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?
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.
ALISTAIR CROOKE – A huge geo-political event has just occurred in Afghanistan: The implosion of a key western strategy for managing what Mackinder, in the 19th century, called the Asian heartland. That it was accomplished, without fighting, and in few days, is almost unprecedented. As a consequence, among other “seismic shifts,” China is more determined to shape the region than many analysts realize.
DAVID SWANSON – The U.S.-led NATO war on Afghanistan has lasted so long they’ve decided to rename it, declare the old war over, and announce a brand new war they’re just sure you’re going to love.
KAREN DEYOUNG – One of the four options President Obama is considering for a U.S. military presence in Afghanistan beyond this year would leave behind 3,000 troops, based in Kabul and at the American installation at Bagram, U.S. officials said. The other options include more troops in two scenarios and none in another.
NORMAN SOLOMON – A simple twist of fate has set President Obamaâ€™s second Inaugural Address for January 21, the same day as the Martin Luther King Jr. national holiday.
Obama made no mention of King during the Inauguration four years ago — but since then, in word and deed, the president has done much to distinguish himself from the man who said â€œI have a dream.â€
WINSLOW MYERS – Albert Einstein, the full measure of whose prophetic stature still has not been taken, wrote in a telegram to President Roosevelt in 1946: â€œThe unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking, and we thus drift toward unparalleled catastrophe.â€
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.
DR. JOSEPH GERSON -Beyond this hysteria, peace, labor and immigrant rights activists and scholars are gathering in Chicago for the May 18-19 Counter-Summit for Peace and Economic Justice, to present the case against NATO-driven militarism.
LAWRENCE KORB and MIRIAM PEMBERTON – Two of 2011â€™s most extraordinary developments point in a single direction.
First, the death of Osama bin Laden was accomplished by means that resembled a police action. A painstaking investigation preceded the operation by a group of special forces roughly the size of a SWAT team. Then came the extensive diplomatic work to improve the critical, complex, and challenging relationship between the United States and Pakistan.
WINSLOW MYERS – Our euphoric national mood in the wake of the assassination of Osama bin Laden may make for a reluctance to look once again, or perhaps for the first time, at his demands. There has been almost nothing in the mainstream press that examines his motivations for terrorism.
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.”
DAVID SWANSON – I may soon have an opportunity to meet with nonviolent activists in Afghanistan, an area of the world we falsely imagine has earned the name “graveyard of empires” purely through violent resistance. I was educated in the United States and learned in some detail about the lives of several morally repulsive halfwits who happened to have “served” in various U.S. wars, assaults, and genocides. But I was never even taught the name Badshah Khan. Were you?
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.
JOHN LAFORGE – U.S. attacks on Pakistan using missiles fired from remote-controlled â€œdroneâ€ warplanes have been increasing under President Obama. These covert bombings often kill civilians in violation of the law of war. Even when the missiles somehow blow up targeted individuals, they kill mere suspects. The U.S. denies that its Green Berets, Navy Seals and CIA assassination squads are waging war in Pakistan from bases in neighboring Afghanistan, but the Pentagon has long wanted to expand its regional war there to attack suspected militants — much like President Richard Nixon secretly bombed and then sent thousands of soldiers into Cambodia.
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€
KATHY KELLY: In early June, 2009, I was in the Shah Mansoor displaced persons camp in Pakistan, listening to one resident detail the carnage which had spurred his and his family’s flight there a mere 15 days earlier. Their city, Mingora, had come under massive aerial bombardment. He recalled harried efforts to bury corpses found on the roadside even as he and his neighbors tried to organize their families to flee the area.
PRITAM K. ROHILA: After years of dilly-dallying, the Pakistan government and the Army have launched an offensive against the extremists in Swat, Buner and Dir. In retaliation, extremists have carried out brazen and well-planned suicide and car-bombing attacks in different parts of Pakistan. They have targeted police and military personnel and installations, prestigious hotels, crowded markets and even religious scholars and mosques.
VALERIE SATUREN: Fourteen peace activists were arrested on April 10 at Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs, Nevada, during a 10-day vigil protesting unmanned aircraft strikes along the Afghan-Pakistan border.