Archive for the ‘war’ Tag

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Bill Maher “New rule, when it comes to being baited into going to war, America has to try a little harder to not be so bleeping easy!  Just a few months ago, polls showed Americans were sick of war.  They’d had enough.  They were anxious to stay out of the Middle-East.  Then they saw two beheadings and overnight they were like, oh war, we can’t stay mad at you.  You know, conservatives love to vilify anyone who doesn’t want to immediately throw down as appeasers, but when you’re dealing with terrorists who’s aim is to bait us into overreaction, and you oblige them, aren’t you the appeaser?”

 

 

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The powerful pro-Israel lobby AIPAC is planning to launch a major lobbying campaign to push wayward lawmakers to back the resolution authorizing U.S. strikes against Syria, sources said Thursday.

Officials say that some 250 Jewish leaders and AIPAC activists will storm the halls on Capitol Hill beginning next week to persuade lawmakers that Congress must adopt the resolution or risk emboldening Iran’s efforts to build a nuclear weapon. They are expected to lobby virtually every member of Congress, arguing that “barbarism” by the Assad regime cannot be tolerated, and that failing to act would “send a message” to Tehran that the U.S. won’t stand up to hostile countries’ efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction, according to a source with the group

“History tells us that ambiguity [in U.S. actions] invites aggression,” said the AIPAC source who asked not to be named. The source added the group will now be engaged in a “major mobilization” over the issue.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/09/aipac-syria-96344.html#ixzz2e7IXJ0Lm

 

Posted September 6, 2013 by tmusicfan in Politics, Quote of the Day

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COLCHESTER, Vt. — BY leaking details of the National Security Agency’s data-mining program, Edward J. Snowden revealed that the government’s surveillance efforts were far more extensive than previously understood. Many commentators have deemed the government’s activities alarming and unprecedented. The N.S.A.’s program is indeed alarming — but not, from a historical perspective, unprecedented. And history suggests that we should worry less about the surveillance itself and more about when the war in whose name the surveillance is being conducted will end.

In 1862, after President Abraham Lincoln appointed him secretary of war, Edwin M. Stanton penned a letter to the president requesting sweeping powers, which would include total control of the telegraph lines. By rerouting those lines through his office, Stanton would keep tabs on vast amounts of communication, journalistic, governmental and personal. On the back of Stanton’s letter Lincoln scribbled his approval: “The Secretary of War has my authority to exercise his discretion in the matter within mentioned.”

But part of the reason this calculus was acceptable to me was that the trade-offs were not permanent. As the war ended, the emergency measures were rolled back. Information — telegraph and otherwise — began to flow freely again.

So it has been with many wars: a cycle of draconian measures followed by contraction. During the First World War, the Supreme Court found that Charles T. Schenck posed a “clear and present danger” for advocating opposition to the draft; later such speech became more permissible. During the Second World War, habeas corpus was suspended several times — most notably in Hawaii after the Pearl Harbor attack — but afterward such suspensions became rare.

This is why, if you are a critic of the N.S.A.’s surveillance program, it is imperative that the war on terror reach its culmination. In May, President Obama declared that “this war, like all wars, must end.” If history is any guide, ending the seemingly endless state of war is the first step in returning our civil liberties.

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John Fugelsang:

So for tonight’s F-bomb, we cover a little-covered report that affects all of us.

Because it’s from Stuart Bowen. He’s the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction. And that’s more than just a sexy title — he’s the guy whose job it is to officially notify Congress about how much of our money was spent on the Iraq invasion and occupation and reconstruction.

Now, Bowen just reported that maybe, just maybe, the Iraq War wasn’t a great idea from a money perspective. I could quote you highlights from the report: how the reconstruction “grew to a size much larger than was ever anticipated” or how “not enough was accomplished for the size of the funds extended.”

Wow. Who knew?

And he’s just talking about the $60 billion of U.S. taxpayer money that went to Iraq reconstruction projects. I’d like to repeat that figure, since we’re all so busy arguing about the budget deficit in this country: $60 billion, or $15 million per day. Just to give you some scale, that’s more than Current TV pays me in a whole month.

And it’s relevant. Under the austerity politics of D.C., we have Democrats and mostly Republicans now telling us how we have to cut spending to rebuild America after 10 years of nonstop spending to rebuild Iraq after we blew it up. So let’s go back, through the mists of time, to 10 years ago this month.

Back when Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his capo de tutti capi Paul Wolfowitz were telling us how invading Iraq would pay for itself. And then once we were there they said we couldn’t leave because then Iran would invade Iraq and create the new Islamo-fascist supergroup “Iranq.”

Meanwhile, the people who were against the invasion said it would kill a lot of soldiers, would kill even more Iraqis and would only succeed in making a few U.S. businessmen and international oil companies very, very rich.

