No more wars for oil and natural resources! No more polluting our sea, air and landfills! BOYCOTT BP!!!
July 4th (Sunday):
– meet in Lafayette Park (North Side of White House) at 1pm – group to flyer, bullhorn in Lafayette Park and in front of the White House until dark – evening to post protest pics, videos and articles to Internet
For this week, Peace of the Action will primarily be targeting the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum’s Unmanned Aerial Vehicle display (educating the public about the horrific toll UAVs take) and drone manufacturers and lobbyists. (The Free Gaza/Free Palestine action has been inserted into this week because of the recent announcement of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to the White House.)
July 5th (Monday):
– meet in Lafayette Park (North Side of White House) at 9am – group to protest at White House against coming pre-emptive American/Israeli attack on Iran – evening to post protest pics, videos and articles to Internet
July 6th (Tuesday):
– meet in Lafayette Park (North Side of White House) at 9am – group to move together to (TBA) location for FREE PALESTINE! protest until 3pm – evening to post protest pics, videos and articles to Internet DOWNLOAD EVENT FLYER
July 7th (Wednesday):
– meet in Lafayette Park (North Side of White House) at 9am – group to move together to Congress and protest until 3pm – evening to post protest pics, videos and articles to Internet
July 8th (Thursday):
– meet in Lafayette Park (North Side of White House) at 9am – group to move together to General Atomics and protest until 3pm – evening to post protest pics, videos and articles to Internet
July 9th (Friday):
– meet in Lafayette Park (North Side of White House) at 9am – group to move together to Smithsonian Air & Space Museum and protest until 3pm – possible special action TBA – evening to post protest pics, videos and articles to Internet
For this week, we will be targeting recruiting centers and defense contractors and lobbyists—and we will do some special “lobbying” of our own on Capitol Hill. (The POTA DC Trial has been inserted into this week because of the recent scheduling by the court.)
July 12th (Monday):
– Peace of the Action DC Trial
– evening to post protest pics, videos and articles to Internet
July 13th (Tuesday):
– Peace of the Action DC Trial
– evening to post protest pics, videos and articles to Internet
or (trial may be one day or two. so we have two options this day.)
– meet in Lafayette Park at 9am – group to move together to Military Recruiting Station (TBA) and protest until 3pm – evening to post protest pics, videos and articles to Internet
July 14th (Wednesday):
– meet in Lafayette Park (North Side of White House) at 9am – group to move together to Military Recruiting Station (TBA) and protest until 3pm – evening to post protest pics, videos and articles to Internet
July 15th (Thursday):
– meet in Lafayette Park (North Side of White House) at 9am – group to move together to War Profiteer (TBA) and protest until 3pm – evening to post protest pics, videos and articles to Internet
July 16th (Friday):
– meet in Lafayette Park (North Side of White House) at 9am – group to flyer, bullhorn in LaFayette Park and in front of the White House – evening to post protest pics, videos and articles to Internet
July 17th (Saturday):
– POTA Retreat (location TBA 2pm to 5pm)
This will be an intense think tank session on the future of Peace of the Action and the future of anti-war protests in the U.S. With small numbers, where should our limited resources be focused? We have to dream up an entire movement based on very low numbers and very limited funds—bring your creative solutions and a positive attitude that a better world is possible!
(DAILY SCHEDULES OPEN TO CHANGE. STAY TUNED THROUGHOUT EVENT WEEKS FOR UPDATES.)
IMPORTANT INFO FOR SUMMER POTA
HOUSING (FLOOR SPACE & SHOWERS) WILL ONCE AGAIN BE PROVIDED AT ST. STEPHEN’S CHURCH (WIRELESS INTERNET IS AVAILABLE AT THE CHURCH)
1525 NEWTON ST, NW
(CORNER OF 16TH AND NEWTON)
BREAKFAST AND LUNCH ARE UP TO THE PARTICIPANT AND POTA WILL PROVIDE DINNER EACH NIGHT AT THE CHURCH (from FOOD NOT BOMBS!).
