LEFT OF DAYTON

Afghan War: A Time of Great Discontent Looming: Obama’s Wars

January 7, 2009
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The true measure of a man is what he does with the promises
he makes. During last years presidential race I remained
skeptical about all of the candidates. Heard it, seen it
 before. Would Obama be a further disappointment as well?
His unwavering& uncritical support for Israel and a
willingness to escalate the US military involvement  in
Afghanistan have particularly troubled me. It really sounds
simplistic, but really, war is NOT the answer. In today's
NY Times the columnist  Bob Herbert writes about The Afghan
Quagmire [http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/06/opinion/06herbert.html?th&emc=th]
and, on the Huffington Post, Tom Hayden offers an even
broader perspective.Will Obama piss of theprogressive/populist/left
base that helped put him in office? I hope not. At the same
time we cannot simply sit back and not be critical of
looming errors in judgment that could derail a much broader
agenda of hope and change.

Afghan War: A Time of Great Discontent Looming: Obama's Wars
By Tom Hayden
January 6, 2009

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tom-hayden/obamas-wars_b_155669.html

On January 21, President Barack Obama will take
personal responsibility for the wars in Afghanistan and
Pakistan launched under President Bush. The Afghan-
Pakistan war is uniquely Democratic in origin, however.
Since John Kerry's 2004 campaign, hawkish Democratic
security and political consultants have asserted that
Afghanistan is a good and necessary war in comparison
with Iraq which they label a diversionary one.

This argument has allowed Democrats to be critical of
the Iraq War without diminishing their standing as
hawks who will employ force to hunt down Al Qaeda. As a
result, the rank-and-file base of the Democratic Party,
and public opinion in general, remains divided and
confused over Afghanistan. As a result, opponents of
the Afghanistan escalation remain at the margins
politically for now, although backed by a healthy
public skepticism given the Iraq experience. (more…)

President Obama’s Foreign Policy: The Change We Really Want?

November 27, 2008
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After nearly 40 years on the left side of the political spectrum I’ve come to expect disappointment and betrayal from the Democratic party. I am a skeptical member of that party. I want to have “hope”  for a better vision of the world my kids will grow up in.. I was impressed by Obama’s campaign and the outpouring of street level support for him. I was impressed with his speech at 5th Third Field. On the other hand John McCain was anathema, definitely not a good choice for President, so I voted for Obama. I did so knowing full well Obama is not the “democratic messiah”
So what do we do now? How does the amorphous movement of people
Maintain influence with the new President? What is the best path for progressives to follow? The article re posted below is one vision, focused on the critical question of what Obama’s foreign policy is going to look like. It’s long, but well worth the time. Expect more on this important debate.
_____________________________________________________________________________
November 26, 2008 By Joanne Landy jlandy@igc.org
Source: New Politics
Joanne Landy’s ZSpace Page

With the election of Barack Obama, millions in the United States and around the world are hoping for relief from the dangerous arrogance and destructiveness of George Bush’s foreign policy. President Obama is expected to take important positive initiatives — like closing Guantanamo and lifting the rule denying international organizations receiving U.S. aid the right to let women know about abortion. When the inevitable right-wing reaction to these initiatives comes, it will be crucial for us in the peace movement to defend them. On some broader questions, there is a chance that with strong continuing popular pressure — from both within and outside the United States — the pre-election hopes of many Obama supporters can be realized on issues such as an end to the war in Iraq or stepping back from Bush’s attempt to install “missile defense” in Poland and the Czech Republic. (more…)


Obama, Ask the Kremlin about Robert Gates

November 25, 2008
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Nearly 16 years ago, during the last transition from a President Bush to a Democrat, Moscow made an extraordinary gesture to Washington: The Kremlin supplied a summary of its intelligence information about secret U.S.-Iranian contacts in the 1980s.

The report was from a national security committee of the Russian Duma to Rep. Lee Hamilton, who had requested what might be in Moscow’s files as part of a task force investigation into whether the Reagan-Bush campaign in 1980 had interfered with President Jimmy Carter’s bid to free 52 American hostages then held in Iran.

