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…)

Why Aren’t More Americans Dancing To Israel’s Tune?

January 6, 2009
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By Max Blumenthal/Senior Writer for The Daily Beast
Posted January 5, 2009 | 08:17 AM (EST)

Almost as soon as the first Israeli missile struck the Gaza Strip, a
veteran cheering squad suited up to support the home team. “Israel is
so scrupulous about civilian life,” Charles Krauthammer claimed in the
Washington Post. Echoing Krauthammer, Alan Dershowitz called the
Israeli attack on Gaza, “Perfectly ‘Proportionate.'” And in the New
York Times, Israeli historian Benny Morris described his country’s
airstrikes as “highly efficient.”

While the cheerleaders testified to the superior moral fiber of their
team, the Palestinian civilian death toll mounted. Israeli missiles
tore at least fifteen Palestinian police cadets to shreds at a
graduation ceremony, blew twelve worshipers to pieces (including six
children) while they left evening prayers at a mosque, flattened the
elite American International School, killed five sisters while they
slept in their beds, and liquidated 9 women and children in order to
kill a single Hamas leader. So far, Israeli forces have killed at
least 500 Gazans and wounded some two thousand, including hundreds of
children. Yesterday, the IDF blanketed parts of Gaza with white
phosphorus, a chemical weapon Saddam Hussein once deployed against
Kurdish rebels. (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…)


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.


10 Things you should know about John McCain

April 24, 2008
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FROM MOVEON.ORG:

  • John McCain voted against establishing a national holiday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Now he says his position has “evolved,” yet he’s continued to oppose key civil rights laws.1
  • According to Bloomberg News, McCain is more hawkish than Bush on Iraq, Russia and China. Conservative columnist Pat Buchanan says McCain “will make Cheney look like Gandhi.”2
  • His reputation is built on his opposition to torture, but McCain voted against a bill to ban waterboarding, and then applauded President Bush for vetoing that ban.3
  • McCain opposes a woman’s right to choose. He said, “I do not support Roe versus Wade. It should be overturned.”4
  • The Children’s Defense Fund rated McCain as the worst senator in Congress for children. He voted against the children’s health care bill last year, then defended Bush’s veto of the bill.5
  • He’s one of the richest people in a Senate filled with millionaires. The Associated Press reports he and his wife own at least eight homes! Yet McCain says the solution to the housing crisis is for people facing foreclosure to get a “second job” and skip their vacations.6
  • Many of McCain’s fellow Republican senators say he’s too reckless to be commander in chief. One Republican senator said: “The thought of his being president sends a cold chill down my spine. He’s erratic. He’s hotheaded. He loses his temper and he worries me.”7
  • McCain talks a lot about taking on special interests, but his campaign manager and top advisers are actually lobbyists. The government watchdog group Public Citizen says McCain has 59 lobbyists raising money for his campaign, more than any of the other presidential candidates.8
  • McCain has sought closer ties to the extreme religious right in recent years. The pastor McCain calls his “spiritual guide,” Rod Parsley, believes America’s founding mission is to destroy Islam, which he calls a “false religion.” McCain sought the political support of right-wing preacher John Hagee, who believes Hurricane Katrina was God’s punishment for gay rights and called the Catholic Church “the Antichrist” and a “false cult.”9
  • He positions himself as pro-environment, but he scored a 0—yes, zero—from the League of Conservation Voters last year.10

SOURCES: (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…)


The Launch of J Street, the New Pro-Peace, Pro-Israel Lobby

April 16, 2008
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Thanx to Media Matters for this information:

Spencer Ackerman, writing for The Washington Independent, here, covers the launch of J Street, the new pro-peace, pro-Israel lobby and explains:

Two young, leading liberal Jews — the former Clinton administration domestic policy adviser Jeremy Ben-Ami and the former Israeli peace negotiator Daniel Levy — [unveiled] the first-ever political action committee dedicated to promoting political candidates in the United States who support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Known as the J Street Project, the effort intends to raise millions of dollars even at this late date in the 2008 election cycle.

It has an even grander ambition: to reframe the terms of the debate over what it means for America to support Israel, and recast them in a progressive direction. Currently, support for Israel is often seen as backing Israeli militarism against its Arab adversaries; liberal Jews believe that the only lasting security for an Israeli democracy is through a negotiated peace. But “our side gets cowed into silence,” said Ben-Ami, a former policy director for Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign. “They’re afraid to say, ‘No, we are more pro-Israel than you, our path is better.” (more…)


Posted in Middle East

Secretary of State Condi Rice Should Resign in Light of ABC News Torture Report

April 16, 2008
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The evidence chain linking the highest levels of the Bush administration to the use of
torture in Iraq & Afghanistan grows longer.
Please watch the video and join the petition campaign demanding the
resignation of Secretary of State Condi Rice for her role in approving torture.
Impeachment is in order for Bush & Cheney

www.CondiMustGo.com


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

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