Stop Selling Death

August 28, 2014
'Nuff said?

‘Nuff said?

 

Moving from conflict to conflict in the Middle East, trying to keep up with the politics and players involved, the unrelenting violence, the rising death toll and refugee crisis, is as difficult as it is depressing. 

There is one common thread however – from Gaza to Syria to Iraq to Egypt to Libya to Afghanistan — U.S. military intervention and an ever-ready supply of U.S weapons pouring into the region make matters worse.

Let’s stop fanning the flames of war.  Sign Peace Action’s petition to restrict and limit U.S. weapons sales

U.S. weapons provided to the Iraqi Army are now in the hands of extremists who are close to tearing the country apart.  The success of the extremist offensive has led them to declare themselves the Islamic State, stretching into Syria where they have been fighting to overthrow the Assad government alongside other rebels being vetted by the U.S. to see who is worthy of receiving yet more U.S. weapons transfers, just what the region doesn’t need.

The U.S. leads the world in weapons sales. That includes the sale of weapons to undemocratic regimes and nations on the U.S. State Department’s list of human rights abusers. Tell Congress and the President it’s time to stop selling weapons to dictators and governments that turn U.S. weapons on civilian populations.

We need a new foreign policy, one that reflects America’s values and goodwill, one that relies more on patient diplomacy and humanitarian assistance and far less on weapons and war.

Humbly for Peace,

Kevin Martin
Executive Director
Peace Action

P.S. – Now, faced with war raging in the Middle East, a region awash in U.S. weapons, it is time again to push Congress and the Obama administration to end the practice of arming dictators and human rights abusers.


WAPO Faith Blog: 10 Things we can do right now about Syria besides bombing

September 6, 2013

The Washington Post On Faith Blog entry By Susan Thisthlethwaite using the practices of Just Peace to offer alternatives to military strikes:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/on-faith/wp/2013/09/06/10-things-we-can-do-right-now-about-syria-instead-of-bombing/


America – An Intervention

December 17, 2012

Hi America. Come on in. Have a seat. Get comfy. Well, we’ll just come right out and say it, since we really care about you. You have an addiction. To violence.

I know you’re hurting, but today IS the day to talk about this, and not just about gun control, but that’s where we need to start. Twenty kids massacred at school. Jesus. You can’t go on like this.

You have almost as many guns as you do people. How is that a good idea? Why does no other country think that’s a good idea? How is this making your people safer?

How come it’s easier to get guns than mental health care? Oh right, you don’t have universal health care like other grown-up countries. You could fix that, easily. Take that money you squander on your endless, pointless wars (really, enough of that already!) and give everybody health care, okay? No need for you to keep spending as much on the military as the rest of the world combined.

What was that you said? Second Amendment? You can read, right? What does a well-regulated militia have to do with anything? Really, stop being evasive. Folks can keep all their guns. Just stop making or buying bullets. It ain’t rocket science. Oh yeah, stop with the rocket science too. No more drones and missiles and “missile defense” and space weapons and all that kinda stuff.

Stop yammering about the NRA. Declare them to be what they are – a terrorist organization. Come on, sit up straight now, stiffen your spine. You can do this!

Let’s get to the bottom of something – what’s with all the fear? You have riches most other countries would only dream of – your natural resources, you bounty, and especially the ingenuity of your people. Yet you seem obsessed with fear at every level of society, from the personal to the neighborhood to the national and international levels. Why do people of different races or sexual orientation scare you so much? There’s no such thing as absolute security, for people or for countries. So ease up on all the fear-mongering already. Garrisoning neighborhoods or the country is no way to live.

Okay a lot more we could discuss that’s a lot at one sitting. Now say the following:

“Hi I’m America. I’m addicted to violence.”

Hi, America.


Cut the F-22 Outdated Fighter and get an Afghanistan exit strategy in a Few Days

June 22, 2009

We have a chance to win on two issues in the next few days:

1. Cut the funding for the outdated F-22 Jet, which both Pres. Obama and Def. Sec. gates want cut.
2. Get an exit strategy from the Obama Administration on Afghanistan

Amendments on H.R. 2647 will be taken by House Rules Committee until 7:30 PM tonight.  Then, the rule will be voted on in the Rules Committee tomorrow, Tuesday after 5:00 PM.  Even though there’s still some shifting about which bills will come up in what order this week, it appears that H.R. 2647, the FY 2010 National Defense Authorizations Act/NDAA, will come to the House floor on Wednesday, June 24th, immediately following the completion of the FY 2010 Homeland Security Appropriations Act.

