Iraqis Protest SOFA

November 24, 2008

No Soldier Left Behind is a campaign promoting a comprehensive plan to end the war in Iraq and improve the security and well being of Iraqis and Americans. This means making truly effective investments in political, economic and diplomatic strategies. But our first step must be to bring every soldier home, and end the failed occupation of Iraq.

SIGN NOW

Our Vision

More than five years into the war, Iraqis still lack basic services like electricity and running water, and the fractured government has made little progress toward political reconciliation. Meanwhile, Americans are investing billions of dollars in a failed policy while facing our own economic downturn. The war in Iraq has not delivered on promises of increased security and stability for Iraqis or Americans.

We call for a strategic overhaul of the American approach in Iraq, and urge the US government to invest wisely in a truly comprehensive plan for stability. That plan includes regional diplomacy, funding for reconstruction and humanitarian aid, as well as international peacekeeping — if the Iraqi people want it. But the first critical step towards stability is to bring every soldier home, as well as private US contractors.

This year offers key opportunities. The presidential elections have energized new voters and activists. The Iraq war promises to be a central issue in congressional and presidential elections, and support in the American public for a withdrawal of US troops remains high.

We are working to ensure that everywhere members of Congress and candidates turn, they are getting our message loud and clear from the very voters they need to court. We aim to make sure the men and women who represent us in DC understand that changing course in Iraq is their job #1.


Anti-War Candidate, Pro-War Cabinet?

November 21, 2008

“I don’t want to just end the war; I want to end the mindset that got us into war.”
— Barack Obama
Feb. 19, 2008

ROBERT PARRY, robrtparry@aol.com, http://consortiumnews.com
Parry is editor of ConsortiumNews.com, a reader-supported
investigative webpage. His recent pieces include “The Danger of Keeping
Robert Gates” and “Obama Risks Clinton-Era Mistakes,” which states:
“After a masterful campaign, Barack Obama seems headed toward some
fateful mistakes as he assembles his administration by heeding the
advice of Washington’s Democratic insider community, a collective group
that represents little ‘change you can believe in.’ …”
Parry’s books include “Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of
George W. Bush,” written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat. Parry broke
many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press
and Newsweek.

ROBERT NAIMAN, naiman@justforeignpolicy.org,
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org
Naiman is senior policy analyst and national coordinator at Just
Foreign Policy. He recently wrote the piece “For Middle East Peace,
Dennis Ross Is Not the Change We Seek.”
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman/for-middle-east-peace-den_b_143888.html

STEPHEN ZUNES, zunes@usfca.edu, http://www.stephenzunes.org
Professor of politics at the University of San Francisco and a
contributor to Foreign Policy in Focus, Zunes has written numerous
pieces on Obama’s foreign policy. See:
<http://67.199.81.153/linkstorecentpublications.html#bkDems>.

SAM HUSSEINI, sam@accuracy.org, http://www.husseini.org
Communications director of the Institute for Public Accuracy,
Husseini said today: “‘Diversity’ is now often being twisted into a
euphemism for Obama including Republicans in his Cabinet. While Obama
repeatedly referenced his 2002 speech against the invasion of Iraq
during the campaign as evidence of the flawed judgment of others, he is
now reportedly considering numerous individuals who supported the
invasion and/or made false claims about Iraq to fill high-level foreign
policy positions.
“In fact, it looks like there will be little diversity on this
critical count. Obama has already chosen Biden, who voted for war and
enabled it in many ways, and Rahm Emanuel, who pushed for it. Meanwhile,
23 senators and 133 House members who voted against the war — and
countless other notable individuals who spoke out against it and the
dubious claims leading to war — are apparently not even being
considered for these crucial positions.”

Background: Here are some claims by named and possible officials in an
Obama administration:

JOSEPH BIDEN: Voted in 2002 to authorize the invasion of Iraq. In his
floor speech at the time he claimed: “[Saddam Hussein] possesses
chemical and biological weapons and is seeking nuclear weapons.” As
then-chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he oversaw
hearings which excluded former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter and
other individuals who where highly critical of claims regarding Iraq’s
alleged possessions of weapons of mass destruction. See: “Biden: What
Kind of Foreign Policy ‘Experience’?”
http://accuracy.org/newsrelease.php?articleId=1784

HILLARY CLINTON: Voted for the 2002 authorization for the Iraq war. In
her 2002 floor speech, she stated that “intelligence reports show that
Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons
stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program.” (Oct.
10, 2002) http://clinton.senate.gov/speeches/iraq_101002.html

