- Peace Garden: 07/01/2008 - 08/01/2008

Real Diplomacy

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

End the Occupation of Iraq — and Afghanistan

We must call for bringing home — not redeploying — all U.S. troops and mercenaries, closing all U.S. military bases, and relinquishing all efforts to control Iraqi oil.

Conspicuously absent from the national discourse is a political analysis of why the tragedy of 9/11 occurred and a comprehensive strategy to overhaul U.S. foreign policy to inoculate us from the wrath of those who despise American imperialism. The “Global War on Terror” has been uncritically accepted by most in this country. But terrorism is a tactic, not an enemy. You cannot declare war on a tactic. The way to combat terrorism is by identifying and targeting its root causes, including poverty, lack of education, and foreign occupation.

We might heed Canada’s warning that a broader mission, under the auspices of the United Nations instead of NATO, would be more effective. Our policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan should emphasize economic assistance for reconstruction, development and education, not for more weapons. The United States must refrain from further Predator missile strikes in Pakistan, and pursue diplomacy, not occupation. Nor should we be threatening war against Iran, which would also be illegal and result in an unmitigated disaster.

We should pursue diplomacy, not war, with Iran; end the U.S. occupation of Iraq; and withdraw our troops from Afghanistan.

If only Obama would read and heed this.


At war with Iran already - II

Acts of War

The war between the United States and Iran is on. American taxpayer dollars are being used, with the permission of Congress, to fund activities which result in Iranians being killed and wounded, and Iranian property destroyed. This wanton violation of a nation’s sovereignty would not be tolerated if the tables were turned and Americans were being subjected to Iranian-funded covert actions which took the lives of Americans, on American soil, and destroyed American property and livelihood. Many Americans remain unaware of what is transpiring abroad in their name. Many of those who are cognizant of these activities are supportive of them, an outgrowth of misguided sentiment which holds Iran accountable for a list of grievances used by the U.S. government to justify the ongoing global war on terror. Iran, we are told, is not just a nation pursuing nuclear weapons, but is the largest state sponsor of terror in the world today.
Much of the information behind this is being promulgated by Israel, which has a vested interest in seeing Iran neutralized as a potential threat. But Israel is joined by another source, even more puzzling in terms of its broad-based acceptance in the world of American journalism: the Mujahadeen-e Khalk, or MEK, an Iranian opposition group sworn to overthrow the theocracy in Tehran. The CIA today provides material support to the actions of the MEK inside Iran. The recent spate of explosions in Iran, including a particularly devastating “accident” involving a military convoy transporting ammunition in downtown Tehran, appears to be linked to an MEK operation; its agents working inside munitions manufacturing plants deliberately are committing acts of sabotage which lead to such explosions. If CIA money and planning support are behind these actions, the agency’s backing constitutes nothing less than an act of war on the part of the United States against Iran.
At war and where is the outcry?  Congress?  They are falling over backwards to help.  The media?  Silence.  The public?  Ritter has an answer :
One day, in the not-so-distant future, Americans will awake to the reality that American military forces are engaged in a shooting war with Iran. Many will scratch their heads and wonder, “How did that happen?” The answer is simple: We all let it happen. We are at war with Iran right now. We just don’t have the moral courage to admit it.


Martial Law?

Friday, July 25, 2008

House Democrats Bash Bush Over Abuse of Executive Power

After laying out a litany of charges against Bush, principally on the “illegal war for oil” in Iraq, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), the driving force behind today’s hearing, said Congress must act to remove Bush from office.

“The war was totally unnecessary, unprovoked and unjustified,” Kucinich said in his opening statement. “The question for Congress is this: What responsibility do the president and his administration have for that unnecessary, unprovoked and unjustified war?”

Kucinich said if lawmakers reviewed the issue, they could only come to the conclusion that it was needed.

“I ask this committee to think, and then to act, in order to enable this Congress to right a very great wrong and to hold accountable those who have misled this Nation,” Kucinich said.

Couldn't agree more that we must hold this regime accountable, but.... Would W, like a cornered rat, lash out and pull something out of his back pocket and declare martial law? Of course he would.

So let's just make sure he can do no more harm for the next six months and then, after January 20, try him as the criminal he is.


Oil men are loving global warming!

Riches In The Arctic: The New Oil Race

The future of the Arctic will be less white wilderness, more black gold, a new report on oil reserves in the High North has signalled this week. The first-comprehensive assessment of oil and gas resources north of the Arctic Circle, carried out by American geologists, reveals that underneath the ice, the region may contain as much as a fifth of the world’s undiscovered yet recoverable oil and natural gas reserves.0725 04 1
This includes 90 billion barrels of oil, enough to supply the world for three years at current consumption rates, or to supply America for 12, and 1,670 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas, which is equal to about a third of the world’s known gas reserves.
Could this be the reason so many in the regime either deny Global warming or do nothing about it?  Does Rush have a vested interest - an oil well firm all lined up?