TRANSPORTATION TO THE PARK AND TO EVENTS IS UP TO EACH PARTICIPANT. BUSES AND/OR METRO (RAIL) STOPS ARE LOCATED CLOSE BY. WE WILL BE TRAVELING TO EVENTS AS A GROUP AND THE EVENTS SHOULD NOT BE TOO FAR FROM LAFAYETTE PARK.
POTA BELIEVES THAT CIVIL RESISTANCE IS THE CORE OF TRUE CHANGE, BUT ONLY IF THE NUMBERS ARE SUFFICIENT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE. SO, SINCE OUR NUMBERS ARE SMALL, CIVIL RESISTANCE WILL MORE THAN LIKELY NOT BE A PART OF SUMMER POTA—EDUCATION AND MOVEMENT BUILDING WILL BE OUR MAIN FOCUS.
LAFAYETTE PARK WILL BE OUR MAIN CONVERGENCE SPACE FOR THE TWO WEEKS
EVENINGS WILL BE RESERVED FOR THE POTA CORE TEAM TO BLOG AND POST VIDEO AND DO OTHER ADMINISTRATIVE TASKS—IF YOU ARE A VIDEOGRAPHER OR BLOGGER, WE COULD USE YOUR HELP—USING ONLINE TOOLS WILL BE THE KEY TO MOVEMENT BUILDING
Thursday, March 11, 2010 – Congress finally debates the war in Afghanistan. Dennis Kucinich (Ohio-D) forced the debate with a resolution, which did NOT pass – but DK was successful in compiling an accurate list of war hawks in the United States House of Representatives who voted “NAY” on his resolution to end the unconstitutional and illegal occupation of Afghanistan within 30 days.
On Thursday, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) introduced H. Com Res. 248, a privileged resolution with 16 original cosponsors that will require the House of Representatives to debate whether to continue the war in Afghanistan. Debate on the resolution is expected early next week.
Original cosponsors of the Kucinich resolution include John Conyers, Jr. (D-Michigan); Ron Paul (R-Texas); José Serrano (D-New York); Bob Filner (D-California); Lynn Woolsey (D-California); Walter Jones, Jr. (R-North Carolina); Danny Davis (D-Illinois); Barbara Lee (D-California); Michael Capuano (D-Massachusetts); Raúl Grijalva (D-Arizona); Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin); Timothy Johnson (R-Illinois); Yvette Clarke (D-New York); Eric Massa (D-New York), Alan Grayson (D-Florida) and Chellie Pingree (D-Maine).
The Pentagon doesn’t want Congress to debate Afghanistan. The Pentagon wants Congress to fork over $33 billion more to pay for the current military escalation, no questions asked, no restrictions imposed for a withdrawal timetable or an exit strategy.
Ideally, from the point of view of the Pentagon, Congress would fork over that money right away, before the coming Kandahar offensive that the $33 billion is supposed to pay for, because you can expect a lot of bad news out of Afghanistan in the form of deaths of American soldiers andAfghan civilians once the Kandahar offensive starts, and it would sure be awkward if all that bad news reached Washington while the $33 billion was hanging fire.
So it’s a great thing that Kucinich and his 16 allies are forcing Congress to debate the issue, and it would be even better if more Members of Congress would be urged by their constituents to support Kucinich’s resolution. That would be a signal to the House leadership that continuation of the open-ended war and occupation is controversial in the House, and the House leadership should not try to ram through $33 billion more for the war on a fast-track without ample opportunity for debate and amendment.
Every day the Afghanistan war continues is another day on which the United States government plays Russian roulette with the lives ofAmerican soldiers and Afghan civilians.
The British government has more urgency than the US government about ending the war – and is more supportive than the US of a political solution to end the conflict – because in Britain there is greater public outcry.
If there were greater public and Congressional outcry in the US, we could be more like Britain, and get our government on board the train to a political solution, instead of prolonging the war indefinitely.