RICHARD HOLBROOKE: Was ambassador to the United Nations toward the end
of the Clinton administration. Claimed shortly after Colin Powell’s
speech to the UN: “It was a masterful job of diplomacy by Colin Powell
and his colleagues, and it does not require a second vote to go to war.
… Saddam is the most dangerous government leader in the world today,
he poses a threat to the region, he could pose a larger threat if he got
weapons of mass destruction deployed, and we have a legitimate right to
take action.” (MSNBC, Jan. 23, 2003)

DENNIS ROSS: Mideast envoy during the Clinton administration, he made
numerous appearances on Fox News Channel during the build-up for the
Iraq invasion pressing for war, for example: “And the fact is that
[Hussein] felt he was able to continue to pursue weapons of mass
destruction, even while all of the resolutions demanding his disarmament
were put into play, and you had inspectors on the ground.” (Fox News
Channel, Dec. 22, 2002)

JOHN KERRY: Voted for the 2002 authorization for the Iraq war. Stated at
the time: “Why is Saddam Hussein attempting to develop nuclear weapons
when most nations don’t even try? … According to intelligence, Iraq
has chemical and biological weapons … Iraq is developing unmanned
aerial vehicles capable of delivering chemical and biological warfare
agents…” (Oct. 9, 2002) http://accuracy.org/newsrelease.php?articleId=375

SUSAN RICE: Assistant secretary of state in the Clinton administration.
Before the invasion of Iraq, she claimed: “I think he [then Secretary of
State Colin Powell] has proved that Iraq has these weapons and is hiding
them, and I don’t think many informed people doubted that.” (NPR, Feb.
6, 2003) http://accuracy.org/newsrelease.php?articleId=1737

BILL RICHARDSON: Was ambassador to the United Nations during the Clinton
administration in the late 1990s during which time he claimed Iraq was
developing weapons of mass destruction: “We think this man is a threat
to the international community, and he threatens a lot of the neighbors
in his region and future generations there with anthrax and VX.” (Feb.
11, 1998)
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/middle_east/jan-june98/iraq_2-11.html

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167


No Soldier Left Behind

November 21, 2008

nslbyellowanimated120Help us end the occupation of Iraq and restore the American economy

Your signature will be delivered to the next president as part of our No Soldier Left Behind campaign.

No Soldier Left Behind is a campaign promoting a comprehensive plan to end the war in Iraq and improve the security and well being of Iraqis and Americans. This means making truly effective investments in political, economic and diplomatic strategies. But our first step must be to bring every soldier home, and end the failed occupation of Iraq.

More than five years into the war, Iraqis still lack basic services like electricity and running water, and the fractured government has made little progress toward political reconciliation. Meanwhile, Americans are investing billions of dollars in a failed policy while facing our own economic downturn. The war in Iraq has not delivered on promises of increased security and stability for Iraqis or Americans.

By adding your signature to the petition here you will help ensure that ending the occupation of Iraq and restoring the American economy, stays on the top of the next presidents priorities.


Rumors About War Hawks in the Obama Cabinet

November 20, 2008

What will change really look like?

We’ll know when we see those faces around the table at that first cabinet meeting.

I’m sure you’ve heard the rumor mills churning: There are exciting names being floated alongside some downright disturbing rumors. Bush’s Defense Secretary Robert Gates, an Iraq war loyalist and a hawk on nuclear weapons, is being talked about as a possible Obama Defense Secretary. In the last two weeks, this rumor has morphed from a trial balloon to something more likely.

The peace movement helped elect Obama president, and we need your help now to see this chance for change through. Tell Obama’s transition team that it’s too risky to put Obama’s Iraq withdrawal plan in Gates’s hands by clicking here and leaving your personal message for Obama on his Change.gov transition site.  Then, tell 5 of your friends about this action.

During the campaign, Obama drove home that this era’s signature test of foreign policy judgment was whether or not you supported the invasion of Iraq.  Gates failed that test. Gates has also been vocally opposed to Obama’s withdrawal plan. It takes a vivid imagination to picture Gates implementing and successfully defending a timeline for troop withdrawal.

I’m also very concerned about Gates’ positions on arms control – especially nuclear weapons. At a time when people like Henry Kissinger and George Shultz are calling for steps towards a nuclear weapons free world, Gates been calling for a new generation of nuclear weapons.

As I told the LA Times, we can be sure that the Obama team is under pressure to dial back plans to withdraw from Iraq it is our job to hold him to his campaign promises to withdraw.  That is why your voice, right now, is so important. The best time for you and I to impact the appointments process is now, not after the President-elect makes his nominations public, so please send the Obama team your message right now.

I am truly hopeful about the potential for change that a new president embodies. And at Peace Action we will do our part to make sure the momentum for a better, wiser and more just foreign policy keeps going. Please send a message today to the President-elect’s transition team, and remind them that voters want fresh leadership at the Pentagon here.

Sincerely,

Kevin M. Martin
Executive Director
Peace Action

P.S. Don’t forget to tell your friends!


