ARNOLD OLIVER – There are no more important decisions that republics can make than whether to go to war. In such times of crisis, citizens are obliged to inform themselves on the facts and issues as best they can, and to speak out clearly and forcefully. But it is difficult to see how this is possible if any questioning of a rigid orthodoxy leads to immediate attacks on one’s character; or worse, if the major media outlets are in lockstep on the march to war, and deny the public access to dissenting views. All of this happened in 2003, and it is again happening now.
BOAVENTURA DE SOUSA SANTOS – When armed conflicts take place in Africa or in the Middle East, Europe’s leaders are the first to call for a cessation of hostilities and to declare the urgent need for peace negotiations. Why is it then that when a war occurs in Europe, the drums of war beat incessantly, and not a single leader calls for them to be silenced and for the voice of peace to be heard?
CHRIS DE PLOEG – International aggression has major consequences and can lead to massive loss of human life: 2.4 million dead in Iraq, 1.2 million dead in Afghanistan and Pakistan in the U.S. war against the Taliban. Senior American defense officials claim that Russia is still holding back and that its bombers are primarily focused on military targets. These same officials also warn that civilian casualties could massively spike if Russia does decide to enact an Iraq- or Chechnya-style bombing campaign. Can that kind of fate still be prevented in Ukraine? That is the primary question that should concern all commentators. That and the prevention of further escalation, nuclear war. Where do we go from here?
NOLAN HIGDON – The context and details of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, as well as its historic roots, are being pushed aside in favor of a kind of binary knee-jerk activism that is far too common in American political culture.
FRIDA BERRIGAN – If anything good can come out of the horrific war in Ukraine, it might be a renewed movement to abolish nuclear weapons once and for all.
MARC PILISUK – For years, military preparedness and war itself have been granted extensive support in the United States.Â At the current moment, public opinion is questioning whether this support has added to Americansâ€™ security or placed it in greater danger. Indeed, the termination of a failed war in Afghanistan has brought into question, whether that war was wrong from the start.
NETA C. CRAWFORD – The war in Afghanistan, like many other wars before it, began with optimistic assessments of a quick victory and the promise to rebuild at warâ€™s end. Despite Bushâ€™s warning of a lengthy campaign, few thought then that would mean decades. But 20 years later, the U.S is still counting the costs.
LIAM MCCOLLUM – The Montana state legislature overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan and unprecedented resolution Tuesday calling on the federal government to end endless wars. The resolution passed 95-3 in the House and 47-2 in the Senate. The resolution specifically urges President Joe Biden and the United States Congress to â€œend the endless war in Afghanistan,â€ repeal the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, resist sending U.S. troops into combat without a declaration of war from Congress or specific authorization to do so, and to â€œexecute a prudent foreign policy.â€
DAVID BROMWICH – Regardless of which party is in power, US foreign policy since 9/11 has meant a unified government under the masters of war.
ANDREW BACEVICH – As Americans learned in Vietnam, the only way to end a war gone wrong is to leave the field of battle. If that describes Trumpâ€™s intentions in Afghanistan, then we may finally have some reason to be grateful for his service to our nation. With time, Joe Biden and Mitch McConnell might even come to see the wisdom of doing so.
ANDREW BACEVICH – Deferred for far too long, Judgment Day may at long last have arrived for the national security state.
ROBERT C. KOEHLER – Veterans For Peace, an organization that speaks truth to war like nobody else, is attempting to reclaim Armistice Day, the Nov. 11 holiday that was flipped on its head 65 years ago when it was renamed Veterans Day â€” and became a celebration not of the end of war but of its perpetuity.
MEL GURTOV – Donald Trump and his minions are the chief threats to Americaâ€™sâ€”and for that matter, the worldâ€™sâ€”real security.
WORLD BEYOND WAR ISIS STATEMENT – The following is an assessment of the current ISIS crisis. The statement examines: (1) the social context of the destructive violence in Syria and Iraq — where we are; (2) viable nonviolent alternatives — what should be done; and (3) opportunities for civil society to advocate and push for those alternatives — how we can make it happen. The alternatives and pathways toward achieving those are not only preferable from a perspective of humanity, but proven to be more effective.
