Peace and War

Feb
09

Good Riddance to Robert E. Lee

Tag: Civil Rights, Peace and War

Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, the city of Charlottesville, Va., city council has voted to remove an imposing statue of Robert E. Lee (and the horse he never rode in on) from Lee Park, and to rename and redesign the park.

The statue of this non-Charlottesvillian had been put up in a whites-only park during the 1920s at the whim of an extremely wealthy and racist individual. So, for a representative government to vote, following a very public deliberative process with voluminous and diverse input from city residents is -- if nothing else -- a step toward democracy.

I think it's much more as well. There are two issues at stake here, neither of them dead issues from the past. One is race. The other is war.

Feb
08

Mapping the War Machine

Tag: Peace and War

Republished from a multipage article at http://worldbeyondwar.org/mapwar

When it comes to understanding wars, for some people, a picture of the dead or of the injured or of the traumatized or of those made refugees can be worth ten million words. And, for at least some of us, a picture of where war is in the world can be worth at least a thousand.

What follows are two dozen pictures mapping war and militarism and the struggle for peace overlaid on a global image of nations. These are drawn from — and you can create your own with — an online tool for mapping militarism published by World Beyond War at bit.ly/mappingmilitarism. This tool has just been updated with new data. On many of the maps at that link, unlike with the static images that follow, you can scroll back in time to see changes over recent years.

By laying some important facts about war on the map, we’re able to recognize some ideas that rarely make it into prose. Here are a few examples:

The war in Afghanistan and the foreign occupation of Afghanistan have officially ended, but a map of the nations with troops still occupying Afghanistan still looks like NATO colonialism. The list of locations of severe wars changes from year to year but sticks to a certain region of the world — a region in which none of the major producers of the weapons of war and few of the big spenders on war can be found — but from which the bulk of refugees flee and in which the biggest concentration of that violence labeled “terrorism” germinates, these being two of war’s many tragic consequences. The United States dominates the war business, the sale of weapons to other nations, the sale of weapons to poor nations, the sale of weapons to the Middle East, the deployment of troops abroad, spending on its own military, and the number of wars engaged in. Only Russia is anywhere close to the U.S. in weapons dealing, and this pair of countries nearly splits the vast majority of the nuclear weapons possessed on earth. Efforts toward peace and disarmament are widespread and coming largely from the less-armed, less bellicose parts of the world, but not entirely. And those governments that are otherwise doing well by the world tend to be those not engaged in warfare (“humanitarian” warfare or otherwise).

The presentation that follows can also be found as a “prezi” (a variation on what’s more commonly called a powerpoint and used to be called a slide show). You can grab the prezi for your own use at the World Beyond War events resources page.

WHICH NATIONS HAVE TROOPS IN AFGHANISTAN?

As noted in a petition to end the war in Afghanistan, which you are welcome to sign, the U.S. military now has approximately 8,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, plus 6,000 other NATO troops, 1,000 mercenaries, and another 26,000 contractors (of whom about 8,000 are from the United States). That’s 41,000 people engaged in a foreign occupation of a country, 15 years after the accomplishment of their stated mission to overthrow the Taliban government.

The sources for all the data in all the maps are noted on the map tool at bit.ly/mappingmilitarism. In this case, the source in NATO, which claims 6,941 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. The slightly higher 8,000 figure comes from the U.S. commander in December expressing a hope to reduce the troop number to 8,400 by January 20.

Take a look at where the troops occupying Afghanistan all come from. It’s NATO plus the U.S.’s kangaroo sidekick down under plus 120 Mongolians. It’s the world’s self-appointed but generally resented policemen and a few hired security guards. Here’s an argument that they are doing more harm than good.

Feb
07

Talk Nation Radio: John Burroughs on Using Law Against Climate and Nuclear Dangers

Tag: Peace and War, Public Policy, Talk Nation Radio

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-john-burroughs-on-using-law-against-climate-and-nuclear-dangers

John Burroughs is Executive Director, Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy (www.lcnp.org), based in New York City. He represents LCNP in Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review proceedings, the United Nations, and other international forums. He was a member of the Marshall Islands international legal team in its nuclear disarmament cases in the International Court of Justice. He's the author of numerous publications related to nuclear weapons including contributing to a report called The Climate-Nuclear Nexus, which we discuss.

Burrough's publications include: contributor, Unspeakable suffering - the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons (2013) (available here); contributor, Assuring Destruction Forever: Nuclear Weapon Modernization Around the World (2012) (available here); author, The Legality of Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons: A Guide to the Historic Opinion of the International Court of Justice (1998). He has also published articles and op-eds in journals and newspapers including Fordham International Law Journal, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Arms Control Today, the World Policy Journal, and Newsday. He has taught international law as an adjunct professor at Rutgers Law School, Newark.