No Love for Bush Around the Globe

November 20, 2008

Bush


Iraq & Afghanistan Toll

November 19, 2008

Those who died in Iraq from Nov 9 to 15:

Sgt William McClellan  22  New Castle IN

Spc Corey Shea  21  Mansfield MA

Sgt Jose Regalado 23  Los Angeles CA

Spc Armando De La Paz  21  Riverside CA

Spc James Clay 25  Mountain Home AR

Cpl Aaron Allen  24  Buelton CA

CWO Donald Clark  37  Memphis TN

CWO Christian Humphreys  28  Fallon NV

9 were seriously wounded and maimed.

10 were returned to occupation.

153 Iraqi brothers and sisters were killed.

In Afghanistan were killed:

WO Juan Suarez Garcia  41  Spain

Cpl Ruben Rios  30  Spain

Cpl Robert McKibben  32  England

Cpl Neil Dunsten  32  England

Spc Jonnie Stiles  38  Highland Ranch CO

Sgt Krishnabahadur  36  Nepal  (UK)

Cf:   www.icasualties.org


Obama Administration

November 17, 2008

Thanks to John Issacs, Council for a Livable World

Obama Administration

Key positions announced:

White House Chief of Staff – Rahm Emanuel

White House Deputy Chief of Staff – Peter Rouse

Vice President Chief of Staff – Ron Klein

——————————

Key positions not yet announced:

——————————

Transition team:

Obama-Biden Transition Project – 3 co-chairs: John Podesta, Valerie Jarrett, and Pete Rouse.

Transition team advisory board: Carol Browner, William Daley, Christopher Edley, Michael Froman, Julius Genachowski, Donald Gips, Governor Janet Napolitano, Federico Peña, Susan Rice, Sonal Shah, Mark Gitenstein, and Ted Kaufman.

Transition Senior Staff:

Chris Lu – Executive Director

Dan Pfeiffer – Communications Director

Stephanie Cutter – Chief Spokesperson

Cassandra Butts – General Counsel

Jim Messina – Personnel Director

Patrick Gaspard – Associate Personnel Director

Christine Varney – Personnel Counsel

Melody Barnes – Co-Director of Agency Review

Lisa Brown – Co-Director of Agency Review

Phil Schiliro – Director of Congressional Relations

Michael Strautmanis – Director of Public Liaison and Intergovernmental Affairs

Katy Kale – Director of Operations

Brad Kiley – Director of Operations

Vice President-elect’s transition team: Mark Gitenstein, and Ted Kaufman.

Agency Review Co-Chairs: Melody Barnes, Lisa Brown, Don Gips

Working Group Members: Seth Harris, David J. Hayes, Reed Hundt, Sally Katzen, Tom Perez, Sarah Sewall, Louisa Terrell, Ray Rivera, Michael Warren, Tom Wheeler, Jon Wilkins

Sarah Sewall is a member of the Obama-Biden Transition Project’s Agency Review Working Group responsible for the national security agencies.

Department of State Agency Review Team Leads: Tom Donilon, Wendy R. Sherman

Senior advisor for State transition: Warren Christopher

Foreign Assistance

Foreign Assistance (USAID, MCC and PEPFAR) Review Team Leads: Gayle Smith, Aaron Williams

Department of Defense Agency Review Team Leads: John P. White, Michèle A. Flournoy

Informal senior adviser role throughout the defense transition process: Sam Nunn

Rumored to be on transition team: Kurt Campbell, Bill Lynn

National Security Council:

National Security Council Review Team Leads: Antony Blinken, Ivo Daalder, Mara Eve Rudman

Department of Energy:

Department of Homeland Security:

Department of Homeland Security Review Team Leads: Rand Beers, Clark Kent Ervin

Intelligence Community Review Team Leads

(Includes Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, National Counterterrorism Center): John O. Brennan, Judith A. (“Jami”) Miscik

Office of Management and Budget Review Team Leads: Barbara Chow


New York Time ‘Special Edition”

November 14, 2008

Here’s the website of the Yes Men’s New York Times Special Edition

New York Times ‘special edition’ spoof perplexes readers

Fake paper looks forward to the day the Iraq war ends and other stories American liberals would love

Fake New York Times cover

Fake New York Times: the work of pranksters The Yes Men

The US defence department today declared the end of the Iraq war and the immediate withdrawal of all troops, prompting an admission from Condoleezza Rice that the Bush administration had known all along that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction, according to the New York Times.

On second thoughts, that introductory paragraph needs a little clarification. The New York Times proper didn’t report the end of the Iraq war. But a spoof 14-page “special edition” of the newspaper, circulating free in Manhattan yesterday, did carry those items. It was printed in a form that was so high quality that many New Yorkers were nonplussed, and was backed up by an entire website that equally faithfully mimicked the original.

