KYLE ANZALONE and WILL PORTER – Russia has offered to relax its blockade of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, but only in exchange for sanctions relief from the West, amid fears that the war raging in Eastern Europe is driving a major international food crisis.
WIM LAVEN – Now, more than ever, it is necessary for the U.S. to be smart about our narrative and the appraisal of our role in the world.Â
BRIAN TERRELL – It is refreshing to hear a U.S. president at least recognize that the Yemeni people are suffering an â€œunendurable devastationâ€ and this is due to the hard work of grassroots peace activists around the world. Whether President Bidenâ€™s proclamation will mean much in the real world beyond a temporary hold on the weapons deals Trump made just before leaving office is yet to be seen.
BISHOP THOMAS GUMBLETON – All Catholics should refuse to kill and should refuse cooperation with United States wars.
SAM HUSSEINI – A new film depicting the whistleblower Katherine Gun, who tried to stop the Iraq invasion, is largely accurate, but the story is not over, says Sam Husseini.
NORMAN SOLOMON – As candidates and in office, the last two Democratic presidents have been young, dynamic and often progressive-sounding, while largely serving the interests of Wall Street, big banks, military contractors and the like. Do we need to make it three in a row?
LOLITA C. BALDOR and MATTHEW LEE – The United States will stop refueling Saudi Arabian aircraft fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen, the Pentagon and the Saudi kingdom said late Friday.
KATHY KELLY – U.S. foreign policy is foolishly reduced to the good guys,â€ the U.S. and its allies, versus â€œthe bad guy,â€ â€“ Iran. The â€œgood guysâ€ shaping and selling U.S. foreign policy and weapon sales exemplify the heartless indifference of the smugglers who gamble human life in exceedingly dangerous crossings. The nefarious actions of the US-supported Saudi military in the Middle East must arouse citizen opposition in the one country where democracy is still strong enough to make a difference, the US.
MEDEA BENJAMIN – When I recently asked a prominent activist how she was doing, she took my hands, looked me in the eyes and said, â€œEverything Iâ€™ve been working on for 50 years has gone down the toilet.â€ With so many good people feeling depressed, letâ€™s point to the positive things that happened, even in this really, really bad year.
KAZU HAGA – Nazism and white supremacy are forms of violence. Letâ€™s start there. The constitution does not protect violence, and Iâ€™m happy to see that the California chapter of the ACLU has taken a stand against protecting the â€œfree speechâ€ of hate groups. But with or without marching permits, it is clear that public displays of hatred are a growing trend in the United States. And as much as I donâ€™t want to give these groups more attention, it is also clear that simply ignoring them is not going to make them go away. So what do we do?
DAVID SWANSON – If war were moral, legal, defensive, beneficial to the spread of freedom, and inexpensive, we would be obliged to make abolishing it our top priority solely because of the destruction that war and preparations for war do as the leading polluters of our natural environment.
DAVID SWANSON – My biggest concern is not the embarrassment of a U.S. public afraid of the tiny impoverished nation of North Korea. If that embarrassed me, how would I survive what U.S. culture makes of ISIS, or — for that matter — the election of Donald Trump? My biggest concern is that U.S. war profiteers may end up using Korea to get us all killed.
TULSI GABBARD – â€œThose who have seen and experienced war firsthand share a unique appreciation for the need for peace. From Iraq to Libya and now in Syria, the U.S. has and continues to wage wars of regime change, each resulting in unimaginable suffering, devastating loss of life, and the strengthening of terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS. I am grateful to have the support of Veterans for Peace for the Stop Arming Terrorists Act, and for their work to prevent the United States from continuing to pursue counterproductive, interventionist wars,â€ said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.
ROBERT PARRY – By inviting in Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a Democrat hostile to â€œregime changeâ€ wars, President-elect Trump may be signaling a major break with Republican neocon orthodoxy and a big shake-up of the U.S. foreign policy establishment.
SAADIA AHMAD – I am a Muslim-American and a peacebuilder. In the aftermath of a polarizing election season, the victory of President-elect Donald Trump, and an onslaught of violent hate crimes and proposed policies threatening human rights, I am struggling to simultaneously maintain my commitment to both roles and identities.