Kucinich Announces Introduction of Privileged Resolution to End Afghan War
(February 25, 2010) – On Thursday, March 4, 2010 Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) will introduce his privileged resolution that will require House debate on continuing the war in Afghanistan. It is expected that the resolution will be taken up for consideration on the following Wednesday, March 10, 2010 and that the debate will be subject to a rule providing for three hours of debate. Source: Dennis Kucinich
Thank God for Helen Thomas, the only person to show any courage at the White House press briefing after President Barack Obama gave a flaccid account of the intelligence screw-up that almost downed an airliner on Christmas Day.
After Obama briefly addressed L’Affaire Abdulmutallab and wrote “must do better” on the report cards of the national security schoolboys responsible for the near catastrophe, the President turned the stage over to counter-terrorism guru John Brennan and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
It took 89-year old veteran correspondent Helen Thomas to break through the vapid remarks about rechanneling “intelligence streams,” fixing “no-fly” lists, deploying “behavior detection officers,” and buying more body-imaging scanners.
Thomas recognized the John & Janet filibuster for what it was, as her catatonic press colleagues took their customary dictation and asked their predictable questions. Instead, Thomas posed an adult query that spotlighted the futility of government plans to counter terrorism with more high-tech gizmos and more intrusions on the liberties and privacy of the traveling public.
Thomas: “And what is the motivation? We never hear what you find out on why.”
Brennan: “Al Qaeda is an organization that is dedicated to murder and wanton slaughter of innocents… They attract individuals like Mr. Abdulmutallab and use them for these types of attacks. He was motivated by a sense of religious sort of drive. Unfortunately, al Qaeda has perverted Islam, and has corrupted the concept of Islam, so that he’s (sic) able to attract these individuals. But al Qaeda has the agenda of destruction and death.”
Thomas: “And you’re saying it’s because of religion?”
Brennan: “I’m saying it’s because of an al Qaeda organization that used the banner of religion in a very perverse and corrupt way.”
Brennan: “I think this is a — long issue, but al Qaeda is just determined to carry out attacks here against the homeland.”
Thomas: “But you haven’t explained why.”
Neither did President Obama, nor anyone else in the U.S. political/media hierarchy. All the American public gets is the boilerplate about how al-Qaeda evildoers are perverting a religion and exploiting impressionable young men.
There is almost no discussion about why so many people in the Muslim world object to U.S. policies so strongly that they are inclined to resist violently and even resort to suicide attacks.
I had been hoping Obama would say something intelligent about what drove Abdulmutallab to do what he did, but the President uttered a few vacuous comments before sending in the clowns. This is what he said before he walked away from the podium:
“It is clear that al Qaeda increasingly seeks to recruit individuals without known terrorist affiliations … to do their bidding. … And that’s why we must communicate clearly to Muslims around the world that al Qaeda offers nothing except a bankrupt vision of misery and death … while the United States stands with those who seek justice and progress. … That’s the vision that is far more powerful than the hatred of these violent extremists.”
But why it is so hard for Muslims to “get” that message? Why can’t they end their preoccupation with dodging U.S. missiles in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Gaza long enough to reflect on how we are only trying to save them from terrorists while simultaneously demonstrating our commitment to “justice and progress”?
Does a smart fellow like Obama expect us to believe that all we need to do is “communicate clearly to Muslims” that it is al Qaeda, not the U.S. and its allies, that brings “misery and death”? Does any informed person not know that the unprovoked U.S.-led invasion of Iraq killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and displaced 4.5 million from their homes? How is that for “misery and death”?
Rather than a failure to communicate, U.S. officials are trying to rewrite recent history, which seems to be much easier to accomplish with the Washington press corps and large segments of the American population than with the Muslim world.
But why isn’t there a frank discussion by America’s leaders and media about the real motivation of Muslim anger toward the United States? Why was Helen Thomas the only journalist to raise the touchy but central question of motive?
