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…)

This is Change? 20 Hawks, Clintonites and Neocons to Watch for in Obama’s White House

November 20, 2008
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My worst fears about the forthcoming Obama Presidency seem to be coming true. Readers will recall my skepticism during the primaries vis a vis Obama’s rhetoric about the middle east and his willingness to use “bomb” diplomacy in places like Pakistan and Afghanistsan.  I really really hoped that he was going to be a different kind of democrat, that his early anti-war stance was really about “change”, that we were not re-electing the Democratic Leadership Council [DLC]. Reading the article reprinted from the weblog Alternet that is posted below made me very depressed. Is there really a new direction in national politics or is this really just more of the same?

This is Change? 20 Hawks, Clintonites and Neocons to Watch for in Obama’s White House

By Jeremy Scahill, AlterNet
Posted on November 20, 2008, Printed on November 20, 2008
U.S. policy is not about one individual, and no matter how much faith people place in President-elect Barack Obama, the policies he enacts will be fruit of a tree with many roots. Among them: his personal politics and views, the disastrous realities his administration will inherit, and, of course, unpredictable future crises. But the best immediate indicator of what an Obama administration might look like can be found in the people he surrounds himself with and who he appoints to his Cabinet. And, frankly, when it comes to foreign policy, it is not looking good. (more…)

McCain Strongly Rejected Long-Term Iraq Presence: “Bring Them All Home” [FLIP FLOP, FLIP FLOP…]

April 29, 2008
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Sam Stein

The Huffington Post

When it comes to getting U.S. troops out of Iraq, Sen. John McCain was for the idea before he was against it.

Three years before the Arizona Republican argued on the campaign trail that U.S. forces could be in Iraq for 100 years in the absence of violence, he decried the very concept of a long-term troop presence.

In fact, when asked specifically if he thought the U.S. military should set up shop in Iraq along the lines of what has been established in post-WWII Germany or Japan — something McCain has repeatedly advocated during the campaign — the senator offered nothing short of a categorical “no.”

  • “I would hope that we could bring them all home,” he said on MSNBC. “I would hope that we would probably leave some military advisers, as we have in other countries, to help them with their training and equipment and that kind of stuff.”
  • Host Chris Matthews pressed McCain on the issue “You’ve heard the ideological argument to keep U.S. forces in the Middle East. I’ve heard it from the hawks. They say, .keep United States military presence in the Middle East, like we have with the 7th Fleet in Asia. We have the German…the South Korean component. Do you think we could get along without it?”
  • McCain held fast, rejecting the very policy he urges today. “I not only think we could get along without it, but I think one of our big problems has been the fact that many Iraqis resent American military presence,” he responded. “And I don’t pretend to know exactly Iraqi public opinion. But as soon as we can reduce our visibility as much as possible, the better I think it is going to be.”

The January 2005 comments, which have not surfaced previously during the presidential campaign, represent a stunning contrast to McCain’s current rhetoric.

They also run squarely against his image as having a steadfast, unwavering idea for U.S. policy in Iraq — and provide further evidence to those, including some prominent GOP foreign policy figures in the “realist” camp, who believe McCain is increasingly adopting policies shared by neoconservatives.

Finally, the comments undercut much of the criticism the senator has launched at his Democratic and even Republican opponents.

On the campaign trail, for example, McCain has accused Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton of a “failure of leadership” by advocating a policy of drawing down troops. But in the MSNBC interview, McCain was arguing that U.S. “visibility” was detrimental to the Iraq mission and that Iraqis were responding negatively to America’s presence – positions held by both Obama and Clinton.

Somewhere along the way, McCain’s position changed. Perhaps twice. As Think Progress reported, in August 2007, as the troops surge was underway, McCain told the Charlie Rose Show that the Korea model was “exactly” the right template for U.S. forces in Iraq. Only three months later, and on the same show, he completely reversed himself.

“Do you think that this – Korea, South Korea is an analogy of where Iraq might be,” Rose asked in November 2007.“Even if there are no casualties?” Rose chimed in.

“No,” said McCain. “But I can see an American presence for a while. But eventually I think because of the nature of the society in Iraq and the religious aspects of it that America eventually withdraws.”

Then, in the lead up to the New Hampshire primary, the senator famously said that he wouldn’t mind seeing the U.S. in Iraq for a hundred years, “as long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed.” And when his political opponents used that statement against him, McCain responded by saying he was drawing an analogy to the current military presence in Japan, Germany and South Korea.

And yet, when he was asked by Matthews in 2005, if he “would you be happy with [Iraq] being the home of a U.S. garrison” like Germany, McCain again said no.

The McCain campaign did not return a request for comment.

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…)


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.

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.


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
20 @ 1:00 for 2 PM game
4 @ 1:00 for 2 PM game
11 @ 1:00 for 2 PM game
18 @ 1:00 for 2 PM game

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

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

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

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


March 29, 2008
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We sponsored anti-war billboards like those above in recent months at ten locations in the Dayton area. Our latest will soon be along the eastbound lane of Needmore Road, between Wagoner Ford Road and Old Troy Pike. Anti-war advertisements like this are important and need your support. Please help us continue this effort. Donations can be made by mail to Dayton Peace Action, 1717 Salem Avenue, Dayton, OH 45406. Kindly make checks payable to Dayton Peace Action. Another option is to make a secure donation through PayPal by clicking the “Make a Donation” button below. For questions about donations, which are not tax deductible, email us at donation.


