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 03:18 PM
Response to Original message
6. Support Our Drones!
America hating hippie socialist moran tree fuckers must all die!111
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bvar22 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 04:58 PM
Response to Original message
7. bvar22....against stupid Wars before Obama...
...still against stupid wars !

No Military Objective + No Exit Strategy = Stupid War (Quagmire)

Bring them home NOW!
:patriot:
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paulkienitz Donating Member (313 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-22-09 07:34 PM
Response to Original message
8. once there's finally progress against Al Qaeda in Pakistan, NOW you want to pull out?
I was very dubious about going into Afghanistan in the first place, but of all the choices of when to leave, this coming year is the worst possible timing. Because thanks to the absence of W., it is now politically possible for the Pakis (and our drones) to wipe out the Al Qaeda forces on their side of the border. If we leave Afghanistan now they'll just do a reverse Tora Bora and end up right back where we first met them. We can hang on one more year, before deciding what to do (or what it might be impossible to do) about the Taliban.
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bertman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-23-09 12:17 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. Harken back to 1968 and substitute Viet Cong or North Vietnamese for Al Qaeda
and you will have the same propaganda that we read and listened to when the imperialists were keeping us at war in Southeast Asia.

The military ALWAYS needs more troops until the American people get fed up and scream PULL OUT!! There is never a mission too futile or too costly for a military propagandist.

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paulkienitz Donating Member (313 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-23-09 05:11 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. I am not supporting endless counterinsurgency against the Taliban
What I am supporting is that we don't falter on holding the Afghan border against Al Qaeda coming back, while they're in trouble on the Paki side. That's a much smaller strategic goal and is quite doable.
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bertman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-23-09 08:18 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. That sounds like having troops stationed there indefinitely to me. Pakistan has been
so hot and cold about its efforts to wage a serious campaign against al Qaeda that it's conceivable that the efforts could slack off or fall apart entirely at any time. Meanwhile we will have thousands of troops at the border trying to stop al Qaeda while the Taliban's resistance to our presence continues to grow.

The part of this scenario that you and many people do not seem to grasp is that even if we could eliminate al Qaeda at least temporarily from Afghanistan, as soon as we loosen our grip or leave, they will return. So, if you want to keep them from escaping OR reforming, we must KEEP American troops there. And while those thousands of American troops are there, the people of Afghanistan are viewing us as INVADERS, not liberators, so they continue to support the Taliban's efforts to throw us out.

We are viewed as invaders and will still be viewed as invaders even if we wipe al Qaeda off the map.

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paulkienitz Donating Member (313 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-23-09 10:46 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. If that were definitely true I might agree...
Edited on Wed Sep-23-09 10:51 PM by paulkienitz
...but I just heard a poll which says that we are actually NOT viewed as invaders by the majority of Afghans nowadays, and according to this poll the Taliban are significantly less popular there than we are. Now that could very possibly be a fake-ass poll, but for now I have no reason to take your opinion over it.

Also, you said "it's conceivable that efforts could slack off or fall apart entirely at any time." Sure, that could happen... but it's not what's happening now. Let's take advantage of the opportunity while we have it. We may have taken more out of Al Qaeda in the last six months than in the six years before that, and I say let's keep that going as long as we have a chance to.

One thing we should definitely try to do while there is make their next election as honest as possible, so whatever happens we're not propping up a puppet kleptocracy. If they end up voting for Islamists, we can leave. If they honestly elect pro-westerners who asks us to stay and help, then we're stuck.
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bertman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-23-09 11:49 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. I really like your optimism, paul, but having been through the Vietnam scenario
this all looks very very familiar. And feels equally as bad.

We Americans think it's up to us to solve other people's problems for them. I don't think we can do that. Help them, yes. But not bring in the troops.

Peace.

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paulkienitz Donating Member (313 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-24-09 03:19 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. Not everything is Vietnam...
Iraq was a perfect recreation of Vietnam syndrome -- which as I see it, basically starts with militaristic leaders believing their own bullshit -- and if circumstances were different this might be too. It could still become that. I won't be slow to see it if it does, I don't think.
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Orwellian_Ghost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-23-09 08:24 PM
Response to Original message
12. Bump
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