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Should we have a “war on terror”?

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Candidate John Edwards offers a thoughtful foreign policy speech, including:

The war on terror is a slogan designed only for politics, not a strategy to make America safe.
It’s a bumper sticker, not a plan.

Hmm. Think of what we expect when a crisis becomes a war. In war, bombs are dropped. Armies invade. Civil rights are limited. Calling it a war means “it’s now a military campaign.”

But if it’s a crisis without the war label, military action remains the last resort. Diplomacy—through a host of channels—takes the lead. Aren’t we hearing from every expert and commission that diplomacy is exactly what we’ve lacked? Edwards again:

… The so-called “war” has created even more terrorism–as we have seen so tragically in Iraq. The State Department itself recently released a study showing that worldwide terrorism has increased 25% in 2006, including a 40% surge in civilian fatalities. …

The “war” metaphor has … failed because it exaggerates the role of only one instrument of American power–the military. … Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

June 4, 2007 at 11:37 am

Posted in Iran, Iraq, Islam, Politics, Terrorism

US General: Bush Administration committed war crimes, must be held accountable

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MG TagubaYou may remember Major General Antonia Taguba, USA (Retired); he headed up the Abu Ghraib abuse investigation, carefully and openly laying out the details before Congress in 2004.  The Pentagon was not pleased;  Taguba appears to have been coerced into retirement as a result.

Yesterday, Physicians for Human Rights released a new report, “outlining the medical evidence of torture perpetrated by the United States.”  Maj. Gen. Taguba wrote the preface.  His statements of fact—coming, as they do, from a top-level military investigator—are startling.  Apparently, America is long overdue for a reckoning with justice.

I reprint it in full (from Truthout), below.  The full Physicians for Human Rights report can be read at their website.
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Preface to Broken Laws, Broken Lives

By Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba, USA (Retired)

This report tells the largely untold human story of what happened to detainees in our custody when the Commander-in-Chief and those under him authorized a systematic regime of torture. This story is not only written in words: It is scrawled for the rest of these individuals’ lives on their bodies and minds. Our national honor is stained by the indignity and inhumane treatment these men received from their captors.

The profiles of these eleven former detainees, none of whom were ever charged with a crime or told why they were detained, are tragic and brutal rebuttals to those who claim that torture is ever justified. Through the experiences of these men in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, we can see the full scope of the damage this illegal and unsound policy has inflicted – both on America’s institutions and our nation’s founding values, which the military, intelligence services, and our justice system are duty-bound to defend.

Bush, Rumsfeld, CheneyIn order for these individuals to suffer the wanton cruelty to which they were subjected, a government policy was promulgated to the field whereby the Geneva Conventions and the Uniform Code of Military Justice were disregarded. The UN Convention Against Torture was indiscriminately ignored. And the healing professions, including physicians and psychologists, became complicit in the willful infliction of harm against those the Hippocratic Oath demands they protect.

After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts, and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.

The former detainees in this report – each of whom is fighting a lonely and difficult battle to rebuild his life – require reparations for what they endured, comprehensive psycho-social and medical assistance, and even an official apology from our government.

But most of all, these men deserve justice as required under the tenets of international law and the United States Constitution.

And so do the American people.


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Written by Monte

June 19, 2008 at 2:05 pm

What war has stolen from us

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My father shook hands with General Eisenhower near an olive grove, somewhere in north Africa. Troops had been standing in the hot sun in formation, waiting for the General’s aircraft, for hours. Eisenhower ordered them at ease, and walked and chatted among farm boys and city kids like an uncle. Dad couldn’t believe his humility and unpretentiousness, and became a pretty loyal Eisenhower Republican after the war. My dad would have been eighty-nine this week.

And just today, half a century later, my friend Ratilfar at ClipMarks dropped this visionary Eisenhower quote on me:

EisenhowerEvery gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

May 12, 2008 at 3:37 pm

Posted in Politics

Pat Buchanan: McCain would be a War President

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clipped from www.globalresearch.ca

McCain win would mean war with Iran

McCainMSNBC’s Joe Scarborough asked old-line conservative Pat Buchanan about McCain’s remarks, saying, “He talked about promising that more wars were coming. … Is he so desperate to get off the economic issue?

Pat Buchanan replied that McCain never used the word “promise” but simply said there would be more wars, and that from McCain’s point of view, “that is straight talk. … You get John McCain in the White House, and I do believe we will be at war with Iran.”

“That’s one of the things that makes me very nervous about him,” Buchanan went on.

“There’s no doubt John McCain is going to be a war president. … His whole career is wrapped up in the military, national security. He’s in Putin’s face, he’s threatening the Iranians, we’re going to be in Iraq a hundred years.”

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Me too, Pat.

Look, has this war been a good thing?

Do we want more? More dead soldiers? More traumatized children? More PTSD? More amputations? More brain injuries? More divorces? More suicides? More billions for bombs? More arming the world? More Abu Ghraibs? More international hatred? More world dominance?

McCain, if so, is apparently our choice. And unfortunately, most of the remaining candidates seem more preoccupied with talking tough than with calculating—à la Colin Powell—the human cost of Round 2.

For too long, Americans have said, “Presidents know things that we can’t know; if they think we must go to war, we should support them.” But presidents have taken us to combat dozens of times in the last fifty years. How many conflicts can you name that Americans would have supported, had they known the whole story? Precious few.

Perhaps we should refuse to elect people who assume war is inevitable. Why see suffering as a done deal?


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Written by Monte

January 30, 2008 at 2:36 pm

UN inspector: US on brink of war with Iran

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“Like flicking matches” at gasoline: Scott Ritter, UN weapons inspector who opposed the Iraq invasion (and was correct about the absence of WMD), believes Bush is prepping for another war. Click through on the link for details.
clipped from www.commondreams.org
0120 05 1Scott Ritter, one of the former United Nations inspectors who didn’t find any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, denounced the Bush administration for going to war with WMDs as the primary rationale in March 2003. Now he fears the United States is on the brink of war with Iran.Ritter points to a military buildup in the region, the so-called threats to the U.S. Navy from Iranian speed boats last week and a U.S. Senate resolution that labels elements of Iran as a terrorist organization.“It’s like filling up a house with gasoline and flicking matches at the door,” Ritter said. “Sooner or later it will connect.”. . .

His conclusion: “What’s really going on is a road map for global domination. The war in Iraq initiated a long-term strategy neo conservatives have been formulating to divide the world into spheres of influence and dominate them economically, militarily and diplomatically.”
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Written by Monte

January 20, 2008 at 9:01 pm

Posted in Iran, Iraq, Politics