Looking Beyond Reelection: Can We Now Stop Bombing Women and Children?

Cross posted in Orange and The Stars Hollows Gazette

Yes, anything can happen, but with the latest open disdain for 47% of the people in this country by Mitt Romney, it's looking like a safe bet that the President will be reelected. There's also more time for Romney to say even more stupid shit. It's almost like he's running against himself, so I'm looking past the President''s very likely reelection onto life or death issues.

In this introspection I sadly conclude that there is just not enough differences in this campaign when to comes to the wars and the national security state; none of them will consider rolling it back even though that is what will ultimately make us safer. Destroying the 4th amendment did not make us safer one bit.

What makes us even less safe is the hate bred through what is called the collateral death of innocent civilians that we in this country and our horse race mindset can't seem to understand. This is not something human beings just get over and why should they? Who are we to tell them to get over it? They literally can't get over it, and this war is spilling blood in our name as jpmassar outlined the other day in his extremely important diary.

I Know You Don't Want to Hear It, But We Have Blood On Our Hands. 8 Women Just Killed in Afghanistan

How many times must the cannonballs fly
Before they are forever banned?

"...precision aerial munitions... as well as precision fire from aircraft..."
At least eight women have died in a Nato air strike in Afghanistan's eastern province of Laghman, local officials say.
Nato has conceded that between five and eight civilians died as it targeted insurgents, and offered condolences.

And I'm tired of the lies. This war is not ending in 2014. The troops will not be gone. There will be troops staying past 2024, while you are asked to share sacrifice with more billionaires for a deficit that will not be a problem as long as people are unemployed. We are told full employment cannot be on the agenda, and that we can't afford Medicare, but there's never that scare with the military which always most grow and grow or "keep strong" as the President says. We are told we're going to tackle climate change while one of the biggest wasters of energy via the Department of Defense grows and will continue to grow no matter what.

Smiley faceSo in that sense all wars are dumb wars, Mr. President. And this is the exact same kind of mindset that got us into the Iraq war. War doesn't make us safe. Our freedoms do. Indefinite detention doesn't make us safe either, and yes the NDAA still allows that; whenever the White House's lawyers can't define what "associated with Al Qaeda means" when it was struck down before being reversed, it's still open for interpretation.

The fact that Democrats defend that which came from the 2001 Afghanistan AUMF but now codified, except Congresswoman Barbara Lee of course who was smart enough to know this way back in 2001, given the damage done to our name every bit as damaging as Abu Ghraib in Bagram Air Base and others, it really makes us look like we don't stand for anything. So the fact that this war is based on the same flawed promises about standing down when the Afghan people stand up like the war it surpassed, Vietnam, is a slap in the face. Most Americans want this war to end, but the war profiteers do not.

From both candidate's speeches we know they don't care what the American people want when it comes to war; they're also both likely to allow Israel to start a war with Iran we will be dragged into. Will you follow because the President won reelection as he most likely will while telling you you need to share sacrifice with war profiteers because of a fake deficit crisis and magical right wing bond vigilantes and confidence fairies?

Hell no we won't go for that! I hope not, because otherwise these disasters will extend past the President's second term while domestic cuts are made using the deficits as an excuse because Washington is stuck on stupid; they don't understand national accounting, the federal budget they write, or that the biggest cost of war is the waste of human potential globally to do better things for humanity.

Obama's 'Midnight' Deal Will Stretch Afghan War to 2024
One thing crystal clear in secretive US-Afghan 'strategic partnership agreement': War not even close to ending

The agreement, broadly understood, codifies the ongoing conditions under which the US government agrees to operate in Afghanistan and will guide policies on the management of military bases, authority over detainees, the execution of night raids and other security operations, and will set conditions for troop levels and residual US forces that will remain in Afghanistan even after a 'withdrawal' commences in 2014. The agreement also deals with ongoing financial support for the Afghan government and military into the future.

[..........]

"Interestingly," writes Jason Ditz at Anti-war.com, "with the ink now drying on the document and the US officially committed to the occupation of Afghanistan for another decade, officials are continuing to tout 2014 as the “end” of the war. This speaks to how the 2024 date, though openly discussed by the Karzai government in Afghanistan and privately acknowledged as part of the secret pact, has not been publicly presented to the American public. When they will officially spring it on us remains unclear."

[.........]