Peeking Behind the Screen
We witnessed a similar phenomenon when the 9/11 Commission Report tiptoed into a cautious discussion of possible motives behind the 9/11 attacks. To their credit, the drafters of that report apparently went as far as their masters would allow, in gingerly introducing a major elephant into the room:
“America’s policy choices have consequences. Right or wrong, it is simply a fact that American policy regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and American actions in Iraq are dominant staples of popular commentary across the Arab and Muslim world.” (p. 376)
When asked later about the flabby way that last sentence ended, former Congressman Lee Hamilton, Vice-Chair of the 9/11 Commission, explained that there had been a Donnybrook over whether that paragraph could be included at all.
The drafters also squeezed in the reason given by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed as to why he “masterminded” the attacks on 9/11:
“By his own account, KSM’s animus toward the United States stemmed … from his violent disagreement with U.S. foreign policy favoring Israel.”
Would you believe that former Vice President Dick Cheney has also pointed to U.S. support for Israel as one of the “true sources of resentment”? This unique piece of honesty crept into his speech to the American Enterprise Institute on May 21, 2009.
Sure, he also trotted out the bromide that the terrorists hate “all the things that make us a force for good in the world.” But the Israel factor slipped into the speech, perhaps an inadvertent acknowledgement of the Israeli albatross adorning the neck of U.S. policy in the Middle East.
Very few pundits and academicians are willing to allude to this reality, presumably out of fear for their future career prospects.
Former senior CIA officer Paul Pillar, now a professor at Georgetown University, is one of the few willing to refer, in his typically understated way, to “all the other things … including policies and practices that affect the likelihood that people … will be radicalized, and will try to act out the anger against us.” One has to fill in the blanks regarding what those “other things” are.
But no worries. Secretary Napolitano has a fix for this unmentionable conundrum. It’s called “counter-radicalization,” which she describes thusly:
“How do we identify someone before they become radicalized to the point where they’re ready to blow themselves up with others on a plane? And how do we communicate better American values and so forth … around the globe?”
Better communication. That’s the ticket.
Hypocrisy and Double Talk
But Napolitano doesn’t acknowledge the underlying problem, which is that many Muslims have watched Washington’s behavior closely for many years and view U.S. declarations about peace, justice, democracy and human rights as infuriating examples of hypocrisy and double talk.
So, Washington’s sanitized discussion about motives for terrorism seems more intended for the U.S. domestic audience than the Muslim world.
After all, people in the Middle East already know how Palestinians have been mistreated for decades; how Washington has propped up Arab dictatorships; how Muslims have been locked away at Guantanamo without charges; how the U.S. military has killed civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere; how U.S. mercenaries have escaped punishment for slaughtering innocents.
The purpose of U.S. “public diplomacy” appears more designed to shield Americans from this unpleasant reality, offering instead feel-good palliatives about the beneficence of U.S. actions. Most American journalists and politicians go along with the charade out of fear that otherwise they would be accused of lacking patriotism or sympathizing with “the enemy.”
Commentators who are neither naïve nor afraid are simply shut out of the Fawning Corporate Media (FCM). Salon.com’s Glen Greenwald, for example, has complained loudly about “how our blind, endless enabling of Israeli actions fuels terrorism directed at the U.S.,” and how it is taboo to point this out.
Greenwald recently called attention to a little-noticed Associated Press report on the possible motives of the 23-year-old Nigerian Abdulmutallab. The report quoted his Yemeni friends to the effect that the he was “not overtly extremist.” But they noted that he was open about his sympathies toward the Palestinians and his anger over Israel’s actions in Gaza. (emphasis added)
Former CIA specialist on al Qaeda, Michael Scheuer, has been still more outspoken on what he sees as Israel’s tying down the American Gulliver in the Middle East. Speaking Monday on C-SPAN, he complained bitterly that any debate on the issue of American support for Israel and its effects is normally squelched.
Scheuer added that the Israel Lobby had just succeeded in getting him removed from his job at the Jamestown Foundation think tank for saying that Obama was “doing what I call the Tel Aviv Two Step.”
