Friday, October 16, 2015

Warmongers Without Limits (continued)

Not only do the lethal imperialists of the United States have no limits, they seem determined to shatter the space-time continuum as they revel in their perpetual orgy of death.

Within the space of 24 hours, we have learned that 90 percent of Obama's drone victims have been innocent civilians; that the USA will wage war in Afghanistan through 2017 (aka forever); and that the military attack on a Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital was at least an "accidentally on purpose" gross violation of the Geneva Conventions if not an outright act of mass murder. Officials at high levels knew they were bombing a hospital.

Maybe I've missed it, but I haven't noticed anyone running for president stand up and deplore any of these atrocities. There are no candidates running on a pacifist plank from either major corporate party. That is because there is no major anti-war movement in this country, and there hasn't been for a long time. To be more specific, there has been no mass outrage since President Peace Prize Obama took office in 2009. And that has got to change, if we have any hope of reining in the runaway Military-Industrial Complex, and the president and the Congress it controls.

Don't vote for anybody unless she or he condemns the wars and the death and the destruction. A mere promise to cut back or end them soon won't fly. (And that goes for you, too, Bernie Sanders!)

Just as Obama was announcing that the Afghan War will continue in all its fury until morale improves, The Intercept revealed that another contractor with a conscience leaked documents which outline precisely how our government ascertains which Muslims to kill. Far from being the "surgical strikes" that Obama boasts about, these racist killings by remote control are rarely if ever limited to alleged "militants" or suspected terrorists. As far as their alleged therapeutic value is concerned, drones are no better than cruise missiles aimed at a civilian population from hundreds of miles away, or any more delicate than a cluster bomb ripping human bodies to shreds for miles around. You can read the whole report here.

And only hours after Obama announced the retention of 10,000 troops in Afghanistan, the AP dropped its own bombshell, revealing that audio exists of the warplane pilots questioning the legality of what they were doing even as they incinerated patients trapped in their beds during the 90-minute attack. American special ops had identified the hospital as a hospital before the order went down to obliterate it. American spies suspected that a Pakistani Taliban spy might have been holed up within. Even if that were true, it is no justification for destroying a medical facility.

From the AP report:
Doctors without Borders has condemned the bombing as a war crime. The organization says the strike killed 12 hospital staff and 10 patients, and that death toll may rise. It insists that no gunmen, weapons or ammunition were in the building. The U.S. and Afghan governments have launched three separate investigations. President Barack Obama has apologized, but Doctors without Borders is calling for an international probe.
Doctors without Borders officials say the U.S. airplane made five separate strafing runs over an hour, directing heavy fire on the main hospital building, which contained the emergency room and intensive care unit. Surrounding buildings were not struck, they said.
Typically, pilots flying air support missions would have maps showing protected sites such as hospitals and mosques. If commanders concluded that enemies were operating from a protected site, they would follow procedures designed to minimize civilian casualties. That would generally mean surrounding a building with troops, not blowing it to bits from the air.
What the new details suggest "is that the hospital was intentionally targeted, killing at least 22 patients and MSF staff," said Meinie Nicolai, president of the operational directorate of Doctors without Borders, which is also known by its French initials MSF. "This would amount to a premeditated massacre. ... Reports like this underscore how critical it is for the Obama administration to immediately give consent to an independent and impartial investigation by the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission to find out how and why U.S. forces attacked our hospital."
In order for this investigation to proceed, the commission would have to obtain permission from Obama and Afghan President Ghani, who are both allegedly conducting their own probes of their own agencies. Permission is therefore not expected to be forthcoming. 

We are anxiously waiting for our presidential candidates and congress critters to step up to the plate and go to bat for the 22 innocent victims of the hospital bombings. However, since they have never gone to bat for the millions of other victims of United States aggression, we probably wait in vain. Unless, that is, enough of us make certain political lives uncomfortable and their seats precarious.