Are we ready for the challenge?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Stop spending money on military weapons and endless wars and invest in sustaining our lives and Mother Earth.



No One Wins in a War

Barack Obama and John McCain continue to argue about war. McCain says to keep the troops in Iraq until we “win” and supports sending more troops to Afghanistan. Obama says to withdraw some (not all) troops from Iraq and send them to fight and “win” in Afghanistan.
For someone like myself, who fought in World War II, and since then has protested against war, I must ask: Have our political leaders gone mad? Have they learned nothing from recent history? Have they not learned that no one “wins” in a war, but that hundreds of thousands of humans die, most of them civilians, many of them children?
And yet we are looking to increase the tenor of war in some areas. Including Pakistan it seems.
In Afghanistan, the United States declared “victory” over the Taliban. Now the Taliban is back, and attacks are increasing. The recent US military death count in Afghanistan exceeds that in Iraq. What makes Obama think that sending more troops to Afghanistan will produce “victory”? And if it did, in an immediate military sense, how long would that last, and at what cost to human life on both sides?
We should be asking the presidential candidates: Is our war in Afghanistan ending terrorism, or provoking it? And is not war itself terrorism?
Zinn is asking. I am asking. Where are the other voices raising their cries for peace and sanity. Surges in Afghanistan are not the answer.


An unwinnable war!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Afghanistan as the New Iraq?

In dueling speeches today, Barack Obama and John McCain offered contrasting visions for the future of American foreign policy. But, both men also made clear that Afghanistan is a primary front in the war on terror and a battle that must be taken on and won.
"As president, I will make the fight against al-Qaeda and the Taliban the top priority that it should be," promised Obama in an address this morning in Washington, D.C. "This is a war that we have to win."
Say it ain't so, O. As has been stated before, other empires have lost in Afghanistan, why must it be the U.S. turn?


Code Red

Monday, July 14, 2008

President George W Bush Backs Israeli Plan for Strike on Iran

President George W Bush has told the Israeli government that he may be prepared to approve a future military strike on Iranian nuclear facilities if negotiations with Tehran break down, according to a senior Pentagon official. Despite the opposition of his own generals and widespread scepticism that America is ready to risk the military, political and economic consequences of an airborne strike on Iran, the president has given an “amber light” to an Israeli plan to attack Iran’s main nuclear sites with long-range bombing sorties, the official told The Sunday Times. “Amber means get on with your preparations, stand by for immediate attack and tell us when you’re ready,” the official said.
Sure the article goes on to say that Israel can expect no help from us (behind the scenes help, of course), and the light may never go green. But come on folks. W is licking his chops ready to strike - either directly or through an intermediary.

Where is the outrage Congress? Where is the outrage?


Time for a rEvolution

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Visited New York City yesterday, visiting a family member, and as I walked the clogged streets of shoppers and theater goers, the lines from Guthries' song rang in my ears.
This song was written in New York City, Of rich man, preacher and slave, But if Jesus was to preach like He preached in Galilee, They would lay Jesus Christ in His grave.
Amazing to see so many people spending cash like crazy. Didn't seem to think or care about the high gas prices, the war, the bottomed-out economy....

So is there hope for the world.? Can we all somehow say to the powers "Shut off half of the neon lights."? When I thought about this on the train back home I realized that the only hope is for a real rEvolution. But not one to topple this regime only to set up a leader who will create his/her won "regime." The rEvolution must start within ourselves.

What steps to take? Simplify one's life. Stop buying just for the sake of buying. Sure the new Apple phone may be the next best thing, but your existing cell phone still makes that call (and do you really have to talk so much on the phone?). Do with a little less.

Also eat and buy loclly. Grow your own food. It's easy. Join the Homegrown Revolution. You'll save money, eat healthier, and finally connect with where food really comes from.

When enough of us rEvolt, enough of us buy green (not as a status symbol but for reasons of ecology and health), enough of us start falling into the consumerist trap - a leader will recognize the movement and step forward to do the same for governmental agencies. That leader will not withdraw troops from Iraq to boost levels in Afghanistan (another no-win war - ask the Soviet Union who lost with a little help from the US). That leader will realize that it is not enough to drill for more oil, or create more ethanol - but to reduce consumption.

Is that leader out there? One to lead this nation, not for some political party, not for some vested interests, not for some power and prestige - but a love of the earth and all its creatures. Which brings me back to Woody's lyrics. Maybe before that leader, we all have to change first.