More to the point, Scheuer asserted:
“For anyone to say that our support for Israel doesn’t hurt us in the Muslim world … is to just defy reality.”
Beyond loss of work, those who speak out can expect ugly accusations. The Israeli media network Arutz Sheva, which is considered the voice of the settler movement, weighed in strongly, citing Scheuer’s C-SPAN remarks and branding them “blatantly anti-Semitic.”
As for media squelching, I continue to be amazed at how otherwise informed folks express total surprise when I refer them to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s statement about his motivation for attacking the United States, as cited on page 147 of the 9/11 Commission Report:
“By his own account, KSM’s animus toward the United States stemmed not from his experience there as a student, but rather from his violent disagreement with U.S. foreign policy favoring Israel.”
And one can understand how even those following such things closely can get confused. Five years after the 9/11 Commission Report, on Aug. 30, 2009, readers of the neoconservative Washington Post were given a diametrically different view, based on what the Post called “an intelligence summary:”
“KSM’s limited and negative experience in the United States — which included a brief jail stay because of unpaid bills — almost certainly helped propel him on his path to becoming a terrorist … He stated that his contact with Americans, while minimal, confirmed his view that the United States was a debauched and racist country.”
Apparently, the Post found this revisionist version politically more convenient, in that it obscured Mohammed’s other explanation implicating “U.S. foreign policy favoring Israel.” It’s much more comforting to view KSM as a disgruntled visitor who nursed his personal grievances into justification for mass murder.
An unusually candid view of the dangers accruing from the U.S. identification with Israel’s policies appeared five years ago in an unclassified study published by the Pentagon-appointed U.S. Defense Science Board on Sept. 23, 2004. Contradicting President George W. Bush, the board stated:
“Muslims do not ‘hate our freedom,’ but rather, they hate our policies. The overwhelming majority voice their objections to what they see as one-sided support in favor of Israel and against Palestinian rights, and the longstanding, even increasing support for what Muslims collectively see as tyrannies, most notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan, and the Gulf States.
“Thus, when American public diplomacy talks about bringing democracy to Islamic societies, this is seen as no more than self-serving hypocrisy.”
Getting back to Abdulmutallab and his motive in trying to blow up the airliner, how was this individual without prior terrorist affiliations suddenly transformed into an international terrorist ready to die while killing innocents?
If, as John Brennan seems to suggest, al Qaeda terrorists are hard-wired for terrorism at birth for the “wanton slaughter of innocents,” how are they able to jump-start a privileged 23-year old Nigerian, inculcate in him with the acquired characteristics of a terrorist, and persuade him to do the bidding of al Qaeda/Persian Gulf?
As indicated above, the young Nigerian seems to have had particular trouble with Israel’s wanton slaughter of more than a thousand civilians in Gaza a year ago, a brutal campaign that was defended in Washington as justifiable self-defense.
Moreover, it appears that Abdulmuttallab is not the only anti-American “terrorist” so motivated. When the Saudi and Yemeni branches of al Qaeda announced that they were uniting into “al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula,” their combined rhetoric railed against the Israeli attack on Gaza.
And on Dec. 30, Humam Khalil Abu Mulal al-Balawi, a 32-year-old Jordanian physician from a family of Palestinian origin, killed seven American CIA operatives and one Jordanian intelligence officer near Khost, Afghanistan, when he detonated a suicide bomb.
Though most U.S. media stories treated al-Balawi as a fanatical double-agent driven by irrational hatreds, other motivations could be gleaned by carefully reading articles about his personal history.
Al-Balawi’s mother told Agence France-Presse that her son had never been an “extremist.” Al-Balawi’s widow, Defne Bayrak, made a similar statement to Newsweek. In a New York Times article, al-Balawi’s brother was quoted as describing him as a “very good brother” and a “brilliant doctor.”
So what led al-Balawi to take his own life in order to kill U.S. and Jordanian intelligence operatives?
Al-Balawi’s widow said her husband “started to change” after the American-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. His brother said al-Balawi “changed” during last year’s three-week-long Israeli offensive in Gaza, which killed about 1,300 Palestinians.