Soldiers Testify at Second Winter Soldier:Veterans from Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan Describe Systematic Brutality

March 20, 2008
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By Spencer Ackerman

March 17, 2008The Washington Independent http://www.washingtonindependent.com/view/soldiers-testify-at

Out of context, the picture seemed ordinary, open to interpretation. It showed the butt end of five or six rifles, sloppily stacked in a pile inside an armored vehicle. In context, it documented a cover-up of accidental-or even intentional-shootings of Iraq in on combatants by U.S. Marines in Iraq’s Anbar Province in 2005 and 2006.

At least three Marines who served in Anbar during that period said that their platoons carried “drop weapons”or tools that Iraqis were not permitted to possess to plant on the bodies of Iraqi noncombatant corpses incase of a wrongful killing.

They did so with the approval of their chain of command. “It was encouraged, almost with a wink and anudge, to carry drop weapons and shovels with us,” said Jason Washborn, a Marine corporal who served three tours in Iraq between 2003 and 2006. “In case we accidentally did shoot a civilian, so we could toss weapon on the body to make [him] look like an insurgent. I was told that if [the Iraqis] carried a shovel, or if they dig anywhere, especially near roads], then we could shoot them [on suspicion of planting roadside bombs]. So we actually carried tools in our vehicles.” (more…)

COUNTING THE UNCOUNTABLE:The Human and Economic Costs

March 15, 2008
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Counting the Uncountable


The Human and Economic Costsof 5 Years of War and Occupation in Iraq



Michael McConnell, the American Friends Service Committee’s Great Lakes Regional Executive Director and creator of the national “Eyes Wide Open” exhibit, will present his new program on the Cost of War as part of the Wednesday, March 19th program at Mack Memorial Church of the Brethren, 1717 Salem Avenue, Dayton. This presentation is both powerful and instructive on the true costs of the war in Iraq. The program begins at 7:30pm.

The Human and Economic Costs

The economic cost of the Iraq war is far greater than most people imagine, with more than $1 trillion tax dollars spent in the first five years of the war — which translates to $720 million a day or $500,000 per minute. This figure is based upon the work of Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and Harvard Business School professor Linda Bilmes. This money should be spent in more effective and humane ways: aid to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Iraq, an eventual Iraqi-led repair and reconstruction, and funding vital needs — such as health care, jobs and education — here in the United States.

Sources: http://www.epsusa.org/StiglitsBilmes10-06.pdf

The Human Cost of War-Iraq

The Iraq war and U.S. occupation has been a catastrophe for Iraqis. The violence has touched every corner of the country, killed hundreds of thousands, and displaced millions. Casualty numbers are difficult to calculate but using statistical methods tested in other conflict zones, a Johns Hopkins study published last year estimated that there have been 655,000 war-related deaths since March 2003. Other estimates put the toll at more than one million. In addition, more than 4.5 million Iraqis have been displaced by war and occupation, making it the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis.

Sources: http://www.opinion.co.uk/Newsroom_details.aspx?NewsId=78 , http://www.thelancet.com/webfiles/images/journals/lancet/s0140673606694919.pdf


The Human Cost of War-U.S.

The cost of the war for U.S. servicepeople and their families has been high indeed. Four thousand U.S. military personnel have been killed in Iraq, leaving children, parents and spouses behind. But this tells just part of the picture. Iraq veterans who return home must deal with the consequences of physical and emotional wounds for the rest of their lives. The Department of Defense reports that 28,000 servicepeople have been seriously wounded. And according to a CBS news report, 6,256 U.S. veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan committed suicide in 2005 – an average of 17 a day – with veterans overall more than twice as likely to take their own lives as the rest of the general population.

Sources: http://www.icasualties.org; http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/ 2007/11/13/cbsnews_investigates/main3496471.shtml


For more Info: AFSC, 915 Salem Avenue, Dayton, OH 45406 937-278-4225 broberts@afsc.org

Iraq War Veterans Answer One Last Call of Duty

March 5, 2008
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The call of duty has brought them together again, for one more vital mission. Their hair is a little longer, their faces are a little scruffier and their military garbs are a little more disheveled.

But when the signal is given shortly before 10 a.m. today at the Constitution Center, 20 members of the Philadelphia chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War will march once more.

They’ll trek along Kelly Drive, past the Art Museum and Boathouse Row, across the Strawberry Mansion Bridge and continue out west until they meet about 90 other veterans at Valley Forge on Sunday afternoon.

Along the way, they hope to dispel a few myths about the Iraq war and give regular people an idea of the grim reality that their fellow soldiers still face overseas. (more…)

Iraqi Veterans Against the War Winter Soldier video

February 22, 2008
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From March 14th to 16th KPFA [http://kpfa.org/] will suspend regular programming to broadcast the historic Winter Soldier hearings in Washington, DC. The three day live broadcast will be co-hosted by Aaron Glantz and former Army medic and KPFA Morning Show host Aimee Allison. A live web-stream of the broadcast will be available through this site.

[livevideo id=F7791AA15724466EA04EEFF0D82F1144/530489/winter-soldier-iraq-afghani.aspx]

Link to The Iraq War Comes Home… Iraq Veterans Against the War(IVAW)


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