Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Stop US Attacks on Pakistan, Contract Not Expand the Empire

No U.S. Escalation in Pakistan: A Petition for Diplomacy Now!
September 28, 2011 Issue 62 

Published by Tom Hayden, The Peace Exchange Bulletin is a reader-supported journal, critically following the Pentagon's Long War in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq, as well as the failed U.S. wars on drugs and gangs, and U.S. military responses to nationalism and poverty around the world.
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Tom Hayden
No U.S. Escalation in Pakistan
A Petition for Diplomacy Now!

An unmanned US Predator drone. (AFP, Bonny Schoonakker)
We, the undersigned, urge President Obama to keep his June 20, 2009 promise that "we have no intention of sending United States troops into Pakistan."

We oppose the looming threat of US cross-border raids into Pakistan, as well as the continued escalation of drone strikes. Peace cannot be won by lopsided Western military intervention, but only by negotiated compromise and regional diplomacy. As Pakistani journalist Zahid Hussain concludes, "a political settlement is the only endgame."

As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan gradually wind down, now is the time to de-escalate the US war in Pakistan and adopt a diplomatic exit strategy.

Instead, the US is on the verge of sending ground troops into Pakistan as well as escalating its aerial drone attacks.

We call for bipartisan Congressional hearings to recommend a Pakistan peace strategy to the administration.
Continue reading and sign the petition...
An Expanding War in Pakistan
270 Drone Strikes and Counting

U.S. Drone Strikes in Pakistan, 2004-2011. (New America Foundation)

Slowly but surely, the United States is creeping deeper and deeper into a disastrous war in Pakistan. The peace movement and its political and media allies need to be ready. There is a growing community of activists and journalists already protesting and documenting the aerial drone wars over Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, and Libya. But the debate about drones cannot be isolated from the context of their use in the Long War as a substitute for American ground troops and in response to peace pressure from the American public.
The peace movement could lose the debate if drones are seen in purely moral or economic terms, or as a loss of democratic transparency, important though these perspectives may be. The fact is, however, that the use of drones will endanger American lives and security as they inevitably provoke violent counter-attacks, such as those of December 25, 2009 (Detroit Metro Airport), February 2010 (guilty pleas in New York subway bombing plot), and May 1, 2010 (Times Square). The US already has a secret contingency plan to strike at 150 sites, nearly all in Pakistan, if another incident occurs that is traceable to any Pakistani source. 
Continue reading...
In This Issue
Petition: No U.S. Escalation in Pakistan
An Expanding War in Pakistan
Getting Afghanistan Straight
Debating J Street
War and Financial Crisis
Going Through Withdrawals
Obama: End the Wars, Tax the Rich
Direct Action Campaign
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The United States and Torture
By Marjorie Cohn 

A detailed overview from NYU Press, The United States and Torture by Marjorie Cohn is one of the few works linking torture abroad with the  techniques exposed in American prisons and police departments.
"With hopes we can bring the torture team to justice," says Cohn, now a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, in San Diego.

Getting Afghanistan Straight
US is Intervening in Civil War

Map of Afghan Ethnicities (Congressional Research Service)
The mainstream media has defaulted by its failure to report Afghanistan as basically a civil war in which the US and NATO are intervening powers, cloaking their operations under the cover of the United Nations Assistance Program.

The danger of escalating civil war - perhaps prompting calls for further Western intervention - is the crucial context for understanding the latest crisis, the September 20 assassination of Afghanistan's former president and chief diplomat in charge of stalled peace talks, Burhanuddin Rabbani.

Continue reading...
Debating J Street
The Palestinian UN Bid

"There is a reason the Palestinians are pursuing their interests at the United Nations. They recognize that there is an impatience with the peace process, or the absence of one, not just in the Arab world, in Latin America, in Asia and in Europe." 
- President Barack Obama, speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), May 22, 2011

In lobbying to block the Obama administration from supporting UN recognition of a Palestinian state, AIPAC and the so-called Israel Lobby may have sidelined the US as the world moves forward anyway. It is too early to predict, but the Arab bloc, Turkey, most Latin American governments and several major European states are poised to endorse the Palestinian bid.

Continue reading...
War and Financial Crisis
Linda Bilmes & Joseph Stiglitz in the LA Times 

Linda Bilmes and Joseph Stiglitz have added a key link to the current debt crisis in their continuing criticism of the costs of war. See their analysis in the Los Angeles Times on September 18.

Continue reading...
Going Through Withdrawals
Jonesing in Afghanistan and Iraq
A US soldier observes a bombing strike during a firefight in Kunar Province. (Erik De Castro/Reuters)
American combat in Iraq and Afghanistan is ending. Not that flare-ups, implosions and dramas aren't ahead. Not that blood won't be spilled. Not that drones won't attack from the skies of Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and beyond. Not that secret ops won't happen, or American advisers won't be embedded in obscure places.

But the will, the force, and the momentum sustaining American combat troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are in definite decline as President Obama orders the pullout of 33,000 troops from Afghanistan and ponders whether to leave a minimal force of 3-4,000 in Iraq.

Continue reading...
End the Wars, Tax the Rich

President Obama is framing the deficit debate around two core initiatives, winding down the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire.

Both approaches are within Obama's executive power to carry out, independent of the Tea Party, corporate Democrats or Congress factions.

Continue reading...
Direct Action Campaign
Beginning October 6 

New York police already are harassing, arresting, and pepper-spraying non-violent peace and justice protesters as they begin to occupy public squares in Washington and around the country. Thousands are expected to be arrested.
For information on the campaign, please visit October 2011.

For PJRC analysis of police actions against street protests, please read, "New FBI Raids: Millions More in Taxes, But Where's the Threat?"

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