We supported Saddam years ago!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

And look what we did years later...
Will the U.S. Support Terrorists to Destabilize Iran?
Elements of the Bush administration have begun to resemble semi-insane Captain Queeg in "The Caine Mutiny" with regard to Iran. Reckless and obsessive to destroy Iran’s regime, they fondle their ball bearings, and pursue any scheme that they believe will get rid of the mullahs before the inauguration of the new American president in January 2009. In desperation, they have turned to supporting fringe-level ethnic separatists—all of whom are terrorists and enemies of the United States who are also hostile to Iran. This strategy is truly the last gasp of a failed Middle East policy. It is ill-conceived, and if continued, will foment continued violence in the region for years without affecting the Iranian regime in any significant way.
Seriously. Can't we get W's regime out before the summer is over?


WTF? Updated

Friday, July 04, 2008

Obama Tries To Clarify Position On Ending War
Democrat Barack Obama says he is not shifting his policy on troop withdrawals from Iraq, just hours after he said he was open to "refining" his policy.
"I have said throughout this campaign that this war was ill-conceived, that it was a strategic blunder and that it needs to come to an end," Obama said. "I have also said I would be deliberate and careful about how we get out. That position has not changed. I am not searching for maneuvering room with respect to that position."
"America, it is time to start bringing our troops home," he said. "It's time to admit that no amount of American lives can resolve the political disagreement that lies at the heart of someone else's civil war. "That's why I have a plan that will bring our combat troops home by March of 2008."
He said Thursday that on his first day in office he would summon the Joint Chiefs of Staff and "give them a new mission and that is to end this war, responsibly and deliberately, but decisively."
Obama told reporters Thursday that when he talked earlier about refining his policy, he was not referring to the 16-month timeline, but to how many troops may need to remain in Iraq to train the local army and police and what troop presence might be needed to ensure "al-Qaida doesn't re-establish a foothold there." He later acknowledged, however, that it is possible the 16-month timeline could slip if the pace of withdrawal needs to be slowed to ensure troop safety.
So do I feel better? I'll let you know when I see the troops out of there.



Thursday, July 03, 2008

Obama opens door to refining his Iraq policy

Democrat Barack Obama opened the door Thursday to refining his plan to bring U.S. troops home from Iraq in 16 months based on what he hears from military commanders during his upcoming trip there. "I am going to do a thorough assessment when I'm there," he told reporters on the airport tarmac here. "I'm sure I'll have more information and continue to refine my policy." During his presidential campaign, Obama has gone from the hard-edged, vocal opposition to Iraq that defined his early candidacy to more nuanced rhetoric that calls for a phased-out drawdown of all combat brigades that, at a rate of one or two a month, could last 16 months. He has said that if al-Qaida builds bases in Iraq, he would keep troops either in the country or the region to carry out "targeted strikes."
First rumors of him keeping Gates, now this.

Getting very worried!

Of course, better than Bomb Tehran John (at least I hope). But come on Barrack. Remember what we all want!


Even "Hollywood" is in the act

Okay, so maybe not Hollywood. But this just adds embers to the growing fire of "bomb Tehran" rhetoric. Hope Netflix doesn't carry this one.


Finally the word is out

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Peak Oil

What’s up with oil prices? Well, it’s not speculators, and there’s no relief in sight, meaning at least five more years of high prices with no easy fixes. The ugly truth? Peak oil isn’t fringe anymore—it’s going mainstream. That’s the reading from the latest oil market report from the International Energy Agency, the rich-country energy watchdog. The IEA’s latest x-ray of the oil market includes plenty of disturbing nuggets.
Supply simply can’t keep pace with demand—everybody with an oil well has the taps open, but there’s not much left in the keg. Oil fields are aging quicker than free-agent pitchers, and the global oil industry has to run faster just to stay in place
It is time for Peak Oil, the future that results from it, and plans we can/must take to become a part of everyday discussion. The question is: Will it?


Two Red Lines = Disaster

Pentagon Official Warns of Israeli Attack on Iran

A senior defense official told ABC News there is an "increasing likelihood" that Israel will carry out such an attack, a move that likely would prompt Iranian retaliation against, not just Israel, but against the United States as well.
The official identified two "red lines" that could trigger an Israeli offensive. The first is tied to when Iran's Natanz nuclear facility produces enough highly enriched uranium to make a nuclear weapon. According to the latest U.S. and Israeli intelligence assessments, that is likely to happen sometime in 2009, and could happen by the end of this year.
"The red line is not when they get to that point, but before they get to that point," the official said. "We are in the window of vulnerability."
The second red line is connected to when Iran acquires the SA-20 air defense system it is buying from Russia. The Israelis may want to strike before that system -- which would make an attack much more difficult -- is put in place. Some Pentagon officials also worry that Israel may be determined to attack before a new U.S. president, who may be less supportive, is sworn in next January.
These "red lines" portend a few things: a growing conflagaration, an even more rapid decline in oil, increased stress on economies and lives and the chance for W to declare MARTIAL LAW!
Let's hope those lines are invisible.


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