STEPHEN KINZER – Todayâ€™s conflicts illustrate the declining value of conventional military power. For many decades, the United States dominated the world mainly because we had the most potent military. We still do â€” but that no longer brings the dominance it once assured. For much of history, power has been won on the battlefield. Victory depended on your army. If it was bigger, stronger, and better led than the enemy, you would probably win. That charmingly simple equation is now evaporating
MEL GURTOV – In an interview with Thomas Friedman of the New York Times on August 8, President Obama stressed that the US was only fighting the Islamic State (IS, or ISIS) in Iraq as a partner, not as Iraqâ€™s or the Kurdsâ€™ air force. Obama claims his officials are reminding everyone, â€œWe will be your partners, but we are not going to do it for you. Weâ€™re not sending a bunch of US troops back on the ground to keep a lid on things.â€ Now, less than three weeks later, the strategic picture has changed, and emphases on â€œpartnershipsâ€ have faded while the US military complex advances largely on its own.
BECKY BOND – These days, the House almost never passes good legislation. But thanks to the leadership of two unwavering progressive champions in Congress, Reps. Barbara Lee and Jim McGovern, the House got it right yesterday â€“ and got it right in a big way.
PHYLLIS BENNIS and DAVID WILDMAN – The threat of a reckless, dangerous, and illegal US or US-led assault on Syria is looking closer than ever. . . . The US government has been divided over the Syria crisis since it began. . . . But the situation is changing rapidly, and the Obama administration appears to be moving closer to direct military intervention. That would make the dire situation in Syria inestimably worse.
LISA SULLIVAN – My inbox began to fill up with similar inquiries, many from people who I had met when leading delegations here to Venezuela, my home of 27 years. They were confused, wondering why Chavez was going to lose, die, or steal the elections, or all of the above. Those were, after all, the only stories to be found, countered by that of the great white hope in the form of a young, skinny opponent (the adjectives repeated ad nausea by the media describe opposition candidate Capriles).
LAWRENCE S. WITTNER – In the midst of a nationwide election campaign in which many politicians trumpet their support for the buildup and employment of U.S. military power around the world, the American publicâ€™s disagreement with such measures is quite remarkable. Indeed, many signs point to the fact that most Americans want to avoid new wars, reduce military spending, and support international cooperation.
DAVID SWANSON – Three years later a Soviet Lieutenant Colonel acted out the same scene, with the computer glitch on his side this time. Then in 1984 another U.S. computer glitch led to the quick decision to park an armored car on top of a missile silo to prevent the start of the apocalypse. And again in 1995, the Soviet Union almost responded to a U.S. nuclear attack that proved to be a real missile, but one with a weather satellite rather than a nuke. One Pentagon report documents 563 nuclear mistakes, malfunctions, and false alarms over the years â€” so far.
LAWRENCE WITTNER – The Republican Party has stood up with remarkable consistency for the post-9/11 U.S. government policies of widespread surveillance, indefinite detention without trial, torture, and extraordinary rendition. It has also supported government subsidies for religious institutions, government restrictions on immigration and free passage across international boundaries, government denial of collective bargaining rights for public sector workers, government attacks on public use of public space (for example, the violent police assaults on the Occupy movement), and government interference with womenâ€™s right to abortion and doctorsâ€™ right to perform it.
DAVID SWANSON – A magazine asked me this morning for my thoughts on Iraq and the peace movement. What did this war produce?
EDITOR’S NOTE – This article adds to the peace movementâ€™s usual analysis, which views control of oil supplies as the driving force behind U.S. policy toward Iran, the notion that nuclear nonproliferation might actually be the prime objective. Whether or not you believe that nonproliferation is the most important aspect, it is reasonable to believe that it does play an important role, as author Jonathan Schell maintains.
REBECCA GRIFFIN – Tell your representative and senators to oppose bills that bring us closer to war with Iran, and to support diplomacy.
JOSH LEVS – The U.S. Defense Department cannot account for about $2 billion it was given to cover Iraq-related expenses and is not providing Iraq with a complete list of U.S.-funded reconstruction projects, according to two new government audits.
REP. KURT SCHRADER – Rep. Kurt Schrader joined 94 other members of the House in sending the following letter to President Barack Obama urging him to remove all U.S. troops by this yearâ€™s end. â€“ Ed.
TIM MAK – The final bill for U.S. military involvement in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan could be as high as $4.4 trillion, according to a comprehensive new report.
LAWRENCE J. KORB – Like jilted lovers, the U.S. military and many of those who got U.S. into the senseless invasion of Iraq have been pressing the Iraqi government to change its mind about removing all U.S. troops by the December 2011 deadline.
DAN HANDELMAN – We were very troubled by your announcement Sunday night about the death of Osama Bin Laden. You described his assassination at the hands of a secret U.S. operation as “justice,” an “achievement” that “should be welcomed by all people who believe in peace and humanity.”