"Does anyone think our staying until 2024 is going to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan?" ask Kevin Martin and Michael Eisenscher in an op-ed today on Common Dreams. "We’ve already been there for eleven years – the longest war in our country’s history. What do we really have to show for it? We’ve spent almost $523 billion. Almost 2000 Americans have been killed and another 15,300 wounded. 1000 NATO troops have lost their lives." Eisenscher is National Coordinator of U.S. Labor Against the War and Martin is the executive director of Peace Action.

Kevin Gosztola is all over the never ending war on terror and how it terrorizes civilians globally.

More Killing in Obama’s ‘War on Terror’ Than Bush’s ‘War’

Heading into November, President Barack Obama has America on a path to further entrenching the perpetual war on “terrorism.” No longer packaged and pushed as the “war on terror,” he has cosmetically retooled how some of the worst Bush administration policies are presented to the public. In many cases, these policies are not publicly described to US citizens at all.

It has special operations forces in at least 75 countries and at least six countries—Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, The Philippines, Somalia, and Yemen—have seen the US launch covert drone strikes within their borders.

Though a violation of sovereignty, John Kerry and other Democrats have bragged and boasted about being willing to carry out operations in Pakistan. They have no problem with the fact that 344 US strikes, 292 of them launched under Obama, have killed 2,500-3,300 people including 400 to 800 civilians. They express no concerns over the reality that over 1200 have been injured by the strikes and that Pakistan greatly opposes US drone strikes.

The neoconservative war doctrine has been modernized and fine-tuned. Unilateral preemptive war is no longer conducted with a large number of forces. Instead, the government under Obama covertly launches operations with forces spread out around the globe. At any time, a small operations squad can be sent in to target and kill or a drone can be launched to extrajudicially assassinate a person.

What happened? Why has the president adopted this same mindset?

When Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama met in California for the Jan. 31 debate, their back-and-forth resembled their many previous encounters, with the Democratic presidential hopefuls scrambling for the small policy yardage between them. And then Obama said something about the Iraq War that wasn't incremental at all. "I don't want to just end the war," he said, "but I want to end the mind-set that got us into war in the first place."

I also think Nobel Peace Prize winners shouldn't have a kill list. And seeing the human impact of these drone strikes makes my stomach curl knowing this is done for war contractors who won't even make sure all of Afghanistan have electricity or trash removal; they only care about the no bid contract given to them by the Pentagon while too many Democrats make believe there is any point besides the theft of their natural resources and death for profit.

The Pashtuns dead from drone strikes now have no voice at all. I am appalled so using whatever talents I have, I let it show so more people will know why.

The MIC will take everything and with that everything dies. They took the identity you all displayed in 2004. Did you really mean it when you wanted to end the Bush wars and national security state? I did, and I was only 24. So did a lot of other Democrats appalled by the Bush years and its abuses, but where are they now? Their voices have been drowned out and shouted down.

What we have found from the bluster we hear from DC about this war keeping us safe while taking away our civil liberties for a fake sense of security(Oh and you loyal partisans are lapping it up) is truly a bipartisan nightmare we are all living through. So why do we continue to spend more than all countries combined to destroy lives and life? What are we fighting for? Really? What?

But it's OK if one is a Democrat? As I explored in my last diary, we have let our party forget its inner Eugene McCarthy in 1968. That is when we stopped being the war party, for a good while, anyway. That should be remembered and embraced and the Bush years and their destruction can't be swept under the rug so we can look forward.

So codifying those abuses, continuing a never ending global war on terror, and a national security state despite the grim fate of so many, is unacceptable. To accept it, you have to be honest, and say that it's because Democrats are conducting it. However, that would be called inconsistency and dishonesty. Human life depends on the kind of consistency which opposes Bush style wars regardless of what you think of me.

Right now we're not even looking into the present, and we need a wake up call. So that's why I illustrated this visually. This represents the cold sad truth; a truth not really up for discussion in this campaign all but almost over like the lives of too many beautiful souls.

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"Death to America"

geomoo's picture

The people from the small village carried the bodies of the 8 dead women and 2 children to the regional capital. The dead had been out collecting firewood before dawn when an infinitely more wealthy and powerful country rained down indiscriminate destruction. The simple, poor farmers were shouting "Death to America". Were they shouting this because they are fanatical Islamists who follow a violent religion? Were they shouting it because they are terrorists who hate us for our freedoms? It is only through an extraordinary act of hypnosis that these are the only reasons discussed in national forums for the uprisings in the middle east. Why were they shouting "Death to America"? Because women and children, friends and family, had been killed by a wanton and illegal act, an act that is a war crime. They were shouting from their immediate grief and rage, not from any belief system.