To help make them suitably uncomfortable, MSF is circulating a Change.Org petition demanding that Obama agree to a separate investigation:
 "Survivors have recounted it as a horrifying experience. Beyond that, attacking a protected site such as a hospital is a grave violation of International Humanitarian Law and the Geneva Conventions. The precise GPS coordinates of the four-year-old MSF hospital in Kunduz were provided to U.S. and Afghan authorities in Washington and Kabul in the days prior to the bombing, and the hospital contained nearly 200 patients and staff at the time of the attack.  
Investigations have been launched by the U.S., NATO, and the Afghan government, but it is impossible to expect the parties involved in the conflict to carry out independent and impartial investigations of acts in which they themselves are implicated.
It was for that reason, and in the name of our killed and wounded colleagues and patients—and for all of our staff and patients worldwide—that MSF called for an independent international investigation into the events of October 3 by the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission (IHFFC), the only permanent body set up specifically to investigate violations of international humanitarian law."
Earlier this week, the Obama administration also dropped a program to train "reasonable" Syrian terrorists in order to oust the democratically elected president. They have opted instead to just blindly airdrop weapons in hopes that the moderate militants will find them and use them to kill the immoderate militants. We are assured by the administration that the unknown people getting hold of these weapons have been swiftly and properly vetted by the same class of spooks which determined that the Kunduz charity hospital was a hotbed of terror, and that ISIS was a J.V. basketball team. Meanwhile, the administration announced that the limited number of Syrian refugees our exceptional country is willing to take in have to wait at least two years to be properly vetted, lest they include incipient Muslim child terrorists. The tacit message being sent to the victims of United States aggression by the United States Pathocracy: Don't even bother to apply. You are not wanted here.

As the late Edward Said wrote in Covering Islam, Islamophobia has gained an undeserved political correctness thanks to decades of slanted news coverage and portrayals of Muslims as terrorists in Hollywood-produced entertainment. "Malicious generalizations about Islam have become the last acceptable form of denigration of foreign culture in the West," he rightly observed, adding later in his book:

"To a basically indifferent and already poorly informed American clientele, the Islamic threat is made to seem disproportionately fearsome, lending support to the thesis that there is a worldwide conspiracy behind every explosion. Islamophobia is the new anti-Semitism."


Pearl said...

A timely and vital column, Karen. Not much discussion on this topic at the Debate other than mention of Hillary's support of the Irag war.
We need someone to start a strong anti-war movement but I am concerned about Bernie's record in this area in the past. Many of his supporters are of deployment age and it should be of grave importance to them. I hope he will address the issue of constant involvement by the volatile situations we have no business being part of.
If Hillary should become president she will inherit Obama's agenda in Afghanistan plus other military decisions which will remain in the hawkish column under her administration.
I hope future debates will make this an important part of their agenda and that
Bernie will address this vital issue in order to hold on to many progressives who question his motives.

annenigma said...

"Don't vote for anybody unless she or he condemns the wars and the death and the destruction. A mere promise to cut back or end them soon won't fly. (And that goes for you, too, Bernie Sanders!)"

Hear, hear! Thank you, Karen. That's music to my ears. Why do we always give our votes away for nothing, making no demands? It's too bad that that crank Ron Paul was right on the one most important issue. He struck a chord with a lot of the young for his anti-imperialist stance. Why is it that only Libertarians see the problem of imperialism? Is it because they focus on the financial cost to the taxpayer which is YUGE? It's probably not a moral, but a practical objection, but at least they recognize it as a fundamental problem to democracy.

We can't fix this country and restore our dying democracy until that BEAST is shrunk to the size where it can be drowned in a bathtub, and it starts with cutting off it's massively bloated arms! EEEAGGGHHHH! (Sound like Howard Dean screaming)

Karen, did you forget to mention that President Peace Prize is expanding our military colonies, I mean presence, to Cameroon? Obama just informed Congress on Wednesday that he is ordering hundreds of troops and surveillance *cough*cough* drones to Cameroon allegedly 'to aid the Boko Haram fight'. You can bet once we have our foot and money in the door, they will welcome a big, shiny new military facility there in addition to the upwards of 1000 we already have around the world. I can't help but notice that all the countries in Africa where Obama sends troops and unarmed surveillance drones (for now) in Africa all happen to have coastlines. All the better for a Marine and Navy presence so we can control the seas as well as the land for The Empire.