Debate on the defense bill and amendments to the defense bill will likely continue into Wednesday night, with votes on those amendments being rolled over to Thursday, June 25th.   Any remaining debate and votes on the defense bill and amendments will be completed on Thursday, June 25th.  The annual White House picnic is “Hawaiian style” this year and on Thur. eve.  Members hope to have finished up the defense bill by that time (i.e. 6-ish), but if not, there will be a break in voting while debate on the bill and amendments continues, with votes rolled until later in the evening or the next morning.

Here’s some of the strategy that various coalitions are working on:

Focus on the F-22 should be Dem. leadership and our normal allies asking them to support any amendments that cut the F-22.

Focus on the Afghanistan Exit Strategy Amendment should be on those allies that are not current cosponsors of HR2404


Peace Action on Gary Null radio show discussing Iraq and Afghanistan

June 11, 2009

GaryNullShow061109.mp3


Peace Action Claims Military Bias in 60 Minutes Predator Story

May 11, 2009

I usually enjoy 60 Minutes and expect some decently produced segments.  Who doesn’t love Andy Rooney? “America’s New Air Force” is the worst story by 60 Minutes that I have every seen. It’s more military propaganda and a commercial for the contractors of the Predator drone, than investigative journalism.  How did 60 Minutes get so hoodwinked?

How do you do 13-minute story interviewing the Pentagon, without interviewing one critic?  What about talking with NGOs on the ground in Afghanistan that can talk about the effects of civilian casualties caused by drone strikes?

Instead, there is zero facts on civilian deaths and suffering.  There are dozens of facts, and figures about the technical and cost specifications, but not one figure about how many lives cost or saved from these missions.  Lara Logan doesn’t seem to realize that she is no longer an “embedded journalist.”  While I’m sure it is exciting to get special access to secret technology, that does not make an investigative journalist.  Anyone can report statistics fed to him or her by the military or military contractors.  Isn’t it the job of 60 Minutes to rise above and think about the larger meta issues?

The military uses the secrecy frame to entice reporters to get the inside scoop.  Real reporting is questioning why are air strikes and Predator strikes classified in the first place.  Why do only a limited handful of members of congress and staff get briefed?  Where are the non-classified reports on the efficacy of air and drone strikes? Why hasn’t the Government Accountability Office looked into these missions?

A counterinsurgency expert and former advisor to Gen. David Petraeus, Dr. David Kilcullen, claimed

If we want to strengthen our friends and weaken our enemies in Pakistan, bombing Pakistani villages with unmanned drones is totally counterproductive.

Colonel Lawrence B. Wilkerson, a retired United States Army Colonel and former chief of staff to United States Secretary of State Colin Powell went further by saying the U.S. should halt all Air and Predator drone strikes.  Of course, Afghanistan President Karzai, aid organizations and other military strategists have said this, but 60 Minutes isn’t doing the reporting.

I’m no journalist, but I can think of some interesting and important questions:

Why do you believe these tactics are worth the civilian deaths, trauma and loss of the hearts and minds of Afghans?  Are we really getting rid of more terrorists than we are creating?  What are the metrics that show the success of these missions and that they are making Americans safer?  What are the precautions the U.S. is taking to preserve innocent life as required by international law?  What about the rule of law and arresting and taking suspected terrorists to trial?

60 Minutes needs to provide balance with another 13-minute story partly ‘embedded’ with NGOs on the ground in Afghanistan, partly talking to some critical experts and partly finding out why congress is not playing it’s role of a check and balance to the Pentagon.

Please take a moment to call, write and post a comment to 60 Minutes and ask for better journalism.

Jeff Fager
Executive Producer
60 Minutes – CBS News Network
(212) 975-2006
60M@cbsnews.com

Lara Logan
Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent for the Washington D.C. bureau on the CBS News Network
(202) 457-4321
chelll@cbsnews.com

You can watch and comment about the 60 Minutes segment here:

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=5004882n

You can sign a petition for better Afghanistan policy here.


War Toll

January 29, 2009
Those who were killed in Iraq from Jan 18 to 24:
Pvt Ricky Turner  20  Athens AL
Pvt Matthew Pollini  21  Rockland MA
Pvt Grant Cotting  19  Corona CA
Sgt Kyle Harrington  24  Swansea MA
5 were seriously wounded.
21 wounded were returned to occupation.
87 Iraqi brothers and sisters were killed.
In Afghanistan were killed:
Sgt Carlo Robinson  33  Lawton OK
Spc Ezra Dawson  31  Las Vegas NV
Cpl Julian Brennan  25  Brooklyn NY

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