- Peace Garden: 11/01/2009 - 12/01/2009


Thursday, November 26, 2009

U.S. will not join treaty banning landmines:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama has no plans to join a global treaty banning landmines because a policy review found the United States could not meet its security commitments without them, the State Department said on Tuesday.

'This administration undertook a policy review and we decided that our land mine policy remains in effect,' spokesman Ian Kelly told a briefing five days before a review conference in Cartegena, Colombia on the 10-year-old Mine Ban Treaty.

'We determined that we would not be able to meet our national defense needs nor our security commitments to our friends and allies if we signed this convention,' he said.

It was the first time the administration had publicly disclosed the decision.

The treaty bans the use, stockpiling, production or transfer of antipersonnel mines. It has been endorsed by 156 countries, but the United States, Russia, China and India have not adopted it.

U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, a leading advocate for the treaty, called the decision 'a default of U.S. leadership.'

'It is a lost opportunity for the United States to show leadership instead of joining with China and Russia and impeding progress,' Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, said in a statement.



Tuesday, November 17, 2009

CA Dems to Obama: Get Out of Afghanistan:

The California Democratic Party just sent a loud message to President Obama, who is pondering the next U.S. move in Afghanistan: Get out.

The state's Dems have gone on record with a Get Out message before -- like at their confab last summer. But this one is more specific. And bolder. Marin County activist and media critic Norman Solomon passes on that the CDP's 300-member statewide exec board passed a resolution Sunday called: 'End the U.S. Occupation and Air War in Afghanistan.' You can find the resolution here.

Update: CA Dem Party czar John Burton just called to weigh in on this. He says Obama has two choices now: Go all in and give Gen. Stanley McChrystal what he wants or begin a pullout.

The politics of it, according to Burton: If Obama proposes something less than what McChyrstal wants and the mission goes sideways, 'The Republicans will pound him for it.'

'It's not going to work over there,' Burton told us. 'You've got a corrupt government. The guy put together a ticket of drug lords and war lords.'

Plus, Burton said he 'doesn't have a lot of confidence' in McChyrstal after the general's role in the misclassification of Pat Tillman's death.

Burton remembers when a forerunner of the Cal Dem Party opposed LBJ's oversight of the Vietnam War -- soon thereafter its leader was bounced. As for whether he expects any other state party organizations to follow suit. 'I hope so,' he said. 'We just do what we do.'

Writes Norman Solomon:

'The resolution supports 'a timetable for withdrawal of our military personnel' and calls for 'an end to the use of mercenary contractors as well as an end to air strikes that cause heavy civilian casualties.' Advocating multiparty talks inside Afghanistan, the resolution also urges Obama 'to oversee a redirection of our funding and resources to include an increase in humanitarian and developmental aid.'

'While Obama weighs Afghanistan policy options, the California Democratic Party's adoption of the resolution is the most tangible indicator yet that escalation of the U.S. war effort can only fuel opposition within the president's own party -- opposition that has already begun to erode his political base.'


Cheney returns

Monday, November 09, 2009

Cheney urges strong U.S. commitment to Afghan war: BE

NTON HARBOR, Michigan - Former Vice President Dick Cheney on Thursday urged President Barack Obama to commit enough troops to win the war in Afghanistan, warning hesitation would embolden U.S. foes and devastate its allies.

'I don't see how he can do anything other than move aggressively to achieve victory,' the Wyoming Republican, a harsh critic of the new administration, said in a speech to a Michigan business group.

'Our adversaries take heart from our hesitation and vacillation,' Cheney said.

'Our not following through will have devastating consequences not only for Afghanistan but also for our NATO allies. This is the first time ever (NATO members have) committed troops to combat.'

Two questions:
- Can wars ever be won?

- Who asked Uncle Dick's opinion? Who cares about his opinion?


Bring them home

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Obama Leaning Toward 34,000 More Troops for Afghanistan:

by Jonathan S. Landay, John Walcott and Nancy A. Youssef

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama is nearing a decision to send more than 30,000 additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan next year, but he may not announce it until after he consults with key allies and completes a trip to Asia later this month, administration and military officials have told McClatchy.

As it now stands, the administration's plan calls for sending three Army brigades from the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Ky. and the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, N.Y. and a Marine brigade, for a total of as many as 23,000 additional combat and support troops.

read more

Wrong answer. Unless you are sending them there to pack the bags and bring the others home.


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