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.Producer: David Swanson.Music by Duke Ellington.

Download from LetsTryDemocracy or Archive.Pacifica stations can also download from Audioport.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!

Please embed the SoundCloud audio on your own website!

Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete athttp://TalkNationRadio.org

and athttps://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/tracks

Feb
05

The United States Is Innocent and Has Never Killed Anyone

Tag: Peace and War, Political Ideas

It was bound to be the case that if a U.S. president ever admitted that the United States murdered people and did so on a scale at least as significant as other countries, he would be defending the practice, not denouncing it.

It is not a secret in much of the world that the United States is (as that Putin stooge Martin Luther King Jr. put it) the greatest purveyor of violence on earth. The United States is the top weapons dealer, the top weapons buyer, the biggest military spender, the most widespread imperial presence, the most frequent war maker, the most prolific overthrower of governments, and from 1945 to 2017 the killer of the most people through war.

During this past U.S. election, a debate moderator asked if a candidate would be willing to kill thousands of innocent children as part of basic presidential duties. One can find many faults in Russia and other countries, but in none could one find such an occurrence.

I ask people at public events where I speak to name eight countries bombed under president Barack Obama, and most cannot come close. Nowhere else on earth can people not keep track of their wars.

During this last presidency, the United States developed a new policy of murdering people with missiles from drones. Other nations do not yet have anything to match it.

Hillary Clinton told Goldman Sachs bankers that a no-fly zone in Syria would require killing lots of Syrians, but told the public that a no-fly zone should be created.

For all its evils at home and abroad, Russia -- over the years -- has proposed complete nuclear disarmament, significant overall disarmament, a ban on weapons in space, and a peace settlement in Syria. The United States has broken promises, laws, and morality to expand NATO and its troops to Russia's border.

The reality of U.S. foreign relations is generally treated as "fake news." So, when someone like Donald Trump, who pushes lies and disasters like they're going out of style, blurts out some truth, Democratic partisans are eager to denounce it.

But their blind partisan patriotism just reinforces the truth of what Trump said. As he pursues policies of "stealing oil" and "killing families" he is adding nothing new to the United States' record. Killing has been the primary investment of federal discretionary spending since long before the days of the Bowling Green Massacre.

Feb
04

A Nuclear Kellogg-Briand Pact Is An Even Better Idea Than Its Author Thinks

Tag: Peace and War

A Georgetown Law professor named David Koplow has drafted what he calls a Nuclear Kellogg-Briand Pact. In an article proposing it, Koplow does something all too rare, he recognizes some of the merits of the Kellogg-Briand Pact. But he misses others of those merits, as I described them in my 2011 book When The World Outlawed War.

Koplow acknowledges the cultural shift that the pact was central to, that shifted common understanding of war from something that just happens like the weather to something that can be controlled, should be abolished, and would henceforth be illegal. He acknowledges the role of the pact in motivating trials (albeit one-sided trials) for the crime of war following World War II.

Feb
03

Apologies to Norway

Tag: Peace and War, Political Ideas
To my friends and cousins in Norway:  Re this story

Your former prime minister was abused in the way that thousands of people are by my government -- mine because my great grandparents abandoned your relatively civilized land for this one. 

I am deeply sorry and apologize on behalf of the United States. Please forgive it. It knows not what it does.  

This happened at an airport named for a criminal. It happens all the time, all over the United States, but people are starting to resist it. There are big protests that you'll have to send your own reporters to see. The U.S. media won't inform you.

If you'd like to see dangerous trends reversed in the United States, you can help. Stop buying U.S. weapons. Stop collaborating with NATO. Start giving the Nobel Peace Prize to actual peace advocates.  We cannot do this alone. And when we go down, we bring the world along.   Peace, David
Feb
03

No, Trump Did Not Make a Mistake in Yemen

Tag: Peace and War

I gather these are the features people have concerns about in the recent U.S. raid in Yemen.

1. It was fought on the ground rather than from the air.

2. An American died.

3. The American was a Navy SEAL Team 6 member, more valuable than other Americans.

4. Trump approved it instead of Obama.

5. Trump didn't have "proper" "intelligence."

6. Trump had the wrong accomplices in the room.

7. Trump wasn't in the room.

8. The U.S. hasn't declared war against Yemen.

9. Trump, who is legally responsible for this crime, sounds like an intoxicated idiot.

10. Last and certainly least, a bit too many children and women were killed.

May I respectfully request everyone pushing these ideas to stick a "Make America Great Again" hat in their mouth and eat it?

