Hit a bit of a rough patch a couple weeks ago. Woke up with major bloating that has made it hard to eat, and I’m really energy drained. Might be candida, might just be cleansing in process. Doesn’t feel cancer related, but it’s definitely been a hard time. Yesterday I started to feel a shift, so hopefully getting back on track and getting my energy back soon.
Glen Greenwald ~ Salon
His invasion of Iraq caused the deaths of at least 100,000 (and almost certainly more) innocent Iraqis: vastly more than bin Laden could have dreamed of causing. It left millions of people internally and externally displaced for years. It destroyed a nation of 26 million people. It was without question an illegal war of aggression: what the lead prosecutor of the Nuremberg Trials — as Ferencz just reminded us — called the “the central crime in this pattern of crimes, the kingpin which holds them all together.” And that’s to say nothing of the worldwide regime of torture, disappearances, and black sites created by the U.S during the Bush years.
Yet the very same country — and often the very same people — collectively insisting upon the imperative of punishing civilian deaths (in the bin Laden case) has banded together to shield George Bush from any accountability of any kind. Both political parties — and the current President — have invented entirely new Orwellian slogans of pure lawlessness to justify this protection (Look Forward, Not Backward): one that selectively operates to protect only high-level U.S. war criminals but not those who expose their crimes. Worse, many of Bush’s most egregious crimes — including the false pretenses that led to this unfathomably lethal aggressive war and the widespread abuse of prisoners that accompanied it — were well known to the country when it re-elected him in 2004.
Glenn Greenwald | Salon
Our wars are eerily like those pursued by European monarchs in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries: conflicts carried out by professional militaries and bands of mercenaries, largely at the whim of what we might now call a unitary executive, funded by deficit spending, for the purposes of protecting or extending the interests of a ruling elite.
Cynics might say it has always been thus in the United States. After all, the War of 1812 was known to critics as â€œMr. Madisonâ€™s Warâ€ and the Mexican-American War of the 1840s was â€œMr. Polkâ€™s War.â€ The Spanish-American War of 1898 was a naked war of expansion vigorously denounced by American anti-imperialists. Yet in those conflicts there was at least genuine national debate, as well as formal declarations of war by Congress.
Todayâ€™s ruling class in Washington no longer bothers to make a pretense of following the letter of our Constitution — and they sidestep its spirit as well, invoking hollow claims of executive privilege or higher callings of humanitarian service (as in Libya) or of exporting democracy (as in Afghanistan). But Libya is still torn by civil war, and Afghanistan has yet to morph into Oregon.
William Astore | Tomdispatch.com
We did exactly what bin Laden said he wanted us to do: Give up our freedoms (like the freedom to be assumed innocent until proven guilty), engage our military in Muslim countries so that we will be hated by Muslims, and wipe ourselves out financially in doing so. Done, done and done, Osama. You had our number. You somehow knew we would eagerly give up our constitutional rights and become more like the authoritarian state you dreamed of. You knew we would exhaust our military and willingly go into more debt in eight years than we had accumulated in the previous 200 years combined.
Maybe you knew us so well because you were once one of our mercenaries, funded and armed by us via our friends in Pakistan to fight the other Evil Empire in the last battle of the Cold War. Only, when the killing stopped, the trained killer, our “Frankenstein,” couldn’t. The monster, you, would soon turn on us.
If we really want to send bin Laden not just to his death, but also to his defeat, may I suggest that we reverse all of that right now. End the wars, bring the troops home, make the rich pay for this mess, and restore our privacy and due process rights that used to distinguish us from any other country.
Michael Moore | MichaelMoore.com
Yesterday, riding a wave of adulation and military-reverence, the Obama administration tried to end the life of this American citizen — never charged with, let alone convicted of, any crime — with a drone strike in Yemen, but missed and killed two other people instead:
A missile strike from an American military drone in a remote region of Yemen on Thursday was aimed at killing Anwar al-Awlaki, the radical American-born cleric believed to be hiding in the country, American officials said Friday.
The attack does not appear to have killed Mr. Awlaki, the officials said, but may have killed operatives of Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen.
The other people killed “may have” been Al Qaeda operatives. Or they “may not have” been. Who cares? They’re mere collateral damage on the glorious road to ending the life of this American citizen without due process.
Glenn Greenwald | Salon
It was our misfortune and Osama bin Ladenâ€™s good luck that Washingtonâ€™s dreams were not those of a global policeman intent on bringing a criminal operation to justice, but of an imperial power whose leaders wanted to lock the oil heartlands of the planet into a Pax Americana for decades to come. So if youâ€™re writing bin Laden’s obituary right now, describe him as a wizard who used the 9/11 attacks to magnify his meager powers many times over.