The beat of war drums goes on.

Thanks for fighting the good fight with this blog, Karen.

Patricia M. said...

Thank you Karen, Pearl, and Annenigma. The beat certain does go on. Consortium has a timely piece about this today, as well:

I am a supporter of Bernie Sanders to date - but he must speak out and address these issues. I appreciate you Karen and all of the commenters.

Duane McPherson said...

It would be nice to see some analysis of the U.S. government position on Syrian president Assad. We are told that there must be regime change in order to negociate an end to the Syrian civil war, but we are never told why. What makes anyone believe that Syria will become a democratic nation just by removing Assad? Haven't we heard that trope enough before so that we can now recognize it as tripe?

You don't have to be a fan of Assad or his party to sense that there's a deeper motive, and that it cares nothing about the well-being of the long-suffering Syrian people. Just as the war to displace Saddam Hussein was never intended to improve the lives of the longer-suffering Iraqi people.

Mysteriously, the U.S. media are almost silent on this topic.

Stev-o said...

Anti-war movement? Huh. In the United States? Huh.
My little free public library sells used books all summer, May through October, as a fund-raiser. I was there on opening day of course, to get the best selection, they do add during the summer, so you may feel obligated to stop in and browse periodically. But I digress. I picked up several copies of books that looked interesting and/or that I wanted so I was successful. One of those was Dalton Trumbo's classic anti-war protest novel, "Johnny Got His Gun." I read it years ago, in high school and it must have had some affect on me because I am experiencing deja vu with the re-reading. It is the same book I read in high school: black cover with a "v for victory" hand sign and the WWI soldier silhouette. It is terrifying. My two sons went to the same high school I did thirty years later, but did not read it. Perhaps if it were mandatory reading there would now be a rabid anti-war movement. Better yet and in a perfect world, there would not be a need for protesting. Read it if you have not.

Pearl said...

This is a very interesting analysis and history of Bernie's statements about the Middle East with a possibility for some change in his official comments and a video of his speech on the topic.

It is: the Backstory on Bernie Sanders and Israel from Truthdig in case you cannot pull it up with the above access to the article

voice-in-wilderness said...

I try to resist conspiracy theories, but I have one of my own. My most probable explanation of the dramatic difference between Obama the candidate and Obama the president is that an android was been substituted for the real Obama sometime between election day in November 2008 and inauguration day in January 2009.

I just didn't realize how advanced the technology is, to create and program such a convincing replica!

Jay–Ottawa said...

Been away for days (without a computer). How good it is to come back home to log in and catch up on sites like Sardonicky. Here I am at 2 AM catching up. Can't go to bed with issues like death and war still unresolved. Let me spell it all out in my way so the rest of you can rest easy.

We've come a long way when the loudest voice against war is Ron Paul. This is an advance since the days of Vietnam protests. The defeatists are going extinct, as some of you have already remarked. Maybe presidents of, say, Costa Rica can get elected to that nation's top job while being against war, but such a combination of power and nonviolence in the same person is inconceivable in the US. Thanks be to God.

Once upon a time we only associated Divine Right with the kings of yore. Through a complicated linkage we need not get into right now, Kings were chosen by God, just like popes, hence their right to dictate. And those few souls who did not respect the Divine Right of kings, no matter what went down from the throne, were eligible for lodging in the Tower or a dungeon, followed by beheading––or being drawn and quartered if especially treasonous. Saudi Arabia is not shy about shielding the flame of such hallowed traditions today. Divine Right still lives by threatening the lives of those who dare to think it is not so divine.

Saudi Arabia is not alone in maintaining the old traditions. There are alternate forms of dungeons and beheadings in more advanced countries like the US: think solitary confinement and the chair. So much for the social contract between modern citizens and their government. If you push the envelope too hard, government has every right, for the sake of good order, to push back till you're bug splat.

