Friday, March 29, 2013

Remember the economy? Barack doesn't







Haider Ali Hussein Mullick (The Diplomat) insists today, "However, given that international terrorist organizations can -- and have -- threatened our livelihood, the United States can’t wish away counterinsurgency."  Actually, it could and it should.  But war addicts like Haider Ali Hussein Mullick are idiots and/or fools.  There is no proof that counter-insurgency has done a damn thing to protect the United States.  If you look at the root cause of 9-11 -- which all these years later, we still aren't supposed to -- counter-insurgency would fall into exactly the sort of actions that cause the hostility and resentments at the root of the 9-11 attacks.  Outside of the US there were wide discussions on the causes.  For example, September 29th, 2011, Arundhati Roy weighed in at the Guardian noting:

For strategic, military and economic reasons, it is vital for the US government to persuade its public that their commitment to freedom and democracy and the American Way of Life is under attack. In the current atmosphere of grief, outrage and anger, it's an easy notion to peddle. However, if that were true, it's reasonable to wonder why the symbols of America's economic and military dominance - the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon - were chosen as the targets of the attacks. Why not the Statue of Liberty? Could it be that the stygian anger that led to the attacks has its taproot not in American freedom and democracy, but in the US government's record of commitment and support to exactly the opposite things - to military and economic terrorism, insurgency, military dictatorship, religious bigotry and unimaginable genocide (outside America)? It must be hard for ordinary Americans, so recently bereaved, to look up at the world with their eyes full of tears and encounter what might appear to them to be indifference. It isn't indifference. It's just augury. An absence of surprise. The tired wisdom of knowing that what goes around eventually comes around. American people ought to know that it is not them but their government's policies that are so hated. They can't possibly doubt that they themselves, their extraordinary musicians, their writers, their actors, their spectacular sportsmen and their cinema, are universally welcomed. All of us have been moved by the courage and grace shown by firefighters, rescue workers and ordinary office staff in the days since the attacks.
America's grief at what happened has been immense and immensely public. It would be grotesque to expect it to calibrate or modulate its anguish. However, it will be a pity if, instead of using this as an opportunity to try to understand why September 11 happened, Americans use it as an opportunity to usurp the whole world's sorrow to mourn and avenge only their own. Because then it falls to the rest of us to ask the hard questions and say the harsh things. And for our pains, for our bad timing, we will be disliked, ignored and perhaps eventually silenced.

Those conversations couldn't take place in the US.  When people tried they were demonized.  Susan Sontag wrote three paragraphs on 9-11, they were three well written paragraph, they were basic in logic, and for that the likes of tub of trash Andrew Sullivan demonized her.  He can pretend to be sorry about Iraq today all he wants, but he has never apologized for the way he demonized people in the years leading up to the start of the Iraq War.  He was a fat and ugly bully then and he's a fat and ugly bully now.  How did the US end up in the Iraq War?  Fat ugly bullies like Andrew Sullivan.  Here's Sontag's first paragraph:

The disconnect between last Tuesday's monstrous dose of reality and the self-righteous drivel and outright deceptions being peddled by public figures and TV commentators is startling, depressing. The voices licensed to follow the event seem to have joined together in a campaign to infantilize the public. Where is the acknowledgment that this was not a "cowardly" attack on "civilization" or "liberty" or "humanity" or "the free world" but an attack on the world's self-proclaimed superpower, undertaken as a consequence of specific American alliances and actions? How many citizens are aware of the ongoing American bombing of Iraq? And if the word "cowardly" is to be used, it might be more aptly applied to those who kill from beyond the range of retaliation, high in the sky, than to those willing to die themselves in order to kill others. In the matter of courage (a morally neutral virtue): whatever may be said of the perpetrators of Tuesday's slaughter, they were not cowards.

Counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism?  Are they really helping to improve US relations or are they just the breeding ground for future anger and future resentments?

If you're confused as to how to answer, maybe you waste your time trusting Amy Goodman and Democracy Now! to tell you the truth?  As Ava and I noted Sunday:

Let's clarify that.  It's not just that she didn't do the investigative report, it's that it didn't cost her.  British public television and England's Guardian newspaper paid for it.  Goody put it this way, "As we continue to mark the 10th anniversary of the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, we turn today to a shocking new report by The Guardian newspaper and BBC Arabic detailing how the United States armed and trained Iraqi police commando units that ran torture centers and death squads."

A shocking new report?  We'll we're in.  Oh, wait.  She was talking about James Steele: America's Mystery Man In Iraq -- the documentary we covered in "TV: The War Crimes Documentary" two weeks ago.

14 days late and playing it cheap, Goody decided to kind-of, sort-of get serious.

Or as serious as a Class of '79 Harvard Whore can.

We were tipped off by a friend at The Guardian that the paper's Maggie O'Kane was asked not to use the term "counter-insurgency"  during her appearance on Democracy Now!

If you've seen the documentary, you know that counter-insurgency is what the documentary's all  about.

[. . .]

Counter-insurgency is at the heart of the British documentary.  It's a policy.  Goody wanted to reduce it to random acts of torture with no real American fingerprints on the crimes.  To hear Goody tell it and offer selective edits of the documentary, James Steele trained some bad guys and that's really all.

