Dueling resolutions from Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner and Democratic House Representative Dennis Kucinich sparked a debate in Congress. The debate centered around the War Powers Act, the US Constitution and whether President Obama had violated the law by taking the United States into a war in Libya.
The Kucinich Resolution (H.R. Con. Res. 251) aimed to direct the president, pursuant to the War Powers Act, to remove all troops from Libya within fifteen days after the resolution was adopted. It was an attempt to force Congress to exercise the authority that it has under the Constitution to decide when and where troops are deployed for wars and whether or not wars should be launched.
In contrast, the Boehner Resolution (H.R. Con. Res. 292) was offered by Speaker Boehner to take the wind out of the sails of the growing bipartisan movement, consisting of anti-war Democrats and anti-interventionist Republicans, who were ready to assert Congress’ legislative authority and oppose the further expansion of the Executive by the Obama Administration that has taken place as a result of the Libya War.
The resolution brought by Rep. Kucinich failed 148-265. Speaker Boehner’s resolution passed 268-145.
Citizens of the United States today join in celebration of Memorial Day and honor those who have died in American wars from now all the way back to the American Civil War. It is the ninth consecutive Memorial Day during the “war on terrorism,” which was the Bush Administration’s response to the September 11 attacks. The “war on terror,” as the world knows, led to the Afghanistan and Iraq War and countless other covert military operations all aimed at rooting out terrorism.
The memories of war shared with veterans in communities are, of course, sanitized. Communities do not really tell the stories of war. Members of squads like the “Kill Teams” of Afghanistan do not share photos or cell phone videos they captured when they shot innocent civilians and posed with them. They do not talk about the glory of employing “enhanced interrogation techniques” or torture to gain, often, false information from detainees at Guantanamo or “black” prison sites to better prosecute the war against global terrorism. And probably few could be said to be telling real war stories, like the ones that can be found in the pages of the American literary classic by Tim O'Brien, The Things They Carried.
This date, March 19, 2011, marks the beginning of the ninth year of the US war in Iraq. The war, which began in 2003 with a bombing campaign of “shock and awe," has for years been more of an occupation than a war. Despite the fact that many believe the war is over (especially Americans), the US still has 47,000 troops in Iraq and, despite a 2011 withdrawal date, will likely continue to have tens of thousands of soldiers based in Iraq for years to come.
The past year has seen the world learn a great deal about the US war and occupation of Iraq. With the WikiLeaks release of US State Cables, the Iraq War Logs, and a “Collateral Murder” video showing US soldiers firing on journalists and innocent civilians from an Apache helicopter, the criminal nature of the war and occupation has become more evident. To mark the end of eight years of US troops in Iraq and the beginning of a ninth year, it is worth noting the many revelations on Iraq that have become known thanks to WikiLeaks.
On October 22, 2010, 390,000 field reports, which became known as the Iraq War Logs, showed the regular use of abuse, brutality and torture used on Iraqis by Iraqi Police and Iraqi Security Forces. The logs revealed, despite US claims, a tracking of civilian deaths had been going on, and, in fact, 66,000 civilian deaths (15,000 which were previously unknown) had occurred.
Aside from its own political and ideological conflicts, in 2004 Pakistan saw itself obligated to join a task force with the U.S. to fight Taliban and Al-Qaeda groups in its northern region. This created a relationship of mutual interests between the Pakistani political elite and U.S. military interests on the region - generally characterized by the hunt for Osama bin Laden and other terrorist leaders. This agreement seemed to complicate problems that already existed in Pakistan, mostly corruption in every sense, and a reliance on U.S. support also was originated. Based on leaked cables of U.S. Diplomacy, we selected some cases where this co-dependence shows its weaknesses and incapabilities to establish an honest and democratic Pakistan.
U.S. DRONE ATTACKS
A recent cable, from 2010, announces: “Jordan continues to face some of the most troubling challenges of King Abdullah's 10-year reign.¨ These problems are a deficit of USD 1.43 billion, unstable regional politics, originated from the continuous privilege of rural communities in the East Bank over urban communities with larger Palestinian populations, rigged elections and unequal political rights (09AMMAN813). The cables also reveal that this inequality is created by the government and pushed through by force: “The King's economic and political changes face domestic opposition from tribal leaders and an array of entrenched East Bank interests. The latter include many in the military, security services, and bureaucracy, who enjoy a disproportionate share of the current system”. (10AMMAN329).