When al-Balawi volunteered with a medical organization to treat injured Palestinians in Gaza, he was arrested by Jordanian authorities, his brother said.
It was after that arrest that the Jordanian intelligence service apparently coerced or “recruited” al-Balawi to become a spy who would penetrate al Qaeda’s hierarchy and provide actionable intelligence to the CIA.
“If you catch a cat and put it in a corner, she will jump on you,” the brother said in explaining why al-Balawi would turn to a suicide attack.
“My husband was anti-American; so am I,” his widow said, adding that her two little girls would grow up fatherless but that she had no regrets.
Are we starting to get the picture of what the United States is up against in the Muslim world?
Does Helen Thomas deserve an adult answer to her question about motive? Has President Obama been able to assimilate all this?
Or is the U.S. political/media establishment incapable of confronting this reality and/or taking meaningful action to alleviate the underlying causes of the violence?
Is the reported reaction of a CIA official to al-Balawi’s attack the appropriate one: “Last week’s attack will be avenged. Some very bad people will eventually have a very bad day.”
Revenge has not always turned out very well in the past.
Does anyone remember the brutal killing of four Blackwater contractors on March 31, 2004, when they took a wrong turn and ended up in the Iraqi city of Fallujah — and how U.S. forces virtually leveled that large city in retribution after George W. Bush won his second term the following November?
If you read only the Fawning Corporate Media, you would blissfully think that the killing of the four Blackwater operatives was the work of fanatical animals who got – along with their neighbors – what they deserved. You wouldn’t know that the killings represented the second turn in that specific cycle of violence.
On March 22, 2004, Israeli forces assassinated the then-spiritual leader of Hamas in Gaza, Sheikh Yassin — a withering old man, blind and confined to a wheelchair.
That murder, plus sloppy navigation by the Blackwater men, set the stage for the next set of brutalities. The Blackwater operatives were killed by a group that described itself as the “Sheikh Yassin Revenge Brigade.”
Pamphlets and posters were all over the scene of the attack; one of the trucks that pulled around body parts of the mercenaries had a poster of Yassin in its window, as did store fronts all over Fallujah.
We can wish Janet Napolitano luck with her “counter-radicalization” project and President Obama with his effort to “communicate clearly to Muslims,” but there will be no diminution in the endless cycles of violence unless legitimate grievances are addressed on all sides.
It might also help if the American people were finally let in on the root causes for what otherwise get dismissed as irrational actions by Muslims.
Ray McGovern now works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. During a 27-year career at CIA, he served under nine CIA directors and in all four of CIA’s main directorates, including operations. He is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).
There are certain provisions of the Patriot Act handed to the American people in the wake of 9/11 that are set to expire at the end of 2009. The Senate is set to disentangle itself from the healthcare debate long enough to address the issues in response to the Obama administration’s desire to reauthorize the Patriot Act. Then the Senate bill would have to be reconciled with one of two bills already introduced in the House.
Currently the two bills in the House and one in the Senate contain different approaches and proposals to the various expiring provisions of the Patriot Act. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are said to be working toward an agreement so that a consensus and passage can be quickly reached.
The version in the Senate, the Leahy/Feinstein Bill S.1692, would reauthorize three very questionable provisions until the end of 2013. H.R. 3845 sponsored by John Conyers (D-Mich.) would reauthorize two provisions, allowing one to lapse. Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas) introduced his version, H.R. 3969, into the House and it is said to mimic the Leahy/Feinstein bill in the Senate.
While H.R. 3969 has not made its way through the various committees yet, H.R. 3845 has and is the most likely candidate to be moved forward. It is already poised to skip any formal markups so it could be brought to the floor very quickly and without much notice.
Limiting the size and scope of the Patriot Act is not altogether a bad idea. But in order to stop the spread of a totalitarian state and return to our constitutional principles of limited government, the Patriot Act would need to be eliminated altogether.