In the bigger theatre of right and wrong, that is, when nations get into an argument over which of them has the most Divine Right, we call that war. Beheadings and other ultimate sacrifices or punishments in war are authorized by God––ask any Christian warrior––and, thanks to technological advances, such beheadings can be managed with snipers, firing squads, Hellfire missiles or, if the chief is really pissed off, nukes. We know all this, even though we don't talk too loud about it in politically correct company.

The President of the US is first and foremost the Commander in Chief. If he can't protect our borders, what's the use of talking about minimum wage, the right to privacy, or the price of organic chicken breast? Our priorities must be in order. The President of the US has got to be willing to protect us all by threatening the lives of foreigners who want to do us harm, or who might think about doing us harm. Otherwise, he's a paper tiger. The Man has got to be willing to use the hammer and that hammer is a metaphor for the Pentagon, and by extension the FBI, CIA, NSA and the many police forces coast to coast. At long last are we clear on our situation, the fine print of the social contract?

So for a man or woman running for the office of president we need a person willing to kill. Pacifists, the nonviolent, negotiators, and even the wise or the peace makers need not apply. Costa Rica (no army) does not hold the same responsibility of the USA (big army). Any talk of scaling down the army and the means of war is the portal to defeatism and evidence that whoever proposes less war is shirking responsibilities placed on our shoulders by God. Or else the antiwar he or she is more than confused and must be labeled as a plain old coward. The Chosen People (in ancient times, Israel, today the USA) have been given the responsibility of protecting the world from ungodliness, no matter what it takes, whether they want our protection or not. This arrangement is not negotiable with citizens at home (you) or foreigners abroad (them).

Most people in America subscribe to the above, whether or not you can get them to admit it.

Pearl said...

Bernie Blew It: He Sold Out Instead of Confronting Clinton (from @Truthdig)

Disturbing report by Robert Scheer in Truthdig

Jay–Ottawa said...

Thanks to another whistleblower's big dump, the detailed inside story about drones documented from the point of view of the executive branch itself is nicely laid out by Jeremy Scahill over at The Intercept. The Intercept entitles its scoop with the same flat label as "The Pentagon Papers." Let's see whether the country reacts as it did to Ellsberg or as it didn't to Snowden.

Slavish followers of the NY Times will have to go over there to read the docs because the story is sure not to be picked up by the MSM. These documents provide fresh evidence that the higher up you go in government––i.e., the stratosphere of governors and the prez hizself––the more it's clear these executives must act without hesitation when it comes to snuffing lives at home or abroad. The polite words used instead of murder are 'capital punishment,' 'targeted killing,' and 'counterterrorism.' Murder like an ugly person looks ok if you photograph it in the right light––or better yet in darkness. The business of drones provides fresh insight to the root of the word "executive." These folks must be able to execute. They must understand that they stand above the laws handed down at Mount Sinai or Geneva.

Yes, a woman can become president, provided she's sufficiently hawkish. No problem. Even a socialist could be given the title of commander-in-chief, just so long as it's clear he will permit the Pentagon and the CIA to slip the leash at will.

What will the PTB never allow into the White House for lack of executive ability? A Quaker, or someone who thinks like a Quaker. Sometimes I feel guilty about not becoming a Quaker, merely to keep me on the straight and narrow and to tell history I was not part of the murdering crowd.

But our young from the elementary grades through grad school are taught the fable that government holds power thanks to the consent of the people. Un-huh. Either there is no need for such 'consent' when killers are in the saddle and think they own the horse beneath them, or those citizens who remain silent on the matter (and it appears they are in the majority) are a nation of murderers, at very least accomplices to the executives to whom they turned over the power to say "execute!" and whose executives exercise that power openly or secretly, as the situation warrants. Whatever, don't bother us with the details à la Scahill.

'Hillary for America' and 'A Political Revolution is Coming.' Yeah right. Sounds like toothless variations on the grand old promise of 'Change.'