JAVIER M. PIEDRA – The Euro-Atlantic world needs to see the strategic potential in working with Russia (as opposed to seeking her strategic encirclement), and must recognize that radical militant Islam is a much greater threat to our way of life than Putinâ€™s Russia.
PAUL K. CHAPPELL – Today most peopleâ€™s understanding of violence is naive, because they do not realize how much the Internet and social media, the newest incarnations of mass media, have changed warfare. The most powerful weapon that ISIS has is the Internet with social media, which has allowed ISIS to recruit people from all over the world.
NORMAN SOLOMON – Here is a condensed version of President Obama’s speech from the Oval Office on Sunday night, unofficially translated into plain English.
MURTAZA HUSSAIN – U.S. DRONE OPERATORS are inflicting heavy civilian casualties and have developed an institutional culture callous to the death of children and other innocents, four former operators said at a press briefing in New York.
MAJD ISREB, M.D. – Syrian people have suffered enough for almost five years in the worst humanitarian disaster since WWII. American people who were generous enough to accept about 760,000 Vietnamese refugees, and many Bosnian refugees are surely able to extend a welcoming hand to less than 0.01 percent of the displaced Syrians.
TOM H. HASTINGS – Even some of my favorite doves are advocating a mixed military response to ISIS. I canâ€™t agree. The history of our violent response to terrorism began as a trickle, then a stream, then a torrent into Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan, and Syria. Each and every time we â€œwonâ€ (deposed the Taliban in Afghanistan, â€œMission Accomplishedâ€ by knocking over Saddam, the surge), the response from the terror side has gotten worse. Now, for pityâ€™s sake, we see a genocidal terror caliphate. Our game of violence is a loser.
HARVEY WASSERMAN – As you read this, a terror attack has put atomic reactors in Ukraine at the brink of another Chernobyl-scale apocalypse. Transmission lines have been blown up. Power to at least two major nuclear power stations has been â€œdangerouslyâ€ cut. Without emergency backup, those nukes could lose coolant to their radioactive cores and spent fuel pools. They could then melt or explode, as at Fukushima. Yet amidst endless â€œall-fear-all-the-timeâ€ reporting on ISIS, the corporate media has remained shockingly silent on this potential catastrophe.
FODAY JUSTICE DARBOE – In the wake of the coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris and the double suicide bombing in Beirut on November 12th, many Muslims took to Twitter to loudly and unequivocally condemn the terrorists attacks with the hashtagsâ€” #NotInMyName, #MuslimsAreNotTerrorist, but is this enough to counter Islamic extremism? When will â€œmoderate Muslimsâ€ stand up and speak against the terror and mayhem committed in the name of Islam?
PETER BERGEL – Thanks to Foday Darboe for setting an example to those he calls â€œmoderate Muslims.â€ I will follow his lead to set an example for â€œpatriotic Americans.â€
PHYLLIS BENNIS – France is in mourning and in shock. We still donâ€™t know how many people were killed and injured. In fact, thereâ€™s a lot we still donâ€™t knowâ€”including who was responsible. The ISIS claim of responsibility tells us virtually nothing about who really planned or carried out the attacks; opportunist claims are an old story. But the lack of information hasnâ€™t prevented lots of assumptions about who is â€œobviouslyâ€ responsible and what should be done to them. Already the call is rising across Franceâ€”â€œthis time itâ€™s all-out war. But we do know what happens when cries of war and vengeance drown out all other voices; weâ€™ve heard them before.
DAVID SWANSON – The accepted story in the United States of what’s happened in Syria is just that, a story told to make narrative sense of something completely un-understood.
DAVID SWANSON – I wonder if people in the United States understand what it means that the Labour Party in London now has a peace activist in charge of it. Jeremy Corbyn does not resemble any U.S. politicians. He doesn’t favor “only the smart wars” or prefer drone murders to massive invasions. Corbyn opposes wars, and he works to end militarism.
IBRAHIM S. BAHATI – Since Osama bin Ladenâ€™s death 2 May 2011, the official account of the Navy Sealsâ€™ raid has been challenged, most recently and cogently by journalist Seymour Hersh, alleging that â€œWashington’s official account of the hunt for Bin Laden and the raid that led to his death was a lie.â€ In fact, there have been more â€œconspiracy-factual theoriesâ€ about this event than there are on Illuminati. Was OBL there? Was he even alive then? Is he still?