So who was right?

Well, according to the report, the American taxpayer spent $40 million for a prison in the eastern Diyala province that now sits in ruins. It’s never gonna be finished. It’s never gonna be used. All that money wasted — sort of like the next Guns N’ Roses album.

Also, a $108 million wastewater treatment center in Fallujah is going to finish eight years late and only service 9,000 homes. If Iraq wants to finish the job we’ve started, they’ve got to pony up with another $87 million. And we can’t help them because we’re broke from spending too much money trying to help them after blowing up their country.

At the end of the day, my friends, the Iraq War cost you and me around $800 billion, or $7.6 billion a month. Factor in long-term cost of caring for our wounded veterans, it’s about a trillion dollars. Over 4,000 U.S. troops are dead, well over 30,000 are injured or maimed for life. Over 100,000 Iraqis are dead.

Now I don’t know if America will learn anything from this, but as long as we’re talking about cutting Medicare, cutting education, cutting salary for government employees; as long as we’re paying the tab after George Bush’s eight-year-long dine-n-dash; as long as Barack Obama is still being blamed for an economy that was partially wrecked by this war; as long as there are still men and women in our government who think they can have two wars off the books while cutting taxes for the wealthy and still get to call themselves conservative …

Here’s a very simple economic formula that works: People who supported the Iraq War don’t ever, ever, ever get to complain about deficits or spending.

In late 2002, a group of entertainers called Artists United to Win Without War put out an open letter to President Bush rejecting the doctrine that America had the right to launch first-strike attacks. A lot of people put their reputations on the line, like Mike Farrell, Lily Tomlin, Samuel L. Jackson — and look who’s right there, in between the late Bonnie Franklin and Janeane Garafalo? Which also happens to also be my dream three-way? — 100 million Americans — one third of us were against Iraq.

Yes, all this spending has led to a lot of suffering, and the austerity politicians of the GOP remind you we can alleviate some of that suffering if we can just come together, cut taxes for the rich even more, and take just a bit more money away from old, sick people.

http://current.com/shows/viewpoint/videos/john-fugelsang-people-who-supported-the-iraq-war-dont-ever-get-to-complain-about-deficits/

 

Posted March 9, 2013 by tmusicfan in Politics, Quote of the Day

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Fareed Zakaria “But, first, here’s my take. As we debate whether the two parties can ever come together and get things done, here is something President Obama could do, probably by himself, that would be a signal accomplishment of his presidency: End the war on terror.

For the first time since 9/11, an administration official has sketched a possible endpoint. Jeh Johnson, the outgoing general counsel for the Pentagon, said in a speech to the Oxford Union last week that, “As the battle against al-Qaeda continues, there will come a tipping point at which so many of the leaders and operatives of al- Qaeda and its affiliates have been killed or captured, such that al- Qaeda as we know it, has been effectively destroyed.”

At that point, he said, “our efforts should no longer be considered an armed conflict.” You might not realize it, but we’re still living in a state of war. This is the longest period that the United States has lived in such a situation, longer than the Civil War, World War I, World War II.

It grants the president and the federal government extraordinary authorities effectively suspends civil liberties for anyone the government deems an enemy and it also keeps us at a permanent war footing in all kinds of ways. Ending this situation should be something that would appeal to both left and right.

James Madison, the author of the Constitution, was clear on this topic. “Of all the enemies to public liberty,” he wrote, “war is perhaps the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies. From there proceed debts and taxes. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”

If you want to know why we’re in such a deep budgetary hole, keep in mind that we have spent about $2 trillion on foreign wars in the last decade. In addition, we have had the largest expansion of the federal government since World War II.

Dana Priest and William Arkin have documented that the U.S. government has built 33 new building complexes for the intelligence bureaucracies alone occupying 17 million square feet, the equivalent of 22 U.S. capitols or three Pentagons. The Department of Homeland Security itself employs almost one-quarter of a million people.

Of course there are real threats out there, including from new branches of al-Qaeda and other such groups. And of course they will have to be battled, and those terrorists should be captured or killed.

But we have done this before, and we can do it again in the future under more normal, legal circumstances. It will mean that the administration will have to be more careful and perhaps have more congressional involvement for certain actions, like drone strikes.

It might mean it will have to charge some of the people in Guantanamo and try them in military or civilian courts. But is all this bad? So have we reached the point where we might consider shifting from emergency wartime powers?

Well, a new report is out this week, a new Global Terrorism Index. It goes from 2002 to 2011. It shows that terrorism went up from ’02 to ’07, largely because of the conflicts in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, but has been declining ever since.

And surveying the situation by region, the report finds that the part of the world with the fewest incidents of terrorism has been North America.”

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1212/09/fzgps.01.html

Posted December 10, 2012 by tmusicfan in Politics, Quote of the Day

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