YAEL EVEN OR – Whenever the Israeli army drafts the reserves â€” which are made up of ex-soldiers â€” there are dissenters, resisters, and AWOLers among the troops called to war. Now that Israel has sent troops to Gaza again and reserves are being summoned to service, dozens are refusing to take part.
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.
ABBA SOLOMON and NORMAN SOLOMON – Over the weekend, the New York Times sent out a clear signal: the mass slaughter of civilians is acceptable when the Israeli military is doing the killing. Under the headline â€œIsraelâ€™s War in Gaza,â€ the most powerful newspaper in the United States editorialized that such carnage is necessary. The lead editorial in the July 19 edition flashed a bright green light — reassuring the U.S. and Israeli governments that the horrors being inflicted in Gaza were not too horrible.
WIM LAVEN – A riveting letter is making its rounds from Dr. Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian doctor volunteering in Palestine. In it, Dr. Gilbert describes his first-hand account of Israelâ€™s boots on the ground in Gaza – the sounds of F16s, drones and Apache helicopters, â€œSo much made and paid in and by US,â€ blended with the screams, the smells, the sight of shivers and blood. He pleads, â€œMr. Obama – do you have a heart? I invite you – spend one night – just one night – with us in Shifa â€¦ I am convinced, 100 percent, it would change history.â€ Like President Obama, Iâ€™m complicit in this campaign of aggression in Gaza. We all are. The U.S. is using our money to pay for Israelâ€™s party of death.
AL CARROLL – It is the anniversary of the assassination that led to the start of World War I. Some articles will focus on the veterans, or on what some falsely claim was the first time the US was not isolationist. (That was never true. The US freely invaded Latin America many times before this. World War I was just the first time since 1812 the US warred with a white nation.) But I would argue it is far more important to remember another American first, the first time modern propaganda stampeded the US into war and dissent was effectively criminalized.
ERIN NIEMELA – As Israelâ€™s boots hit the ground in Gaza, Operation War Journalism rages on. Both Arab and Israeli war journalists weaponize rhetoric: False dichotomies (do we bomb or do nothing?) and a pro-violence worldview, among other deadly bullets. War journalism sells violent conflict â€“ â€œif it bleeds, it leadsâ€ â€“ and weâ€™re buying it. The violence in Gaza is partially a result of decades of media-distributed war products made from state-provided materials. War journalists escalate and prolong violent conflict. Their reporting choices, whether conscious or not, are harmful to citizens on all sides of violent conflicts, the Gaza crisis included.
JOHN LORETZ – Thereâ€™s more bad news from the climate scientists. Not about global warming, where the news is never good, but about the impact nuclear weapons would have on the atmosphere, our climate, and food production if even a very small number were used in a limited, regional conflict.
MICHAEL T. KLARE – In a fossil-fuel world, control over oil and gas reserves is an essential component of national power. â€œOil fuels more than automobiles and airplanes,â€ Robert Ebel of the Center for Strategic and International Studies told a State Department audience in 2002. â€œOil fuels military power, national treasuries, and international politics.â€ Far more than an ordinary trade commodity, â€œit is a determinant of well being, of national security, and international power for those who possess this vital resource, and the converse for those who do not.â€
ERIN NIEMELA – A relatively new group engaging in non-state political violence, ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, recently called for the creation of an Islamic state in Iraq and Syria and a continuation and strengthening of jihad during Ramadan, according to a video that emerged through social media. ISIS, born of Al Qaeda members in Iraq and matured in the Syrian civil war power vacuum, is so radical that Al Qaeda â€œdisownedâ€ it. As if its goals of coerced dominance arenâ€™t bad enough, Al Qaeda criticized ISIS for its brutality against civilians and Muslims. Repeat: Al Qaeda criticized ISIS. For brutality.
JACKIE CABASSO, Mayors for Peace contact – The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM), the non-partisan association of Americaâ€™s big cities, on June 23, 2014 unanimously adopted a sweeping new resolution Calling for Constructive Good Faith U.S. Participation in International Nuclear Disarmament Forums at its 82nd annual meeting in Dallas, Texas. According to USCM President Kevin Johnson, Mayor of Sacramento, California, â€œThese resolutions, once adopted, become official USCM policy.â€
MARGARET FLOWERS – On a snowy weekend in January, activists for social, economic and environmental justice from across the United States gathered in a Chicago union hall to plan a Global Climate Convergence: ten days of action from Earth Day to May Day. Many of these activists had never focused on the climate crisis before, being mired instead in fighting battles that loomed more immediately in their lives. Who has the capacity to worry about climate change when your community is hungry, cold, without shelter, lacks health care or is being poisoned? During that weekend meeting, we transcended the barriers that typically lead to working in narrow silos and treading water while the oceans literally and figuratively continue to rise around us. We stepped outside of our particular areas of advocacy, connected our struggles, and forged a collective effort to take action together this spring and beyond. The rallying cry was that the time has arrived to join hands and change course.
BERT SACKS – â€œThose Iraqis have been fighting each other for centuries,â€ a friend recently said to me. I have heard this mistaken view too often.
MICHAEL SCHWARTZ – Events in Iraq are headline news everywhere, and once again, there is no mention of the issue that underlies much of the violence: control of Iraqi oil. Instead, the media is flooded with debate about, horror over, and extensive analysis of a not-exactly-brand-new terrorist threat, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). There are, in addition, elaborate discussions about the possibility of a civil war that threatens both a new round of ethnic cleansing and the collapse of the embattled government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
JOSEPH SITGLITZ – An insidious trend has developed over this past third of a century. A country that experienced shared growth after World War II began to tear apart, so much so that when the Great Recession hit in late 2007, one could no longer ignore the fissures that had come to define the American economic landscape. How did this â€œshining city on a hillâ€ become the advanced country with the greatest level of inequality?
ALICE SLATER – A secret US government legal memo, prepared for President Obama, was recently ordered to be released to the public by a Federal Court responding to a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union. The Administrationâ€™s legal reasoning clearly fails to justify the use of pilotless drones, controlled by a killer operator, sitting behind a desk somewhere in the US, aiming his computer joy stick at human targets on the ground, thousands of miles away.