What in the hell is the matter with you people?

War is a crime. War is murder. Murder is a crime. What if Trump were articulate? What if he had the right damn intelligence, as Obama supposedly did during the past 8 years of murdering men, women, and children? If you bomb them from on high are they less murdered than if you do it from the ground? How many dead foreigners are worth one American? or one member of the criminal enterprise called Navy SEAL Team 6? The United States hasn't declared war since 1941. Every war is criminal under Kellogg-Briand and under the United Nations Charter. Every murder of every human being in a war, regardless of age or gender, is an immoral and criminal murder.

Are you the same people who are starting to care about refugees from U.S. wars? Are you utterly incapable of caring about ending the wars that create the refugees by killing their loved ones?

I'm sure the sheets are comfortable, but as you sleep actual monsters are approaching your bed. Please, please, please -- PLEASE -- wake the fuck up!

Jan
31

Talk Nation Radio: U.S. Mass Incarceration, Police Militarization, and Crimes Against Palestinians

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-us-mass-incarceration-police-militarization-and-crimes-against-palestinians

Two guests this week: Jeff Fogel and Ntebo Mokuena.

 

Jeff Fogel is a candidate for Commonwealth's Attorney here in Charlottesville, Virginia. After graduating from Rutgers School of Law in 1969, Jeff received a fellowship to work providing legal services to indigent residents in Newark, New Jersey.  After several years, he left that position to become a highly touted criminal defense lawyer.  Recognizing that he was limited in impact by representing one criminal defendant at a time, Jeff moved into a civil rights practice with the hope of having an impact on the criminal justice system while preserving the constitutional rights of everyone.  Jeff has practiced in NJ, NY, PR and, for the last 10 years, Virginia. He has been the executive and legal director of the ACLU of New Jersey and the Legal Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights while teaching civil rights, civil liberties and trial practice at Rutgers and NYU School of Law. See http://fogelforcca.us

 

 

Ntebo Mokuena is a senior at American University and is majoring in Political Science with a gender, race,  and politics concentration along with a minor in Art History and a certificate in Women, Policy, and Political Leadership. She was born and raised in the DC area and on campus is involved with Students for Justice in Palestine, which is a decentralized student group that supports the BDS movement and self determination of Palestinians. The group is part of the Community Action and Social Justice coalition. See https://m.facebook.com/AmericanSJP/

 

Useful links with regards to Israel-U.S. police exchange programs:

http://mondoweiss.net/2016/01/enforcement-training-terrorism

https://www.amnesty.org/en/countries/middle-east-and-north-africa/israel-and-occupied-palestinian-territories/report-israel-and-occupied-palestinian-territories/

http://blog.amnestyusa.org/middle-east/with-whom-are-many-u-s-police-departments-training-with-a-chronic-human-rights-violator-israel/

https://electronicintifada.net/content/police-training-programs-twin-us-israeli-racism/9834

https://www.kravmaga.com/programs/law-enforcement-military/force-training-division-law-enforcement

 

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.Producer: David Swanson.Music by Duke Ellington.

Download from LetsTryDemocracy or Archive.Pacifica stations can also download from Audioport.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!

Please embed the SoundCloud audio on your own website!

Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete athttp://TalkNationRadio.org

and athttps://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/tracks

Jan
31

The Next Step in Caring

Tag: Peace and War, Political Ideas

Airport resistance is the biggest step forward by the U.S. public in years.

Why do I say that? Because this is unfunded, largely unpartisan activism that is largely selfless, largely focused on helping unknown strangers, driven by compassion and love, not political ideology, greed, or vengeance, and in line with activism around the globe. It's also targeted at the location of the harm, directly resisting the injustice, and achieving immediate partial successes, including very meaningful successes for certain individuals. It's gaining support from people never before engaged in any activism. And it shows no signs of any significant undesirable side-effects. This is a movement to be built on, and I have an idea what a next step should be.

Jan
30

Open Letter to Donald Trump: End U.S. War in Afghanistan

Tag: Peace and War

The U.S. war in Afghanistan is well into its 16th year. In 2014 President Obama declared it over, but it will remain a political, financial, security, legal, and moral problem unless you actually end it.

