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/
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.”
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
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.
60 Minutes – CBS News Network
Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent for the Washington D.C. bureau on the CBS News Network
You can watch and comment about the 60 Minutes segment here:
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
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)