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Category Archives: Iraq

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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The Iraq war was not a mistake — it was a crime


U.S. Marine tank in Baghdad, April 14, 2003. Photo source: Wikipedia

U.S. Marine tank in Baghdad, April 14, 2003.
Photo source: Wikipedia

As American combat troops left Iraq in December 2011, at that point, the war was largely forgotten by the American public. What remains in public memory are retrospectives of the war, especially on its ten-year anniversary. The dominant narrative is that the Iraq war was a mistake because of the lies or “faulty intelligence” that were used to justify it, costs to the United States, and the strategic folly of invading the country in the first place. However, the war was more than a mistake — it was a crime. Portraying the war as a mistake does three pernicious things: downplay the gravity of the crime, does not question the premises of militarism and permanent war, and perpetuates the myth of American benevolence. Cumulatively, these retrospectives amount to a gross revision of history. 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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Obama’s Middle East speech…nothing new here


President Barack Obama’s speech about recent developments in the Middle East was unimpressive. He proclaimed the U.S. supports democracy and “universal rights” but given the U.S.’s practice of torture and occupation of two countries, that proclamation is hypocritical. Obama said that the United States supports the current Arab uprisings. Yet, the U.S. was late in supporting the Egyptian uprising since the tyrant being overthrown — Hosni Mubarak — was a key U.S. ally. The U.S. supported the revolution when it was clear that Mubarak was going to leave. Obama talked about Libyan dictator Colonel Muammar al-Qaddafi’s violence against his own people, which justified U.S./NATO intervention. Qaddafi has a long history of repression but that did not stop the U.S. government from using Libya as a rendition destination for detainees to be tortured, which is illegal. Obama was also reluctant to support the Bahraini uprising and accused Iran of meddling in the country. However, Iran is not militarily occupying Bahrain — Saudi Arabia is, a U.S. ally. Bahrain is another key U.S. ally, home to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, securing American influence in the oil-rich Gulf. Hence, the reluctance. As for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Obama said nothing new. He lectured the Palestinians to not use terrorism, stop delegitimizing Israel and called for a de-militarized (i.e., defenseless) Palestinian state along the 1967 borders — just like Bush. Israel, on the other hand, gets continued U.S. support for its security interests but “must act boldly” to advance peace — whatever that means. The core issues of settlement expansion, right of return for Palestinian refugees and the future of Jerusalem were left unaddressed. Overall, Obama’s speech was unimpressive, hypocritical and a regurgitation of tired political platitudes.

 

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MI5 Chief told Blair that Iraq posed no threat – evidence for accountability


The Christian Science Monitor recently reported that Britain’s former director of MI5 Eliza Manningham-Buller (from 2002 to 2007), in her testimony to Britain’s Chilcot Inquiry panel, “harshly criticized the 2003 invasion of Iraq” (MI5 is Britain’s domestic intelligence agency, which is similar to the FBI in the United States). According to the article, MI5 “warned that Saddam Hussein had no known links to Al Qaeda, that Iraq posed little threat, and that some in a generation of British Muslims had been radicalized by the action”. This is a serious blow to the Bush administration’s justifications for invading Iraq. Read the rest of this entry »

 
 
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