The Russian report arrived late, via the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, showing up on Jan. 11, 1993, but the contents were stunning. The Russians reported that their intelligence revealed that long-rumored meetings between Republicans and Iranians in Europe during Campaign 1980 had indeed occurred. (more…)


VA Debated PR Plan on Vets’ Suicides/By Jason Leopold

April 22, 2008
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Senior officials at the Veterans Administration debated internally how to downplay evidence of a stunning number of suicides and suicide attempts among veterans who were treated or had sought help at VA hospitals around the country, according to newly disclosed internal VA e-mails.

On Feb. 13, 2008, Ira Katz, the VA’s mental health director, and Ev Chasen, the agency’s chief communications director, exchanged e-mails discussing P.R. strategy for handling this troubling news, according to evidence made public Monday in a federal court case in Northern California.

The exchange came in the context of how to handle inquiries from CBS News, which was reporting on the surge of suicides among U.S. veterans – reaching an average of 18 per day – with part of that rise attributed to soldiers returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. (more…)


Unraveling Iraq:12 Answers to Questions No One Is Bothering to Ask about Iraq/By Tom Engelhardt

April 21, 2008
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12 Answers to Questions No One Is Bothering to Ask about Iraq

By Tom Engelhardt

Can there be any question that, since the invasion of 2003, Iraq has been unraveling? And here’s the curious thing: Despite a lack of decent information and analysis on crucial aspects of the Iraqi catastrophe, despite the way much of the Iraq story fell off newspaper front pages and out of the TV news in the last year, despite so many reports on the “success” of the President’s surge strategy, Americans sense this perfectly well. In the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll, 56% of Americans “say the United States should withdraw its military forces to avoid further casualties” and this has, as the Post notes, been a majority position since January 2007, the month that the surge was first announced. Imagine what might happen if the American public knew more about the actual state of affairs in Iraq — and of thinking in Washington. So, here, in an attempt to unravel the situation in ever-unraveling Iraq are twelve answers to questions which should be asked far more often in this country:

1. Yes, the war has morphed into the U.S. military’s worst Iraq nightmare: Few now remember, but before George W. Bush launched the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, top administration and Pentagon officials had a single overriding nightmare — not chemical, but urban, warfare. Saddam Hussein, they feared, would lure American forces into “Fortress Baghdad,” as Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld labeled it. There, they would find themselves fighting block by block, especially in the warren of streets that make up the Iraqi capital’s poorest districts. (more…)


McCain Shows Us How to Kill an Army/By Sara Robinson

April 17, 2008
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McCain Shows Us How to Kill an Army

By Sara Robinson, TomPaine.com
Posted on April 17, 2008, Printed on April 17, 2008

John McCain, who from the early 1980s worked hard to establish himself as one of the Senate’s shining champions of Vietnam veterans’ issues, completed his betrayal of the Iraq-era troops today. Brandon Friedman of vetvoice.com has the details:

Yesterday VoteVets.org delivered a petition with 30,000 signatures to the office of Sen. John McCain. Through that petition, we asked him to support Sen. Jim Webb’s new GI Bill. And less than 24 hours later, we have an answer:

“Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, seemed to give a thumbs down to bipartisan legislation that would greatly expand educational benefits for members of the military returning from Iraq and Afghanistan under the GI Bill …”

The reason for McCain’s refusal to support the bill is about the most disturbing rationale one could imagine. … Officials in charge of Pentagon personnel worry that a more generous and expansive GI Bill would create an incentive for troops to get out of the military and go to college.

Friedman observes that McCain’s no-college-for-grunts position essentially says to the troops: “Thanks for your service and your three combat tours in five years. Now get back to work.” (more…)


“BODY OF WAR”, PHIL DONAHUE DOCUMENTARY, COMING TO NEON MOVIES, DAYTON, MAY 30

April 10, 2008
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Phil Donahue’s new documentary, “Body of War”, will be

at the NEON MOVIES downtown Dayton beginning on May

30 for an Open Run.  Check www.NeonMovies.com for

dates and times.