The U.S. military now has approximately 8,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan , plus 6,000 other NATO troops, 1,000 mercenaries, and another 26,000 contractors (of whom about 8,000 are from the United States). That's 41,000 people engaged in a foreign occupation of a country 15 years after the accomplishment of their stated mission to overthrow the Taliban government.

During each of the past 15 years, our government in Washington has informed us that success was imminent. During each of the past 15 years, Afghanistan has continued its descent into poverty, violence, environmental degradation, and instability. The withdrawal of U.S. and NATO troops would send a signal to the world, and to the people of Afghanistan, that the time has come to try a different approach, something other than more troops and weaponry.

The ambassador from the U.S.-brokered and funded Afghan Unity government has reportedly told you that maintaining U.S. involvement in Afghanistan is "as urgent as it was on Sept. 11, 2001." There's no reason to believe he won't tell you that for the next four years, even though John Kerry tells us “Afghanistan now has a well-trained armed force ...meeting the challenge posed by the Taliban and other terrorists groups.” But involvement need not take its current form.  

The United States is spending $4 million an hour on planes, drones, bombs, guns, and over-priced contractors in a country that needs food and agricultural equipment, much of which could be provided by U.S. businesses. Thus far, the United States has spent an outrageous $783 billion with virtually nothing to show for it except the death of thousands of U.S. soldiers , and the death, injury and displacement of millions of Afghans. The Afghanistan War has been and will continue to be, as long as it lasts, a steady source of scandalous stories of fraud and waste. Even as an investment in the U.S. economy this war has been a bust.

But the war has had a substantial impact on our security: it has endangered us. Before Faisal Shahzad tried to blow up a car in Times Square, he had tried to join the war against the United States in Afghanistan. In numerous other incidents, terrorists targeting the United States have stated their motives as including revenge for the U.S. war in Afghanistan, along with other U.S. wars in the region. There is no reason to imagine this will change.

In addition, Afghanistan is the one nation where the United States is engaged in major warfare with a country that is a member of the International Criminal Court. That body has now announced that it is investigating possible prosecutions for U.S. crimes in Afghanistan. Over the past 15 years, we have been treated to an almost routine repetition of scandals: hunting children from helicopters, blowing up hospitals with drones, urinating on corpses -- all fueling anti-U.S. propaganda, all brutalizing and shaming the United States.

Ordering young American men and women into a kill-or-die mission that was accomplished 15 years ago is a lot to ask. Expecting them to believe in that mission is too much. That fact may help explain this one: the top killer of U.S. troops in Afghanistan is suicide. The second highest killer of American military is green on blue, or the Afghan youth who the U.S. is training are turning their weapons on their trainers! You yourself recognized this, saying: "Let's get out of Afghanistan. Our troops are being killed by the Afghans we train and we waste billions there. Nonsense! Rebuild the USA."

The withdrawal of U.S. troops would also be good for the Afghan people, as the presence of foreign soldiers has been an obstacle to peace talks. The Afghans themselves have to determine their future, and will only be able to do so once there is an end to foreign intervention.

We urge you to turn the page on this catastrophic military intervention. Bring all U.S. troops home from Afghanistan. Cease U.S. airstrikes and instead, for a fraction of the cost, help the Afghans with food, shelter, and agricultural equipment.

