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 war’s end. Despite Bush’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.
BRETT WILKINS – The Belmarsh Tribunal—named after the notorious British prison where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is imprisoned as he faces possible extradition to the U.S.—was convened remotely Friday morning by Progressive International (PI). The activists “put the United States government on trial” for crimes ranging “from atrocities in Iraq to torture at Guantánamo Bay to the CIA’s illegal surveillance program—and draw attention to the extradition case of Julian Assange for revealing them.”
ROBERT C. KOEHLER – Democratic majorities were crucial this summer to the defeat of three separate bills, introduced by progressive Democrats, to reduce military spending and/or undo the militarization of police departments. These included amendments in both the Senate and the House to the National Defense Authorization Act, diverting 10 percent of the Department of Defense budget to health care, education and jobs; as well as a Senate proposal to end the 1033 Program, which allows the Pentagon to transfer military gear to the police. The amendment’s defeat in the House was especially an outrage in that the Dems hold a majority in the House and could have passed it.
MEDEA BENJAMIN and ZOLTAN GROSSMAN – If we find indiscriminate state violence in our streets appalling, we should feel similarly about state violence abroad, and call for divesting from both police and the Pentagon, and reinvesting those taxpayer dollars to rebuild communities at home and abroad.
NORMAN SOLOMON – International law is suddenly very popular in Washington. President Obama responded to Russian military intervention in the Crimea by accusing Russia of a “breach of international law.” . . . Unfortunately, during the last five years, no world leader has done more to undermine international law than Barack Obama. He treats it with rhetorical adulation and behavioral contempt, helping to further normalize a might-makes-right approach to global affairs that is the antithesis of international law.
LAWRENCE S. WITTNER – Is the human race determined to snuff itself out through mass violence? There are many signs that it is.
NORMAN SOLOMON – Rarely has any American provoked such fury in Washington’s high places. So far, Edward Snowden has outsmarted the smartest guys in the echo chamber — and he has proceeded with the kind of moral clarity that U.S. officials seem to find unfathomable. Bipartisan condemnations of Snowden are escalating from Capitol Hill and the Obama administration. More of the NSA’s massive surveillance program is now visible in the light of day — which is exactly what it can’t stand.
PHYLLIS BENNIS – The authorization for the use of military force should never have been passed.
LAWRENCE S. WITTNER: The recent furor over an unsuccessful terrorist attempt to blow up an airliner is distracting us from considering the possibility of a vastly more destructive terrorist act: exploding a nuclear weapon in a heavily-populated area.
DR. BEAU GROSSCUP: Since the 9/11 attacks, racial profiling has become an accepted component of the War on Terror. Given that the perpetrators of 9/11 were assumed to be members of Al Qaeda, anyone looking “Middle Eastern” or Arab or Muslim was/is racially profiled as suspicious. But in combating domestic terrorism, racial profiling of people of color makes no objective sense.