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…)
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Religious intolerance at Wright Patt?

December 22, 2008
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Mikey Weinstein’s ‘militant’ foundation and his family think so.
By Marshall Weiss
The Dayton Jewish Observer
Each year, more than one and a half million visitors stream through the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Fairborn.
Walking between the cavernous early flight and World War II hangars, tourists, veterans and school groups must pass through a replica of the main gate of Auschwitz and into Prejudice and Memory: A Mobile Holocaust Exhibit.
The exhibit, curated by local survivor Renate Frydman on behalf of the Dayton Holocaust Resource Center, has been on permanent display at the Air Force museum since 1999.
It is the museum’s way of illustrating why the United States goes to war: to defeat the tyranny that destroys human freedom.
But according to Mikey Weinstein, founder and president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation — and his son and daughter-in-law Casey and Amanda Weinstein of Fairborn — Wright-Patterson Air Force base is a “hotbed” of “unconstitutional religious intolerance.” (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…)


“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.


GEORGE BUSH VISITS THE AF MUSEUM, AND GETS AWAY WITH IT…Nixon didn’t!

April 2, 2008
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DEDICATION OF THE AIR FORCE MUSEUM, SEPTEMBER 3, 1971

ANTI WAR GROUPS SPOIL THE PARTY, PART 1.

The deja vu was almost too much for me on Thursday as I, and other anti war/anti-bush activists stood outside the gates to the Air Force Museum at Wright Patterson AFB. Riverside police patrolled incessantly up and down Harshman as we stood shivering in a light rain, holding our signs, waiting for the the Decider to show up. Nothing like Sept 3, 1971.

What’s that date got to do with anything? It was the dedication of the Air Force {war} Museum and Tricky Dick, otherwise known as President Richard Nixon [war criminal] was on board and, unlike Thursday, hundreds of protesters showed up to [un]welcome him to Dayton and before the day was done 154 of them had been arrested . Scooped up indiscriminately off the streets, packed into semi trailers & buses without even a nod to formal arrest procedures, some driven off the Air Base and held without charges for hours… the whole scene was one of mass chaos, the kind of action one would expect to occur in some South American dictatorship. But it was happening right here in Fairborn, Ohio.

What, you say you never heard about this?

Not surprising at all. The sanitized version of the dedication enshrined at the Museum bears NO resemblance to what actually occurred that day. It has always really bugged me ever since that this history got re-written and super sanitized. Thirty seven years later events still stands out in my memory.

The rows upon rows of Ohio Highway Patrol and County Sheriff’s cars lined up in a field next to AFLC headquarters. The Base side of Route 444 sealed off with barbed wire fencing and concertina wire, stretching from the old Museum at gate 1-c near Fairborn all the way to AFLC hdqts and beyond. The AF Security trucks stationed all along the way, Cops standing at the ready with their M-16 unslung. The helicopters whirling overhead, and, everywhere you looked there were hundreds [thousands??] of people. Loud slogan chanting people, people with anti-war signs marching down the highway to the new Museum site. Vietnam vets carrying a symbolic coffin and engaging bystanders with guerrilla street theater.

By August of 1971 major events associated with the war had brought anti war fervor in the Miami valley to a new pitch.

  • In March Lt Wm Calley was convicted for the MY LAI massacre.
  • In April Vietnam Veterans Against the War held Operation Dewey Canyon in Washington DC, an event that culminates with the Vets symbolically returning their combat medals in a ceremony on the steps to the US Capitol.
  • A major demonstration the following week saw hundred of thousands of antiwar protesters in DC and in San Francisco as well as other cities.
  • In May it was MayDay’s in Washington, with thousands of well organized activists in running street conflict with authorities, trying to shut down the government, resulting in the arrests of thousands more.
  • In June Daniel Elsberg got the Pentagon Papers published in the NY Times and Washington Post, resulting in charges of treason by the Nixon administration.
  • And American deaths surpassed 45,000 while the Senate passed a “non-binding” resolution urging withdrawal of American forces by years end.