SIGNED BY:Elliott Adams, Veterans For PeaceDeborah K. Andresen, Tackling Torture at the TopRita Archibald, Nonviolence TrainerJudy Bello, Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the WarsMedea Benjamin, Code PinkFred BiallyBarry Binks, Veterans for Peace Ch. 87, Occupy BealeToby Blome', Code PinkAlison Bodine, Mobilization Against War and OccupationLeah Bolger, World Beyond WarJohn Calder, Veterans for Peace Ch. 69Kathleen Christison, Author, Veterans for PeaceRamsey Clark, former U.S. Attorney GeneralHelena Cobban, Just World BooksDavid Cobb, 2004 Green Party Presidential NomineeJeff Cohen, RootsAction.orgGerry Condon,Veterans for Peace National Board of DirectorsMary Crosby, Roman Catholic Women PriestsJames Eilers, Code Pink AuxiliaryMichael Eisenscher, U.S. Labor Against the WarMelissa Crosby, Black Lives MatterNicolas J S Davies, authorMary Dean, World Beyond WarThomas Dickinson, Tackling Torture at the Top, Women Against Military MadnessJennifer DiZio, UC BerkeleyMaria Eitz, Roman Catholic Women PriestsDaniel Ellsberg, whistleblowerJodie Evans, Code PinkJoseph J. Fahey, Pax Christi USA Ambassador of PeaceRobert Fantina, World Beyond WarBill Fletcher Jr., BlackCommentator.comMargaret Flowers, Popular ResistanceGlen Ford, Black Agenda ReportBruce K. Gagnon, Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in SpaceJohan Galtung, Founder Trancend InterntionalLindsey German, Stop the War Coalition UKThe Rev. Dr. Diana C. Gibson, Multifaith Voices for Peace & JusticeMichael Goldstein, The 99 PercentKevin Gosztola, Shadowproof.comWill Griffin, The Peace ReportPatty Guerrero, Tackling Torture at the Top, Women Against  Military Madness, Pax-SalonBishop Thomas Gumbleton, Catholic Archdiocese of DetroitAmith Gupta, student, NYU School of LawBill Habedank, Veterans For Peace Ch. 115Steve Harms, Peace Lutheran Church, Past-President Interfaith Council of Contra Costa CountyDavid Hartsough, PeaceworkersJan Hartsough, San Francisco Friends MeetingHayley Hathaway, Quaker Earthcare WitnessDud Hendrick, Veterans for PeaceAdam Hochschild, authorMatthew Hoh, former director of Afghanistan Study GroupMartha Hubert, Code Pink San FranciscoAaron Hughes, Iraq Veterans Against the WarTony Jenkins, World Beyond WarSonja Johnson, Women Against Military MadnessKathy Kelly, Voices For Creative NonviolenceGary W. King, Tackling Torture at the Top, Women Against Military MadnessJohn Kiriakou, former Central Intelligence agency officerDennis Kucinich, former Member of United States CongressPeter Kuznick, Professor of History, American UniversityBarry Ladendorf, Veterans For Peace President Board of DirectorsPaul Leuenberger, Veterans for PeaceDave Lindorff, This Can't Be HappeningDave Logsdon, Veterans For Peace Ch. 27Richard Lord, Charlottesville Center for Peace and JusticeDouglas Mackey, Global Days of ListeningJody Mackey, New Traditions Fair TradeMike Madden, Veterans For Peace Ch. 27Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace LaureateBen Manski, Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic RevolutionStephen Matchett, AVP Trainer, San Francisco Friends MeetingSherri Maurin, Campaign Nonviolence, Associate Veterans for Peace Ch. 69Ken Mayers, Veterans for PeaceRay McGovern, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for SanityCynthia McKinney, former member of United States CongressStephen McNeil, American Friends Service CommitteeMichael T. McPhearson, Veterans For Peace Executive DirectorTom Morman, Nonviolence Coalition San JoseNick Mottern, Knowdrones.comElizabeth Murray, former Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East, NICMichael Nagler, Metta Center for Nonviolence Founder and PresidentCarroll Nast, Veterans for Peace Ch. 122Agneta Norberg, Swedish Peace CouncilCathe Norman, Veterans for Peace AssociateTom Norman, Veterans for Peace Ch. 60Todd E. Pierce, JA, MAJ, USA (Ret.)Gareth Porter, journalist, authorPancho Francisco Ramos-Stierle, Casa de Paz, Canticle FarmJohn C. Reiger, Veterans For PeaceDenny Riley, Veterans For Peace Chapter 69Coleen Rowley, retired FBI agent and legal counselMike Rufo, MusicianJudith Sandoval, Veterans for Peace Ch. 69Bill Schwab, Americans for JusticeJulie Searle, EducatorMichael Shaughnessy, educatorCindy Sheehan, peace activistEva Sivill, Casa de Paz, Canticle FarmAlice Slater, Nuclear Age Peace FoundationGar Smith, Environmentalists Against WarDavid Solnit, Global Organizer, Writer, PuppeteerNorman Solomon, RootsAction.orgMelvin Starks, Unitarian Universalist ChurchJill Stein, 2016 Green Party presidential candidateDavid Swanson, World Beyond WarShelley Tannenbaum, Quaker Earthcare WitnessBrian Terrell, Voices for Creative NonviolenceTiffany Tool, Nonviolent PeaceforceChip Tucker, Charlottesville Friends MeetingLouie J. Vitale, OFM, Pace e Bene, Nevada Desert ExperienceZohreh Whitaker, Veterans for Peace, Peace ActionPhil Wilayto, the Virginia DefenderAnn Wright, retired U.S. Army colonelKevin Zeese, Popular Resistance

(organizations above for identification)

ALSO SIGNED BY:

Creating a Culture of PeaceMobilization Against War and Occupation, Vancouver CanadaPopular ResistanceVeterans For PeaceVoices for Creative NonviolenceWorld Beyond War

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