DAVID SOLEIL – As thoughtful, caring parents, we would never want to teach our kids that violence is the answer to any or every problem. We want our children to learn to get along with others, share, be kind, say “excuse me,” and try their best at an empathetic, “I’m sorry.” I thought I was attuned to the violence that surrounds us in American culture. However, a trip to our local department store with my kids yesterday was shocking. We stepped into the toy aisles. Here is a quick rundown of the toys and action figures, in order…
TOM H. HASTINGS – The US has delivered the first batch of F16 fighter jets to Iraq. How long until ISIS grabs them? How long before Iraqâ€™s BFF Iran reverse engineers them from nose to tail? How exactly is this even remotely in the interest of the security of the US citizens whose government approved this deal?
SENATOR RAND PAUL – The president is subverting the Constitutionâ€”and Americaâ€™s latest undeclared war in the Middle East is just the latest example.
DAVID VINE – With the launch of a new U.S.-led war in Iraq and Syria against the Islamic State (IS), the United States has engaged in aggressive military action in at least 13 countries in the Greater Middle East since 1980. In that time, every American president has invaded, occupied, bombed, or gone to war in at least one country in the region. The total number of invasions, occupations, bombing operations, drone assassination campaigns, and cruise missile attacks easily runs into the dozens. As in prior military operations in the Greater Middle East, U.S. forces fighting IS have been aided by access to and the use of an unprecedented collection of military bases
DANNY KATCH – The reactionaries of ISIS are being depicted as uniquely violent and barbaric–but as Danny Katch argues, the most violent force in the Middle East is U.S. imperialism.
AJAMU BARAKA – The U.S. is conducting a curious humanitarian war against ISIS in Syria. While Kobani, the largely Kurdish district that straddles the border with Turkey is being attacked by ISIS forces and facing the very real possibility of mass civilian killings if it falls, U.S. military spokespersons claimed that they are watching the situation in Kobani and have conducted occasional bombing missions but that they are concentrating their anti-ISIS efforts in other parts of Syria. Those other efforts appear to consist of bombing empty buildings, schools, small oil pumping facilities, an occasional vehicle and grain silos where food is stored to feed the Syrian people. Turkey also seems to be watching as the Kurds of Kobani fight to the death against ISIS.
JIM LAFFERTY – If the U.S. public gained a fuller and more honest understanding of what U.S. and U.S. backed Arab states have done that has led to the creation of ISIS, what the true nature of the threat is from ISIS, and the futility and negative blow-back from waging such a war, antiwar sentiment would develop much more quickly and deeply than otherwise. And those who already oppose this new war would be more articulate opponents of it if they, too, had a better understanding of the root problem, its origins, why the U.S. has entered the fray, and why this war is not in the best interests of the people of this nation.
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.
LAWRENCE WITTNER – Sometimes, amid the heated political debate about what should done by the U.S. government in world affairs, a proposal cuts through the TV babble of the supposed experts with a clear, useful suggestion.
WINSLOW MYERS – Is it too much of a stretch to link the alleged police execution of Michael Brown in Missouri with the terrorist execution of journalist James Foley somewhere in Iraq? Setting aside obvious differences, do these tragedies have anything in common?
DAVID SWANSON – Here’s my basic contention: Congress knows how to compromise. We don’t have to pre-compromise for them. (How’d that work out on healthcare?) (How’d that ever work out?) And when we do pre-compromise for them (such as the time AFSCME banned “single-payer” signs from “public option” rallies, so as to simulate public demand for what “progressive” Congress members were pretending to already want) we give significant support and respectability to some serious outrages (such as privatized for-profit health insurance, but also such as bombing Iraq yet again and bombing the opposite side in Syria that was to be bombed a year ago and while arming that same side, which — if we’re honest about it — is madness.
PETER DEFAZIO – Thank you for contacting me with your opposition to President Obama’s plan to take military action against the terrorist organization the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). We are in complete agreement on this issue. You will be pleased to know that I voted against the authorization to arm Syrian rebels to fight ISIS. Unfortunately, the McKeon Amendment to train and equip Syrian rebels passed the House of Representatives 273-156.
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.