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Category Archives: Afghanistan

Obama’s speech on drones and Gitmo is a repackaging of permanent war


MQ-9 Reaper flies above Creech AFB during a local training mission.  (Photo by Paul Ridgeway; attained from Wikipedia)

MQ-9 Reaper flies above Creech AFB during a local training mission. (Photo by Paul Ridgeway; attained from Wikipedia)

Recently, President Barack Obama gave a speech about his counterterrorism strategy at National Defense University. In it, he justified his targeted killing policy and drone strikes of suspected terrorists around the world. He also announced his plan to finally shut down Guantanamo Bay prison.

The speech is lauded by many as a signal that President Obama wants to end the War on Terror. But the speech was full of clever sophistry and Orwellian doublespeak that made it seem like the perpetual war was ending just as it’s being institutionalized and normalized. In essence, it was a repackaging of America’s targeted killing program and system of permanent war. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Secret “white paper” justifies assassinating American citizens — entrenching permanent war


Predator drone fires a Hellfire missile (Source: Wikipedia)

Predator drone fires a Hellfire missile (Source: Wikipedia)

On Monday, NBC News reported on a leaked Department of Justice “white paper” summarizing memos that make the Obama administration’s legal case for targeted killing of U.S. citizens suspected of links to al-Qaeda or “associated forces”. In September of 2011, the Obama administration launched a drone strike against alleged al-Qaeda leaders Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan in Yemen, both of whom were U.S. citizens. Neither was charged or convicted of any crime. In fact, Yemen experts raised doubts about how operational al-Awlaki was in al-Qaeda.

Two weeks later, al-Awlaki’s 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, was killed in another drone strike, even though he was not charged or convicted of any crime. It is very likely that he wasn’t the intended target. In fact, one Obama administration official called the strike that killed Abdulrahman “an outrageous mistake…. They were going after the guy sitting next to him.” Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Obama’s first-term record of militarism


Photo Credit (source): No Lies Radio

The long and drawn out 2012 presidential election is finally over and President Barack Obama was reelected. Shortly after he was reelected, Obama launched another drone strike in Yemen — a harbinger of what’s to come in his second term. It is worth going through Obama’s foreign policy during the past four years in order to assess what he’s done and understand what the future holds.

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Speech: “Imperialism, racism, and torture”


This is the text of a speech I gave at a panel Stanford Says No to War hosted called “It’s All About U.S.: Questioning U.S. Militarism”. This speech was given on May 26th, 2010 and is the last speech I gave at Stanford.

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During the Nuremberg Trials, the chief American prosecutor, Robert H. Jackson, famously stated: “To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” America has a long history of war and its accumulated evils. It began as thirteen small colonies that sat along the Atlantic coast. In over a century, the United States expanded all the way to the Pacific Ocean – from sea to shining sea. The process was not pretty. It involved the genocide of the native Americans and the enslavement of millions of black Africans whose free labor was needed to fuel the American capitalist economy. At the dawn of the twentieth century, the United States began to colonize other lands, such as Hawaii, the Philippines and Cuba. Since then, it has occupied and militarily intervened in several parts of the globe, such as in Latin America, Southeast Asia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East. And let’s not forget the many democratically-elected leaders America overthrew in places like Chile and Iran. The United States currently occupies two countries – Iraq and Afghanistan – and has a network of over 700 bases across the planet. Thus, the United States is an empire. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Crimes of war and the need for justice


It is essentially common knowledge that Iraq posed no imminent threat to the United States. Iraq possessed no stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction and had no connection to al-Qaeda or 9/11, thus, discrediting the Bush administration’s justifications for war. Since the invasion was not authorized by the United Nations Security Council nor waged in self-defense against an imminent threat, the invasion of Iraq was an unlawful use of force (see Art. 39 and 51 of the Charter of the United Nations). In other words, the war in Iraq was a crime against peace and a war of aggression. The Nuremberg Principles (Art. 6) define “crime against peace” as “namely, planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances, or participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the foregoing”. The Judgment of the Nuremberg Tribunal famously stated that “to initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” Upon waging war with another country, the consequences of that initial act of aggression are various forms of human suffering. This includes, but is not limited to, torture, rape, mass murder, and the intentional or unintentional killing of civilians. This has evil has manifested in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Goldman Sachs, the economy, torture, human rights, and war – a collection of thoughts (Part 2)


Here’s Part 2:

TORTURE/HUMAN RIGHTS/WAR:

When it comes to torture, war and human rights, the United States recently unveiled its extended Afghanistan prison at Bagram airbase. Clara Gutteridge, an investigator on secret prisons for human rights organization, Reprieve, told Al-Jazeera that while the U.S. claims that this prison is supposed to more open and transparent, the government refuses to release a list of names of prisoners who are Bagram and none of them have access to a lawyer. However, she does says, “But one thing that the US government is saying is that Afghan prisoners in Afghanistan have less rights than any other prisoner which just seems absurd.” Read the rest of this entry »

 
 
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