Same Museum, different war, very different response.

Aware that dedication of the new AF Museum was going to be a major event, a loose coalition of local anti-war groups had begun planning efforts to stage a demonstration at the Museum’s dedication early in the summer. News that Nixon was going to be the keynote speaker galvanized anti war force and raised the energy to a higher level: we were determined to spoil the party. And we did.

The anti-war demonstration at the dedication of the AF Museum involved not just Daytonian’s, but engaged people from all over the region. There were people from Cincinnati, Columbus and other parts of Ohio. There were, especially, students from Antioch College. The Yellow Springs students were also equipped with a radio station, WYSO-fm. And the campus was already awash with anti-war activities. Confronting Nixon fit right in to what was already in motion on campus.

{As I am writing this it’s impossible not to think about that role vis a vis the current crisis gripping Antioch. Without belaboring a point, it IS relevant, AND critical, to a “free” society that intellectual freedom is a cornerstone principle. Students have historically been at the forefront of social change, and when an atmosphere exist that not only encourages but nurtures intellectual freedom amazing can things happen. And did. That’s what I remember.}

An excerpt from the Yellow Springs News notes

In 1971, when President Richard Nixon appeared at the Air Force Museum’s opening, a number of people from Antioch and Yellow Springs who tried to attend were detained by authorities. A group of Yellow Springs residents and Antioch students and workers also demonstrated at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base on April 20, 1972. Many local residents subsequently lent money to cover the bail of the 154 who were arrested there.

[The next installment of this post will add more details about the arrests that took place and the controversy that was created as a result. Links to a NY Time article and the YS News are given below. There is also a link to the text of Nixon’s speech. I encourage others who were at the demo to please, send me your commentary, pictures or printed material, your memories of what happened at the base that day to help memorialize a very important event in Miami Valley anti-war history. Perhaps we can even get the AF Museum to acknowledge the REAL history of the dedication!!]

http://www.ysnews.com/stories/2003/october/history.html

ny-times-af-museum-article.pdf

Nixon’s speech: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=3135


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!

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…)


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…)


Automated Killer Robots ‘Threat to Humanity’: Expert

February 27, 2008
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Automated Killer Robots ‘Threat to Humanity’: Expert

Increasingly autonomous, gun-totting robots developed for warfare could easily fall into the hands of terrorists and may one day unleash a robot arms race, a top expert on artificial intelligence told AFP.0227 08

“They pose a threat to humanity,” said University of Sheffield professor Noel Sharkey ahead of a keynote address Wednesday before Britain’s Royal United Services Institute.

Intelligent machines deployed on battlefields around the world — from mobile grenade launchers to rocket-firing drones — can already identify and lock onto targets without human help.

There are more than 4,000 US military robots on the ground in Iraq, as well as unmanned aircraft that have clocked hundreds of thousands of flight hours. (more…)


Posted in US MILITARY

Paying Insurgents Not to Fight//By Paul Craig Roberts

February 20, 2008
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Paul Craig Roberts

19/02/08 “ICH” — — It is impossible to keep up with all the Bush regime’s lies. There are simply too many. Among the recent crop, one of the biggest is that the “surge” is working.

Launched last year, the “surge” was the extra 20,000-30,000 U.S. troops sent to Iraq. These few extra troops, Americans were told, would finally supply the necessary forces to pacify Iraq.

This claim never made any sense. The extra troops didn’t raise the total number of U.S. soldiers to more than one-third the number every expert has said is necessary in order to successfully occupy Iraq.

The real purpose of the “surge” was to hide another deception. The Bush regime is paying Sunni insurgents $800,000 a day not to attack U.S. forces. That’s right, 80,000 members of an “Awakening group,” the “Sons of Iraq,” a newly formed “U.S.-allied security force” consisting of Sunni insurgents, are being paid $10 a day each not to attack U.S. troops. Allegedly, the Sons of Iraq are now at work fighting al-Qaeda.

This is a much cheaper way to fight a war. We can only wonder why Bush didn’t figure it out sooner. (more…)


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

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