Last night, President Obama announced both his decision to add 30,000 U.S. troops to the mire in Afghanistan and his desire to see other countries and N.A.T.O. match his surge. Thanks to U.S. taxpayers, mercenaries will continue to be a part of the foreign presence in Afghanistan. The Republicans support the President’s move and are expected to reward President Obama with the bulk of their Congressional votes to pass his plan.
However, there is deep disquiet today within the ranks of the President’s own base in the Democratic Party, with independents, and with middle-of-the-roaders called “swing” voters. In unprecedented numbers, voters in the United States of all previous political persuasions went to the polls and invested their dreams and, most importantly, their votes in the “hope” and “change” promised by the Obama campaign. But in light of the President’s defense of Bush Administration war crimes and torture in U.S. courts, the transfer of trillions of hard-earned taxpayer dollars to the wealthy banking elite, continued spying on environmental and peace activists as well as support for the extension of the Patriot Act, and removal of Medicare-for-all (single payer) as a central feature of proposed health care reform, Obama voters are rethinking their support.
Already, according to a Daily Koss report written by Steve Singiser: “Two in five Democratic voters either consider themselves unlikely to vote at this point in time, or have already made the firm decision to remove themselves from the 2010 electorate pool. Indeed, Democrats were three times more likely to say that they will ‘definitely not vote’ in 2010 than are Republicans.” By contrast, Republicans are happy today. Almost giddy with glee as far as I can see. Warmonger John McCain and most Republicans will make sure the President gets what he wants. And in 2012, they will abandon their support of this President and support the candidate that comes from their base.
War-weary voters in this country are committed to peace. They reject the notion, as put forward by Vice President Dick Cheney that “the American way of life” is something worth fighting for when that means that war becomes an energy policy.
Tragically, the major unstated U.S. interest in the region that the President has bought into is the unacceptability of a proposed Iran-Pakistan-India (I-P-I) pipeline at a time when our country is saber-rattling against and threatening Iran with more sanctions. Earlier this year, Iran and Pakistan decided to move forward with their pipeline even if India decides to drop out. Ironically, I-P-I is also known as the “peace pipeline.”
The alternative pipeline route, Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (T-A-P-I), is supported by Washington because it denies an important economic benefit to Iran. Sadly, nowhere in the President’s remarks did he mention the pipeline on which construction is slated to begin in 2010.
U.S. policy is not only guided by pipeline politics. There is also the consideration of chessboard geo-positioning necessary to contain Russia, China, and ensure U.S. empire—for those inclined to traditional Cold Warrior “containment” thinking. Apparently, behind what some are calling a “shadow war in Muslim lands,” are targeted assassination teams that have wreaked tri-border havoc in Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
Fortunately, this time around, I’m convinced that U.S. voters will vote for peace. President Obama has now ensured this outcome. Imagine, John McCain and Joe Lieberman have just been made very happy by the President’s choice while that same choice leaves swing voters, independents, and some Democrats who enthusiastically supported Obama’s campaign looking for somewhere else to go.
So it’s come to this. Obama’s gotta wage his war, and I gotta sit in the street.
It’s not that I like blocking traffic or getting arrested or dealing with the fall-out when I could be reading a book. It’s that I can’t live with endless war and I must end it or surely die.
I’m not leaving this country. This is my mess, so help me, and I’ll scrub it till my fingers bleed. I will not compromise with genocide. I will not run from those behind it.
Endless war is the promise of our time, signed in blood and sealed with death’s own kiss. Its stench hangs around us heavy smog. While I dare not breath for fear of intoxication, I cannot hold much longer.
This is the American nightmare, and it’s shattering my heart like glass.
As I stepped to the microphone outside West Point Military Academy Tuesday, all I wanted was to go home, honestly. Good lord, don’t let me cry in front of these people, I thought. Why must I play out this misery for all to see?
Obama’s only doing exactly what he said he’d do, but still, I’m heartbroken. I can’t go on like this.