Can this plain fact even be included in the self-centered discussions among America's specialists? Apparently not. The very day this occurred, I heard no mention from America's power elite, journalists, or pundits of drone attacks as a possible cause of anger in the middle east. It is an incredible, on-going act of hypnosis. Thanks, priceman, for doing what you can to break the spell.

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Thank you, geomoo

priceman's picture

it is amazing that aspect is never part of the discussion. There's a genuine lack of empathy. IT's soul destroying and most of us lose a part of ourselves in those circumstances and act out. It has nothing to do with Islam in that case or any religion, just a chemical reaction in the brain to such events.

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But, but, but "Obama" left a wedding gift and a card

Glinda's picture

in an Iowa hotel. Wedding took place, Obama had campaign event, parking blah, blah, wedding went off okay and on time, "Obama" left gift.

I put "Obama's" name in quotes because you KNOW a staffer or member of the campaign thought of the idea and handed Barack a card to fill out. (Funny how they travel with those White House trinkets.)

I do know that if I were part of the couple getting married and Bush did that, it would disgust me if he left me a gift and a card.

In fact, when Bush was president, I attended a family member's funeral, he was a veteran and there was a flag presented along with the statement: "On behalf of the United States and President George W. Bush..." That really made me ill.

Sorry for the diversion.

http://www.woi-tv.com/story/19568618/obama-gives-wedding-gift-to

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The Apollo XI plaque that sits on the moon

Shahryar's picture

that will be rediscovered a thousand years from now:

"HERE MEN FROM THE PLANET EARTH FIRST SET FOOT UPON THE MOON JULY 1969, A.D. WE CAME IN PEACE FOR ALL MANKIND"

and it's signed Neil A. Armstrong, Michael Collins, Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr. and Richard Nixon

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It goes beyond apparently not ...

BruceMcF's picture

Can this plain fact even be included in the self-centered discussions among America's specialists? Apparently not.

... to certainly not. If you have an empire, and power in the empire is decided by the designated citizens voting with insider gets to run thing, that implies that you must not let the electorate suspect the truth.

Its not even a conspiracy, except in the "conspiracy of silence" sense. Its the way that societies maintain themselves. Those in power tend to have benefited from the current system, and so they defend the current system. Those seeking more power in the current system must learn how to deceive the electorate to do so. That's called "campaigning" ~ whether campaigning for office or "issues campaigning".

"Clean Coal". "They hate us for our Freedoms". "We must cut the deficit". "Social Security is in trouble". Lies all, but "they poll well", so campaign managers tell candidates for office to not tackle any of them. Stick to the lies that people have been trained to believe, over the evident truths that can be uncovered by the minority willing to have a look.

They cannot say the evident truth that the majority of people yelling "Death to America" are yelling against an America that has dealt death to their loved ones. You don't win elections by telling people uncomfortable truths, you win elections by being better than the other guy at telling people comforting lies.

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Yes, and highly intelligent people play the game

geomoo's picture

People with apparent integrity, good hearts, well-informed, mature and intelligent--I hear them talking on television. They will spend fifteen minutes talking about Romney's leaked words as though they mean something about Romney. They mean exactly what you and I and most intelligent people know they mean--that this is how Romney is attempting to sweet-talk this particular slice of the electorate. They necessarily then mean nothing more. They tell us nothing about the man, the words themselves. The fact of them being spoken, that's a different question.

I find it stunning to watch this, day after day.

Incidentally, this contains an aspect of postemotion. Here's a quote from Mestrovic:

Part of the problem is that in other-directed societies it is nearly impossible to tell truth from falsehood because, in Riesman’s words, the individual “is judged for his attitude toward the audience, an attitude which is either sincere or insincere, rather than by his relation to his craft, that is, his honesty and skill.” But, “just because such a premium is put on sincerity, a premium is put on faking it.” Postemotional society has reached a phase in its development in which it values insincere sincerity, synthetic candor, feigned frankness, and affected openness…. So long as one is “nice” in one’s presentation, one can get away with just about any truth-claim.