The interview linked below is with the

wheelchair-bound protagonist in the film, Tomas Young,

member of Iraq Vets Against the War.

VIDEO | Interview With Tomas Young of Film “Body of War”


http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/040808A.shtml


Truthout’s Geoffrey Millard interviews Tomas Young, Iraq veteran and subject of the new film “Body of War.” Young discusses the extreme difficulties of his injury and having incurred them in a war he feels was not worth fighting. Accompanying the interview is a review of the film by Camilla Herrera of Greenwich Time.


IS THE WAR IN IRAQ/AFGHANISTAN OFF THE RADAR?? Where is the Outrage??

April 8, 2008
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The Polls say we Americans overwhelmingly think that we never should have gone into Iraq and that nearly half of us say we need to get out within a year.

That’s the polls.

Visble manifestations of that oppostion seem to be far and few between.

CBS News/New York Times Poll. March 28-April 2, 2008. N=1,368 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3 (for all adults).

Looking back, do you think the United States did the right thing in taking military action against Iraq, or should the U.S. have stayed out?”

.

Right Thing Stayed Out Unsure
% % %

ALL adults

34 62 4

Republicans

68 26 6

Democrats

13 85 2

Independents

32 62 6

“From what you know about the U.S. involvement in Iraq, how much longer would you be willing to have large numbers of U.S. troops remain in Iraq: less than a year, one to two years, two to five years or longer than five years?”

.

Less Than
A Year
One to Two
Years
Two to Five
Years
Longer Than
Five Years
Other/
Unsure
% % % % %
46 22 14 6 12

How is it that we can have such opposition to the Bush Administration’s war policies and yet not be able to get a dozen people to join an anti-war protest here in Dayton? Where is the outrage?? Bush comes to the Air Force Museum and 35 people show up to a demonstration called by the Montgomery County Democratic Party, including just Two Union reps [in a supposedly Union town], ONE party Chairman and NO ELECTED OFFICIALS.

Over the five years this vigil has been held I have personally invited Democratic office holders Nan Whaley, Dean Lovelace, Mayor McLin, Joey Williams, Debbie Lieberman and Dan Foley MULTIPLE TIMES to join the anti war vigils at the Dayton Dragon’s games, and not one of them has shown up yet.

I ask again, Where is the Outrage? and, perhaps as important, Where is the”leadership” of the local Democratic party on this critical issue??? and, please, don’t respond with that lame crap about how “we are LOCAL elected officials and anti-war issues are not our thing…” I’m not buying it, and you should be ashamed to offer it as an excuse for your inactivity.

If the opposition is there on paper and the physical manifestation is not, we have to ask why? There are indeed answers, including the fact that for much of the US mainstream media the war is simply something that they are not given very much attention to, excepting the parroting of the McCain-Bush bullshit about how well the “surge” is working …[though today’s NY Times reports that insurgent attacks in Baghdad more than doubled in March over February’s numbers...]

By way of example, the author Eric Boehlert, from the website Media Matters, notes in an April 2 column:

Last November, I noted that ABC’s Nightline, its long-running signature news program, had essentially boycotted Iraq as a news story. I found that over an 18-week span, from mid-July through late November, Nightline aired approximately 230 separate news segments, only one of which was about events on the ground in Iraq. In the 17 weeks since then, Nightline has continued to look the other way, which means that over a nearly nine-month span, during which time more than 300 reports aired, Nightline has effectively ignored the war in Iraq as a news event.–

Excerpetd from his excllent article

Myth: the American Public Tuned out Iraq Fact: The press tuned out Iraq

http://mediamatters.org/columns/200804020003?lid=214108&rid=6438606

It sems that the unfortunate reality is that most people, despite their poll answers, are simply disconnected to the war in their daily lives. The images we are NOT seeing is the reality of this evil war.