Dated July 4 2009, and boasting the motto “All the news we hope to print” in a twist on the daily’s famous phrase “All the news that’s fit to print”, the fake paper looks forward to the day the war ends, and envisages a chain of events that would be manna from heaven for American liberals. In one story ExxonMobil is taken into public ownership, while in another evangelicals open the doors of their mega-churches to Iraqi refugees.

The organisers of the evidently expensive satire are connected at least to some degree to the Yes Men, a leftwing group that seeks to expose what it claims to be the “nastiness of powerful evildoers” through pranks. A spokesman for the New York Times spoof going by the name of Wilfred Sassoon said that the Yes Men had helped with distribution, but that the paper itself had been produced by a number of writers from various New York dailies, including a couple from the New York Times itself. The project had taken about six months and had been funded by a large number of small donors.

The New York Times said it was “in the process of finding out more” about its imitation.


PEACE GROUPS CAN BE PROUD!

November 13, 2008

We stopped H. Con. Res. 362, the military blockade of Iran, even though it was on the fast track to approval. The pundits said that it could not be stopped after 280 Members of Congress endorsed it, many of them intelligent and principled people.

We believed then and still believe that it would have been an act of war. If a ship tried to enter an Iranian port and was stopped by an American ship claiming the right to inspect it, that could have started a war. There were lies and exaggerations throughout the resolution as well.
For many of us, it was the nadir of the peace movement. There were too many rallies that were poorly attended; too many planning meetings without enough money or people; too many vigils where we ran out of candles.
H. Con. Res. 362 was just too much of an outrage. People across the country wrote, phoned and visited their Congress people. The tide began to shift. Representative Danny Davis rediscovered his courage as did Congressmen Steve Cohen, Thomas Allen, Wm. Lacy Clay and John Lewis. Many who were hesitating decided not to sign on. Behind the scenes the bill’s sponsor, Gary Ackerman, was under increasing pressure to withdraw it. While he didn’t withdraw the legislation, the Congressional leadership heard our voices, and the bill was allowed to die.
We should be very proud of ourselves!
There is much work remaining. We must take heart from our great victory over H. Con. Res. 362, but rededicate ourselves to working together to: drastically cut our military budget; close many of our international military bases; shut down Guantanamo; repeal or drastically rewrite the Patriot Act; insist on OSHA standards and the right to unionize in any nation involved in free trade agreements; pay our UN dues; sign the Kyoto accords; and end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
There is much work to be done, but now we have a reason to believe that we can succeed... again!

PEACE: A History of Movements and Ideas

November 12, 2008

Join author  DAVID CORTRIGHT for a discussion and signing event for his latest book, PEACE: A History of Movements and Ideas.

Friday, November 14, 6:00-7:30 p.m.
In the Langston room at
Busboys & Poets
14th and V Streets, Washington, DC

View Table of Contents [pdf] for PEACE

More about David Cortright

Veteran scholar and peace activist David Cortright teaches Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame and Goshen College in Goshen, Indiana. As president of the Fourth Freedom Forum in Goshen, he has served as consultant or advisor for various agencies of the United Nations, the Carnegie Commission n Preventing Deadly Conflict, the International Peace Academy, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and several governments, including those of The Netherlands, Denmark, Canada, Germany, Sweden, Norway, and Switzerland.

In PEACE, Cortright offers an authoritative, balanced, and highly readable volume that traces the rise of peace advocacy and internationalism from their origins in earlier centuries through the mass movements of recent decades: the pacifist campaigns of the 1930s, the Vietnam antiwar movement, and the waves of disarmament activism that peaked in the 1980s. He also explores the underlying principles of peace-nonviolence, democracy, social justice, and human rights-and places these principles within a framework of ‘realistic pacifism’. Peace brings the story up-to-date by examining opposition to the Iraq War and responses to the so-called ‘war on terror’. This is history with a modern twist, set in the context of current debates about ‘the responsibility to protect’, nuclear proliferation, Darfur, and conflict transformation.

PEACE offers

•     A complete examination of all aspects of the debate about peace in one readable volume
•     A unique study that combines a history of movements with a history of ideas
•     An analysis of current opposition to the war in Iraq and responses to the threat of global terrorism

“David Cortright’s PEACE shows that it is possible to prevent the scourge of war and create a more just and peaceful future-if we are prepared to learn the lessons of history and apply proven peacemaking knowledge. This is a hopeful but realistic book that deserves to be read and studied widely.

-Kofi A. Annan, Former Secretary-General of the United Nations

This event is free and open to the public.
Please forward this to anyone who may be interested in attending.

Sincerely,


Kevin M. Martin
Executive Director
Peace Action


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