I’ve been a mess. When I try to imagine the future of this country, I see nothing. I have no faith that good always triumphs anymore. I think where there’s a will to change there’s a way to subvert it. I taste the world I am to inherit, and it makes me sick to my stomach.
But as I admitted to the crowd my feelings of hopelessness and despondency, I realized once again, that I am not alone. People stared into my eyes with equally heavy brows and clenching teeth. When they came close, I saw tears in their eyes as well, and they seemed thankful to see them in mine.
Our suffering is one. We are the disenfranchised. In our lives, our jobs, our politics; we have been denigrated to utter impotence. People are not meant to live this way, and we cry out in one voice through history for liberation. Again and again, we’ve had our voices ignored and our mutual bonds dissolved by paranoia and fury.
But I couldn’t let him get away with it. They think his slick speeches and skin color will keep the left at home. Someone had to go down for this, even if it was me.
We marched to the installation gate where a line of cops and troops were waiting. When we sat down in front of the barricades, they didn’t seem all that concerned. Young and old alike joined us on the pavement. I was left awestruck by the singular dedication of the burgeoning crowd to ending our Global War of Lies and Terror.
For 30 minutes, the hundreds of us shouted down the full winter moon. We chanted our opposition to escalation. We lamented the change we were promised and denied. The message was loud and in no unmistakable terms: Obama, this is the death of your presidency!
When we moved into the traffic lane after he started his speech, I felt a great warmth from within for the first time in weeks. While through my head streamed images of Satyagrahas past, my heart pounded reassurance, for it knew I was there for a reason.
This government refuses to respond to the needs and demands of its people. It’s come to this. I refuse to be ignored. I pledge to be peacefully ungovernable.
The police carried my crutches while I limped to the car in hand-cuffs. A sense of satisfaction settled in as I waited in the back and counted those who’d be joining me ‘downtown.’ Six of us in total. We’d done it. At least to us, Obama had not gotten away with it.
Not an hour later, we were released. The officers who I dealt with were beyond respectful to us and our cause. While I didn’t make any friends, I didn’t find any enemies. At some point during the evening, I cut my finger on the pavement, but beyond that, we walked away with little more than disorderly conduct charges and a notice to appear Dec. 15 at 6:30 p.m. at the Town Court at 254 Main St. Highland Falls, NY 10928. (Come join us!)
As we left the station, I was thrilled to see a sidewalk full of activists waiting and to find a prominent lawyer in town already representing us. While Obama had shattered our dreams of peace, we felt we’d won the day. Even with the impending escalation, we found the strength to joyously declare the birth of a new peace movement!
The government won this round. 30,000 more troops is a clear loss for us and more importantly the people of Afghanistan. But from what I saw, we are ready to rededicate ourselves to unwavering resistence from within. In the words of our former dictator, “fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice…see, you can’t get fooled again.”
Obama is a war president and we are a peace movement. As long as we’re moving, Obama, and you refuse to be governed, we’ll refuse to be governed. Your racist wars will end and this world will know peace in our lifetimes. Until that day, rest assured that WE WILL BE YOUR INSURGENCY!
Recent legislation attempting to legitimize the use of internment camps to detain U.S. citizens in the event of an uprising or civil unrest has many people asking what nation they live in.
In a country born out of political dissent, we watch our leaders in Washington slowly pass bills that label ordinary Americans as thought criminals and potential domestic terrorists for simply questioning the actions of their government. We see third party candidates and their impassioned supporters listed in secret government reports that call their allegiance into question and brand them as fanatics and extremists.
Senate committee hearings and official FBI documents further illustrate the mindset of our elected officials as they classify homeschoolers, gun rights activists and anti-abortionists as threats against the existing social and political order; by default creating an entire nation of radicals and revolutionaries – where everyone is a suspect… equally guilty until proven otherwise.
How has our government shown that they will deal with these people? The same way as every other totalitarian regime throughout history – marginalize their activities then lock them up. Prisons are being built; internment camps constructed and laws passed that deal severely with anyone who dares to step out of line or ask too many questions.