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Romney or Obama

geomoo's picture

Some of us agree that neither candidate will change America's policy of empire, so we consider other possible effects of the election of one or the other candidate. Some have argued that at least if Romney is elected, Democrats will once again unite in outrage over the brutal death-dealing of their government, will once again denounce war crimes. That made sense to me for a while, but now I have the opposite view. We have seen that the vociferous denouncements of atrocious policies under Bush were not principled; we have seen that they were contingent politics of the moment. Thus, if Romney is elected and continues with drone attacks, once again the illusion of principled opposition will thrive. Otoh, if Obama is elected and continues these strikes, it will be clear that those who want to work for a solution to these war crimes are wasting their time on two-party politics. Although more painful and frustrating, this seems to me to be a healthier state of affairs, as it allows the problem to be defined more plainly: the foreign policy of the USG does not change with a change of party in either the executive or the legislative branch.

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Good points though I'm still with Glen Ford...

priceman's picture

on the more effective evil argument, not because i think Democratic partisan group think is that candid, though the support they give to politicians doing the right thing does help, I'm more concerned with how Congress acts and they will let Obama cut our safety net and have the direct power to do so in his second term so Obama is still the more effective evil IMO.

You do provide me with something to think about though, as always, geomoo, so I thank you.

This is definitely a second candid way to look at this.

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I think it's too late for Dems to be "principled"

Shahryar's picture

should Romney win (he won't) and continue the Obama policies, only in a Republican-ized version, it'll be our responsibility to make sure that the 2016 Democratic candidate is firmly anti-war. None of this "well, there are two sides and I like Reagan" BS.

Of course I don't know if I'll ever again trust anything a politician says.

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Nothing is written stone

priceman's picture

There's just a better chance if there is a Republican as president, theoretically looking back at 2005 when SS privatization was defeated. It won't happen and the pressure needs to be louder in 2016. Like really loud. Like we won't accept any BS candidate for who we think is electable louder. And the party may destroy itself too. You never know.

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It might be one thing if an Obama defeat could be ...

BruceMcF's picture

... in any sense painted as a defeat of his imperial policies.

But if Obama loses, it will be because of the economy. It will be due to the combination of inability or unwillingness to get a substantial green jobs program passed in 2009 and Republican obstructionism over the past two years, but the Villagers will paint it as due to not following the neoliberal austerity agenda.

However, the very policies that have had such a brutal impact are a big part of what has led to him owning the perceived advantage on the foreign policy front.

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Depressing analysis

geomoo's picture

Especially that last sentence:

However, the very policies that have had such a brutal impact are a big part of what has led to him owning the perceived advantage on the foreign policy front.

To generalize even further into depression land, this seems a typical example of perverse incentives. It seems to be that today, our body politic is riddled with perverse incentives which virtually ensure terrible decision-making.

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Further, its no accident.

BruceMcF's picture

The Military Industrial complex invests in maintaining a civil society that is inclined to cheer on the terms that the drone strike is described, and to not ask whether some high tech assassinations of some declared enemy of the US is worth the deaths of hundreds of children over the course of a year.

It takes a movement to invest in pushing civil society in the opposite direction.

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Principles cannot depend on who is in office

sartoris's picture

Excellent essay, Priceman. Look at what is happening throughout the Muslim world right now. They don't hate us because of our freedoms. That premise is so stupid I cannot even dignify it with a response. They hate us because we occupy their lands, support their tyrants, and kill their mothers, daughters, fathers, and sons. We are creating a problem by our 'solution'. As long as we are at war with them, they will be at war with us.

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Exactly right, Sartoris, or they don't exist

priceman's picture

And they don't really have an army when ti comes to what's called the Global War on Terror(even though we terrorize them every day). I always ask what the Al Qaida uniforms look like to those that make excuses for this war under a Democratic administration and they can't tell me. They can't because they would have to admit we are not killing a foreign force, we are killing them; civilians.

Thank you! So glad you are back!

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Mudda Freaker

LaEscapee's picture

Yeah a rif on a fake Cajun on teevee.

Your comment was the hammer hitting the head.

They hate us because we occupy their lands, support their tyrants, and kill their mothers, daughters, fathers, and sons. We are creating a problem by our 'solution'. As long as we are at war with them, they will be at war with us.

Succinct and true. Pay attention mister secret agent man you might learn something.

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