After all, while he only had the ability to launch major operations every couple of years, Washington — with almost unlimited amounts of money, weapons, and troops at its command — was capable of launching operations every day. In a sense, after 9/11, Bin Laden commanded Washington by taking possession of its deepest fears and desires, the way a bot takes over a computer, and turning them to his own ends.
It was he, thanks to 9/11, who insured that the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan would be put into motion. It was he, thanks to 9/11, who also insured that the invasion and occupation of Iraq would be launched. It was he, thanks to 9/11, who brought America’s Afghan war to Pakistan, and American aircraft, bombs, and missiles to Somalia and Yemen to fight that Global War on Terror. And for the last near-decade, he did all this the way a Tai Chi master fights: using not his own minimal strength, but our massive destructive power to create the sort of mayhem in which he undoubtedly imagined that an organization like his could thrive.
Tom Engelhardt | TomDispatch.com
My sense is not that bin Laden brilliantly lured us into a trap â€” or, contrarily, that the convenience with which 9/11 filled an ideological void means it was an inside job â€” but rather, that the trans-national forces of war are in perpetual collusion with one another, united, you might say, in their servitude to Mars. The two sides are really one side and continually, and unconsciously, give each other what they need in order to keep the game going. During the Cold War, the dance of nuclear provocation had its own acronym, M.A.D., which stood for mutually assured destruction. The human race has been playing this game with itself for six millennia.
Much as we might want peace, if we cheer Osamaâ€™s death we cheer for the perpetuation of war and, ultimately, our own â€” our childrenâ€™s â€” mutually assured destruction. We will not achieve peace through that one big kill, that one final quaff from the Unholy Grail. We will achieve only more of the same: â€œThe cause of securing our country is not complete.â€
Robert Koehler | CommonDreams.org
Systemic risk in the financial system can be remedied by the taxpayer, but no one will come to the rescue if the environment is destroyed. That it must be destroyed is close to an institutional imperative. Business leaders who are conducting propaganda campaigns to convince the population that anthropogenic global warming is a liberal hoax understand full well how grave is the threat, but they must maximize short-term profit and market share. If they don’t, someone else will.
This vicious cycle could well turn out to be lethal. To see how grave the danger is, simply have a look at the new Congress in the U.S., propelled into power by business funding and propaganda. Almost all are climate deniers. They have already begun to cut funding for measures that might mitigate environmental catastrophe. Worse, some are true believers; for example, the new head of a subcommittee on the environment who explained that global warming cannot be a problem because God promised Noah that there will not be another flood.
Noam Chomsky |Â Tomdispatch.com
So explain something to me: Why does the military of a country convinced it’s becoming ungovernable think itself so capable of making another ungovernable country governable? Whatâ€™s the militaryâ€™s skill set here? What lore, what body of political knowledge, are they drawing on? Who do they think they represent, the Philadelphia of 1776 or the Washington of 2010, and if the latter, why should Americans be considered the globeâ€™s leading experts in good government anymore?
And while weâ€™re at it, fill me in on one other thing: Just what has convinced American officials in Afghanistan and the nationâ€™s capital that they have the special ability to teach, prod, wheedle, bribe, or force Afghans to embark on good governance in their country if we canâ€™t do it in Washington or Sacramento?
Tom Engelhardt | TomDispatch.com
When the U.S. military began a major offensive in southern Afghanistan over the weekend, the killing of children and other civilians was predictable. Lofty rhetoric aside, such deaths come with the territory of war and occupation.
A month ago, President Obama pledged $100 million in U.S. government aid to earthquake-devastated Haiti. Compare that to the $100 billion price tag to keep 100,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan for a year.
While commanders in Afghanistan were launching what the New York Times called “the largest offensive military operation since the American-led coalition invaded the country in 2001,” the situation in Haiti was clearly dire.
With more than a million Haitians still homeless, vast numbers — the latest estimates are around 75 percent — don’t have tents or tarps. The rainy season is fast approaching, with serious dangers of typhoid and dysentery.
No shortage of bombs in Afghanistan; a lethal shortage of tents in Haiti. Such priorities — actual, not rhetorical — are routine.
Last summer, I saw hundreds of children and other civilians at the Helmand Refugee Camp District 5, a miserable makeshift encampment in Kabul. The U.S. government had ample resources for bombing their neighborhoods in the Helmand Valley — but was doing nothing to help the desperate refugees to survive after they fled to Afghanistan’s capital city.
Such priorities have parallels at home. The military hawks and deficit hawks are now swooping along Pennsylvania Avenue in tight formation. There’s plenty of money in the U.S. Treasury for war in Afghanistan. But domestic spending to meet human needs — job creation, for instance — is another matter.
Norman Solomon | CommonDreams.org