How’s this for complicity?? In March 2003, on the eve of the Iraq war, a directive arrived from the Pentagon at U.S. military bases. “There will be no arrival ceremonies for, or media coverage of, deceased military personnel returning to or departing from Ramstein [Germany] airbase or Dover [Del.] base, to include interim stops,” the Defense Department said, referring to the major ports for the returning remains.

The answer from our “elected representatives, our “leaders”??

Senate Backs Ban on Photos of G.I. Coffins: June 21, 2004.

http://www.camerairaq.com/2004/05/caskets_photogr.html

And the money?? The Billions and Billions [and trillions] of dollars BORROWED from China, Japan and other countries? Off the “books” and payable by our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren [and theirs…]

The money that could be used to pay for comprehensive medical care far beyond any of the presidential candidates offerings..The money that could be used to repair our falling apart infrastructure of bridges, roads and waterways. The money that could be used to provide a college education for every person who had the gumption to go to school and improve themselves and our nation?? And so much much more.

The War goes on, and the American public, having been lulled into complacency, appears comatose in the face of impending disaster, unable or unwilling to take the time to do the right thing, get up off their asses & confront our “leadership” and demand an end to this evil war.

Wake up America . It’s way past time for the wake up call.


Petraeus Testimony Next Week May Signal Iran Attack/By Paul Craig Roberts

April 7, 2008
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April 05, 2008

By Paul Craig Roberts

Today (April 5) the London Daily Telegraph reported that “British officials gave warning yesterday that America’s commander in Iraq will declare that Iran is waging war against the US-backed Baghdad government. A strong statement from General David Petraeus about Iran’s intervention in Iraq could set the stage for a US attack on Iranian military facilities, according to a Whitehall assessment.” [British fear US commander is beating the drum for Iran strikes – Telegraph, By Damien McElroy, April 5, 2008]

The neocon lacky Petraeus has had his script written for him by Cheney, and Petraeus together with neocon warmonger Ryan Crocker, the US governor of the Green Zone in Baghdad, will present Congress next Tuesday and Wednesday with the lies, for which the road has been well paved by neocon propagandists such as Kimberly Kagan, that “the US must recognize that Iran is engaged in a full-up proxy war against it in Iraq.”

Don’t expect Congress to do anything except to egg on the attack. On April 3 the International Herald Tribune reported that senators and representatives have made millions of dollars from their investments in defense companies totaling $196 million. (AP).

Rep. Ike Skelton, the Democrat chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, is already on board with the attack on Iran. The London Telegraph quotes Skelton: “Iran is the bull in the china shop. In all of this, they seem to have links to all of the Shi’ite groups, whether they be political or military.”

All Skelton knows is what the war criminal Bush regime tells him. If Iran really does have all these connections, then it behooves Washington to cease threatening Iran and to make nice with Iran in order to stabilize Iraq and extract the US from the nightmare.

Reporting from Tehran on April 4, Reuters quotes Mohsen Hakim, whose father, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, leads the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, an ally of the Maliki US puppet government in Iraq: “Tehran, by using its positive influence on the Iraqi nation, paved the way for the return of peace to Iraq and the new situation is the result of Iran’s efforts.”

Instead of thanking Iran and working with Iran diplomatically to restore stability to Iraq, the Bush regime intends to expand the nightmare with a military attack on Iran. Ryan Crocker was quick to dispute Hakim’s report that Iran had used its influence to end the fighting in Basra.

Crocker alleged that Iran had started the fighting. The absurdity of Crocker’s claim is obvious as even the neocon US media reported that the fighting in Basra was started by the US and Maliki in an effort to clear out the Shi’ite al-Sadr militias. Most experts saw the attack on al-Sadr for what it was: an effort to remove a potential threat to the US supply line from Kuwait in the event of a US attack on Iran.

Crocker alleges that the rockets dropping on the Green Zone during the Basra fighting were made in 2007 in Iran. As should be obvious even to disengaged Americans, if Iran were to arm the Iraqi insurgency, the insurgents would have modern weapons to counter US helicopter gunships and heavy tanks. The insurgents have no such weapons. The neocon lie that Iran is the cause of the Iraqi insurgency is just another Bush regime lie like the lie that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and connections to al Qaeda and the lie that the Taliban in Afghanistan attacked the US.