BETTY A. REARDON AND TONY JENKINS – The New York Times recently featured significant articles highlighting the important role of non-formal civilian education and training contributing to the nonviolent toppling of dictatorships in Tunisia and Egypt (Feb 13: A Tunisian-Egyptian Link That Shook Arab History; Feb 16: Shy U.S. Intellectual Created Playbook Used in a Revolution). In our peacebuilding work, we have found that such significant nonviolent political transformations are not likely to occur without the essential education and training of everyday citizens in the knowledge and skills of peacemaking, mediation and negotiation, conflict transformation, and nonviolent resistance. This is why we believe the February 18 vote in the U.S. House of Representatives in favor of amendment 100 to HR 1 (246 to 182 â€“ largely along partisan lines) that will eliminate all federal funding for the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) is a tremendous mistake.
MICHAEL TRUE – â€œThe same war continues,â€ Denise Levertov wrote, in â€œLife at War.â€ Her lament is even more appropriate for 2011 than as it was when she wrote the poem forty-five years ago. Columnists and academics, including International Relations professor Andrew Bacevich, Boston University, are finally acknowledging facts familiar to anyone â€œawakeâ€ regarding failed U.S. policies, wasted lives and resources during this period, Willfully ignoring such facts, as Professor Bacevich wrote, â€œis to become complicit in the destruction of what most Americans profess to hold dear.â€
JOHN LAFORGE — The press made a big deal of it. The president even starred in an Oval Office TV show about the â€œend to U.S. combatâ€ in Iraq, which was announced on August 31. Mr. Obama said heâ€™d fulfilled a promise to end the war. Obamaâ€™s bit of theater cost less than George Bushâ€™s May 1, 2003 shameless declaration of â€œmission accomplished,â€ his circus-act-in-military-flight-suit-to-the-flight-deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln. Yet the presidentâ€™s speech was just as dishonest.
JOE WALSH —
The vote was not even close and especially when you know that it took a 2/3 vote. The reason for the 2/3 vote to pass, was it was a rule change. We have been informed that all our delegation except that one republican voted against war funding, I want to jump for joy, but canâ€™t — sorry.
WES BENEDICT — The long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been back in the news recently, and we just had the bizarre spectacle of the Republican National Committee Chairman saying he didn’t like Obama’s war in Afghanistan, while the DNC chastised him for failing to support the troops.
LAWRENCE WITTNER — The offshore oil drilling catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico brought to us by BP has overshadowed its central role over the past century in fostering some other disastrous events.
NATIONAL PRIORITIES PROJECT — National Priorities Project’s Cost of War counter http://www.costofwar.com/, designed to count the total money appropriated for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, will reach the $1 trillion mark on May 30 at approximately 10:06 a.m. (regardless of time zone).
NORMAN SOLOMON — Official Washington may be good at spinning rhetoric in murky fog, but thereâ€™s no way around this fact: war can only continue if Congress votes to pay for it.
Matt Ryan, the mayor of Binghamton, New York, is sick and tired of watching people in local communities “squabble over crumbs,” as he puts it, while so much local money pours into the Pentagon’s coffers and into America’s wars. He’s so sick and tired of it, in fact, that, urged on by local residents, he’s decided to do something about it.
DEMOCRACY NOW: Amy Goodman: Final question, the antiwar movement â€” what do you think â€” and you end your primer, Ending the U.S. War in Afghanistan, with this â€” what do you think the antiwar movement needs to do?
COURAGE TO RESIST: Fort Stewart, Georgia officials confirmed in early February that the Army will attempt to separate Spc. Marc A. Hall from both his civilian legal team and his established military defender, Capt. Anthony Schiavetti, by immediately sending him to Iraq to face court martial.
CLIMATE CHANGE: The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will more than wipe out any reduction in carbon from the government’s proposed climate measures …
CYNTHIA McKINNEY: On July 28, 2005, in a small nondescript courtroom at Ft. Stewart in Georgia, Sgt. Kevin Benderman was sentenced to 15 months for his refusal to deploy to Iraq. Benderman is just one of thousands of modern heroes who have followed their conscience and taken the difficult stand of resistance within the armed forces.
Congress has appropriated another $84.8 billion for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for the remainder of the 2009 fiscal year ending September 30, 2009. The Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2009, signed into law by President Obama on June 24, 2009, allocates $45.5 billion for war-related actions in Iraq and $39.4 billion to Afghanistan .
REBECCA GRIFFIN: Here in Oregon, it’s instructive to look at Rep. Peter DeFazio’s letter to his constituents explaining his decision to vote in favor of more than $90 billion to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. DeFazio is reliably progressive on foreign policy, and is likely to be an ally if we can address the concerns he and other members of Congress have about Afghanistan policy.
PETER BERGEL: I am deeply distressed to see no mention at all of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, nor any explanation as to why you supported the supplemental request for still more war funding.