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
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
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
The killing of Osama bin Laden illustrates yet again the utter folly of responding to acts of terrorism by waging â€œpre-emptiveâ€ war against nation-states — the heart of the so-called â€œBush Doctrine,â€ which has continued in many (but not all) respects under the Obama administration. It is no small irony that it is being hailed as a great victory in the â€œWar on Terror.â€
The methods that reportedly led to his capture were the antithesis of that doctrine â€“ intelligence was unearthed, old-fashioned police-work developed the lead further and a special forces team executed the operation. Bin Laden was living in the lap of luxury among our allies, not in either of the countries we’ve invaded and occupied since 9/11. Not only was he nowhere near a battlefield, he was in a military cantonment, less than a half-mile away from the Pakistan Military Academy at Kakul.
Joshua Holland | AlterNet
Policies and practices that were perfectly acceptable just after 9/11, or when deployed by the Bush administration, are now decried as dangerous and reckless. The same prominent Republicans who once celebrated open civilian trials for Zacarias Moussaoui and Richard Reid, the so-called “shoe bomber,” now claim that open civilian trials endanger Americans (some Republicans have now even gone so far as to try to defund such trials). Republicans who once supported closing Guantanamo are now fighting to keep it open. And one GOP senator, who like all members of Congress must take an oath to uphold the Constitution, has voiced his concern that the Christmas bomber really needed to be “properly interrogated” instead of being allowed to ask for a lawyer.
In short, what was once tough on terror is now soft on terror. And each time the Republicans move their own crazy-place goal posts, the Obama administration moves right along with them.
It’s hard to explain why this keeps happening. There hasn’t been a successful terror attack on U.S. soil since 9/11. The terrorists who were tried in criminal proceedings since 9/11 are rotting in jail. The Christmas Day terror attack was both amateurish and unsuccessful. The Christmas bomber is evidently cooperating with intelligence officials without the need to resort to thumbscrews. In a rational universe, one might conclude that all this is actually good news. But in the Republican crazy-place, there is no good news.
Dahlia Lithwick | Slate
So that’s where the American consensus now lies. Â The practices used by Britain, Spain, India and Indonesia (and the Reagan administration) of treating Terrorists as criminals and convicting them in normal courts — with due process — is too fringe Leftist for the United States, which has spent decades sermonizing to the rest of the world about the need for due process and the evils of arbitrary detention. Â Instead, our political and media establishment demands that we replicate the policies of Libya and Saudi Arabia: Â simply hold accused Terrorists without trials or, at most, invent special due-process-abridging military tribunals to ensure they are convicted.
George Bush and Dick Cheney ended up as two of the most despised political leaders of the last century, so our establishment had to pretend that they, too, found their policies to be distasteful and extreme. Â But that was clearly a pretense. Â In those very rare instances where Obama and his Attorney General try to deviate, they’re accused (including by leading members of their own party) of accommodating “the Far Left” and being “Soft on Terror.”
The undeniable truth is that our establishment craves Bush/Cheney policies because it is as radical as they are. Â That one is automatically accused of being too Leftist merely by literally reciting Reagan administration policy on Terrorists (in words if not deeds) Â — and that one can be “centrist” only by standing with the due-process-denying practices of Libya and Saudi Arabia — reflects just how far the American spectrum has regressed.
Glenn Greenwald | Salon
As the American economy digs out from the debris of the Great Recession triggered by the collapse of the housing bubble, we should think about what could happen about another bubble that invisibly chugs through the American economy.
I refer to our bloated defense spending.
The United States spends more for its arsenal than any other 10 countries combined. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the U.S. accounts for more than 40 percent of the world’s total military spending. China is in second place, at a relatively puny 5.8 percent.
If the U.S. defense spending bubble were ever to deflate, domestic job losses would be catastrophic, a stunning fact that raises the question of whether we can ever afford peace.
Helen Thomas | CommonDreams
But it’s equally irrational to think that you’re going to spend a full decade bellowing WE ARE AT WAR! to the world, send bombs and troops and all forms of death to multiple Muslim countries (both directly and through Israel), and not have that directed back at us. That’s what happens when a country is “at war” — it doesn’t just get to blow up things and people in other countries, but its own things and people sometimes get blown up as well. That’s how “war” works.
It’s truly astounding to watch us — for a full decade — send fighter jets and drones and bombs and invading forces and teams of torturers and kidnappers to that part of the world, or, as we were doing long before 9/11, to overthrow their governments, prop up their dictators, occupy what they perceive as holy land with our foreign troops, and arm Israel to the teeth, and then act surprised and confused when some of them want to attack us. In general, the U.S. only attacks countries with no capabilities to attack us back in the “homeland” — at least not with conventional forces.
As a result, we have come to believe that any forms of violence we perpetrate on them over there is justifiable and natural, but the Laws of Humanity are instantly breached in the most egregious ways whenever they bring violence back to the U.S., aimed at Americans. It’s just impossible to listen to discussions grounded in this warped mentality without being astounded at how irrational it is. What do Americans think is going to happen if we continue to engage in this conduct, in this always-widening “war”?
Glenn Greenwald | Salon
2010 will be another year of war for the United States and, from assassination campaigns to new fronts in what is no longer called the Global War on Terror but is no less global or based on terror, it could get a lot uglier. The Obama administration may, from time to time, talk withdrawal, but across the Middle East and Central Asia, the Pentagon and its contractors are digging in. In the meantime, more money, not less, is being put into preparations and planning for future wars. As William Hartung points out, â€œif the governmentâ€™s current plans are carried out, there will be yearly increases in military spending for at least another decade.â€
When it comes to war, the only questions are: How wide? How much? Not: How long? Washingtonâ€™s answer to that question has already been given, not in public pronouncements, but in that Pentagon budget and the planning that goes with it: forever and a day.
Of course, only diamonds are forever. Sooner or later, like great imperial powers of the past, we, too, will find that the stress of fighting a continuous string of wars in distant lands in inhospitable climes tells on us. Whether we â€œwinâ€ or not in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and now Yemen, we lose.
Tom Engelhardt and Nick Turse | TomDispatch