The Bush regime will tell any lie and orchestrate any event in order to “finish the job” in the Middle East.

“Finishing the job” means to destroy the ability of Iraq, Iran, and Syria to provide support for the Palestinians and for Hezbollah in southern Lebanon against Israeli aggression. With Iraq and Iran in turmoil, Syria might simply give up and become another American client state. With Iraq and Iran in turmoil, Israel can steal the rest of the West Bank along with the water resources in southern Lebanon. That is what “the war on terror” is really about.

The entire world knows this. Consequently, the US and Israel are essentially isolated. The US can only count on the support that it can bribe and pay for.

At the NATO-Russian summit in Bucharest, Romania, on April 4, Russian President Putin said:

“No one can seriously think that Iran would dare attack the U.S. Instead of pushing Iran into a corner, it would be far more sensible to think together how to help Iran become more predictable and transparent.”

Of course it would, but that is not what the warmonger Bush regime wants.

Perhaps the British government has derailed the plot to attack Iran by leaking in advance to the London Telegraph the disinformation Cheney has prepared for Petraeus and Crocker to deliver to the complicit US Congress next Tuesday and Wednesday.

On the other hand, the US puppet media is likely to bury the real story and to trumpet Petraeus claims that Iran has, in effect, already declared war on the US by sending weapons to kill US troops in Iraq.

By next Thursday we will know. from how the Petraeus-Crocker dog and pony show plays in the US Congress and media. whether the Bush Regime will commit yet another war crime by attacking Iran.

Paul Craig Roberts [email him] was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan’s first term.  He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal.  He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He was awarded the Legion of Honor by French President Francois Mitterrand. He is the author of Supply-Side Revolution : An Insider’s Account of Policymaking in Washington; Alienation and the Soviet Economy and Meltdown: Inside the Soviet Economy, and is the co-author with Lawrence M. Stratton of The Tyranny of Good Intentions : How Prosecutors and Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name of Justice. Click here for Peter Brimelow’s Forbes Magazine interview with Roberts about the recent epidemic of prosecutorial misconduct.


IRAQ WAR PROTESTS TO RESUME @DAYTON DRAGON’S GAMES/5TH THIRD FIELD

March 31, 2008
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The war in Iraq continues on into it’s 6th year, and so begins our 4th year of Bannering at the Ball Park.
I

Please come & join us Monday, April 7, Opening Day for the Dayton Dragons at 5th/3rd Field, on the corner of 1st Street & Patterson in Dayton, from 6:00 to 7:00pm. The game starts at 7:00. We have some signs or bring your own. Rain or shine — last year it was really cold and the year before it poured, so come prepared for the weather.


MARK YOUR CALENDARS:

Monday, April 7, Opening Day 6:00 for 7 PM game

Sunday Home Game dates:
**Note: the Sunday games are at varying times this season
April
20 @ 1:00 for 2 PM game
May
4 @ 1:00 for 2 PM game
11 @ 1:00 for 2 PM game
18 @ 1:00 for 2 PM game
June

1 @ 3:00 for 4 PM game
8 @ 1:00 for 2 PM game
22 @ 1:00 for 2 PM game

July
6 @ 6:00 for 7 PM game
13 @ 6:00 for 7 PM game
27 @ 6:00 fro 7 PM game

Aug
17 @ 6:00 for 7 PM game
31 @ 6:00 for 7 PM game

Sept – Closing Day
1 @ 1:00 for 2 PM game (Labor Day Weekend, Sunday 8/31 game is at 7:00, Monday game is at 2:00. Details of which game we do to follow.)

Opening Day 2007: 3265 US troops killed. Current number: 4,010

iraq_prisoner_mission_accomplished.jpg
Support our troops, bring them home now,
and take care of them when they get here!

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61 Y/O VIET VET WORKING FROM THE LEFT OF CENTER

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