According Amman News, Secretary General of the Popular Unity Party Saeed Dhiyab stated that “the clashes were instigated by a group of hooligans, and charged that security forces condoned the violence by not intervening to break out the fights”. The current unrest in Jordan seems to be -once again-, the response of the population towards a whole history of repression and injustice practiced by its government. The clashes started on the 18th of February in the capital, Amman, between protestors calling for political and economic reform, and a group for "Loyalty and Belonging" to King Abdullah II. The clash produced an unconfirmed number of victims. Foreign journalists reported violent threats to confiscate their cameras and the media is still gagged by the government.
Ekklesia asks for support for twenty-four year old medic Michael Lyons. On 17 December he lost his appeal to be allowed to leave the Royal Navy on grounds of conscience.
When he heard reports about civilian casualties, including children, he made an effort to find out more about the situation. ''I was unable to find a real, just and noble cause to go out but I still had a sense of duty to my country,'' he explained at his hearing.
Then WikiLeaks revelations alerted him to the fact that civilian casualties were far greater than had originally been reported. “'Examples included a convoy of marines tearing down a six-mile highway, firing at people with no discrimination.”
What is more, despite being a medic, he might not be allowed to treat everyone needing his help, and might even be called on to kill: “It seems from previous testimony and courses I've done that even going out as a medic with all good intention, if you're at a patrol base or forward operating base, it's likely you'll have to use your weapon and will have to turn civilians away who are in need of medical aid."
For those wondering why data previously in a system which allowed close to one million authorized users, currently in a world where the citizens of almost every country can view it, is being blocked only from the people serving in the military it concerns, this could be the reason. Please support Michael Lyons.
Jon Dillingham on the absence from the US public debate of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan:
"But we in the press often do Washington’s bidding: The politicians don’t talk about these things, so neither do we. We’ve rendered ourselves, and this entire exercise in democracy, null and void. We may prattle on about health care reform or human rights in China, but if the press and the public don’t push back against America’s crimes of aggression and the mass killing of innocents, then we’re nothing more than obscene jingoists.
Our silence, that of the people and the press, has quickened our country’s slide into what military historian Andrew Bacevich calls “permanent war.”"
Read the full article here: TruthDig
Hope and change. Two words almost synonymous with childhood. What great hope we had for change for the world’s children when Obama took office on January 20, 2009.
Or so we tell ourselves. It’s not really us, it’s the US, our prime minister will do anything the US tells him to, and so will the opposition. That’s not our fault, there’s 34 million of us and two of them, but we can’t control their behaviour, that’s just the way things work. Our MP’s don’t serve their constituents, they pledge allegiance to the queen and serve their party. Nothing would ever get done otherwise.
I’ve been feeling so conflicted about Remembrance Day. For years I have been telling myself to just remember the things I’m proud of, the feeling I got reading Rilla of Ingleside and hearing about the brave and innocent Canadian boys who went off in World Wars I and II to countries they had probably never heard of, just because they were told it was right and their duty. Sad, but very noble, and something missing from today’s mostly narcissistic society. Or I concentrate on the brave peacekeepers, medics, true journalists, etc., who are fighting for peace. And I smile and wear my poppy.
Omar Khadr was taken as a child from his home in Canada to fight the NATO invaders in Afghanistan. When he was 15, he was caught in a battle with US forces. He lost his vision in one eye, was shot in the back twice, and was confined in US torture camps from the time he was 15 until he was 24, without a trial, and without access to a lawyer for years.
After reading the horribly written NY Times advance review of ‘Obama’s Wars’, I have been wondering what the point is. When the NY Times comes out with their ‘official view’ articles, the ones full of spin, choppy quotes, and third party innuendo, the ones which allow no reader comments, there is always a point. What is it we are being set up to accept this time?
For anyone currently looking at the foreign and domestic policies of the USA, and feeling confused, sick, and disoriented, I highly recommend a reading or re-reading of the amazingly prescient Hunter S. Thompson’s novel, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. It explains everything. Only by imagining a large percentage of the US population (and many elsewhere) in a paranoid, delusional, occasionally euphoric high, seeing shoe bombing Muslims and pothead Canadians around every corner, can I begin to understand the people supporting US policy.
When you hear these four magic words, think; am I about to be emotionally manipulated here? Is someone perhaps going to use my visceral reaction to these terms to push something past me that I would never usually consider? Because probably, yes.
Why are people still thinking they will have peace in their lifetimes by sitting passively? Nothing in Obama’s own words indicate that. He is very openly pursuing an endlessly escalating war on ever changing fronts as the US takes advantage of ‘the limitless possibilities’ to be ‘the leader of the free world’. People who are expecting peace, this year, this decade, ever, I am not seeing plans for it. Unless you consider living in the grip of ‘the finest fighting force in the history of the world’ to be peace.
These are Obama’s own words.