Harvard's connection to counterinsurgency ensures that Goody won't talk about counter-insurgency.  But others talk about.  For example, last week it was the topic of a Foreign Policy roundtable, and the participants were all COIN enthusiasts including Eliot Cohen who explained:

The first thing is just to remind us all, counterinsurgency is a kind of military operation. There's an American style to counterinsurgency; there was a German style to counterinsurgency; there's a Soviet or Russian style to counterinsurgency. It's just a kind of operation that militaries do, and I think particularly in the popular discussion there's this tendency to call counterinsurgency the kind of stuff that's in the manual.
[. . .]
And finally, having played a very modest role in helping get the COIN manual launched, I've got two big reservations about it. Actually three. One is a technical one, which is it underestimated the killing part of counterinsurgency and particularly what Stan McChrystal and his merry men were doing [with special operations]. I think that is a large part of our counterinsurgency success. We killed a lot of the people who needed to be killed, or captured them, and that's not something you want to talk about. You'd rather talk about building power plants and stuff, but the killing part was really important, and I think we have to wrestle with that one because it's obviously problematic.

Does that sound like it's helping?  Does Barack Obama's Drone War help?  As Cedric and Wally noted this morning, the chorus against The Drone War just added a choir.  Dan Merica (CNN) reports priests, rabbis and reverends have made a "video [which] criticizes the Obama administration, stating that the use of war does not follow Just War Theory, which has Roman and Catholic influences.  The theory includes criteria that legitimize war, including ensuring that war is a last resort and that it is being carried out with the right intentions. According to the religious leaders in the video, titled “Drones and Religion,” the drone program fails to meet several of these criteria."  The group is known as Brave New Foundation and they note:

Brave New Foundation has the honor of releasing a video to accompany a seminal report by human rights law experts at Stanford and New York University law schools. The report, entitled Living Under Drones presents chilling first-hand testimony from Pakistani civilians on the humanitarian and security costs of escalating drone attacks by the United States. The report uncovers civilian deaths, and shocking psychological and social damage to whole families and communities – where people are literally scared to leave their homes because of drones flying overhead 24 hours a day.
The report is based on nine months of research, including two investigations in Pakistan. The Stanford-NYU research team interviewed over 130 individuals, including civilians who traveled out of the largely inaccessible region of North Waziristan to meet with the researchers. They also interviewed medical doctors who treated strike victims, and humanitarian and journalist professionals who worked in drone impacted areas.
As U.S. citizens, we feel a responsibility to know the real impact of the policies of our government. We hope you will join us at to be part of this fight for a more humane and just world.

Dan Merica (CNN) notes, "The video criticizes the Obama administration, stating that the use of war does not follow Just War Theory, which has Roman and Catholic influences.  The theory includes criteria that legitimize war, including ensuring that war is a last resort and that it is being carried out with the right intentions."  Bully Boy Bush said Just War Theory didn't matter when it declared illegal war on Iraq.  That's why Pope John Paul II made clear the war was illegal January 13, 2003 (two months before it broke out) with remarks which included:

War is not always inevitable.  It is always a defeat for humanity.  And what are we to say of the threat of a war which could strike the people of Iraq, the land of the prophets, a people already sorely tried by more than 12 years of embargo?  War is never just another means that one can choose to employ for settling differences between nations.

"War is not always inevitable," declared Pope John Paul II but Haider Ali Hussein Mullick insists that counter-insurgency can't be wished away?  The conceptual limitations of him and his ilk ensure that war will continue.  As Pope John Paul II also noted in that speech, "Yet everything can change.  It depends on each of us.  Everyone can develop withing himself his potential for faith, for honesty, for respect of others and for commitment to the service of others."

And we can make a change -- even the Haider Ali Hussein Mullicks -- if we can be honest with ourselves. 

Lt Dan Choi knows about honesty.  Speaking to Adam Kokesh on Adam vs. the Man last week,  he explained serving under Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

Dan Choi:  Don't Ask, Don't Tell was a violation of the Constitution, I thought.   But it prevented me from telling the truth about who I was even though the West Point honor code said, "You will not lie or tolerate those who do."  And I never really thought that it was a lying issue, I never really thought that it was an honor or integrity issue because I said, "This is the rule, this is what I signed up for, I knew that was part of the contract."  And it wasn't until I fell in love for the very first time -- I was 26-years-old.  And I never had a girlfriend.  Never had a boyfriend.  Never expressed love.  Never felt that somebody else was that important to me, that would be more important to me than myself.  And when I did fall in love, and I had come back from Iraq, that's when I realized that it really was lying.  When you have to lie about the person that supports you no matter what, when you put them in the closet, it then became an intensely selfish thing, Don't Ask, Don't Tell.  And I know a lot of soldiers are out there, and I used to think the same way, that it's a very noble thing to suffer.  That's a very common soldier-military mentality.  And then I realized because you're forcing someone else to go into nonexistence for your own career, or for your own status or paycheck or rank, that's not anything that I signed up for.  I never got promised that I would be a one-star general, four-star general. That's not what service was about.  So I looked down the barrel of possibly of giving up everything in order to live a life of real truth.  And it was because of love that I found out what the honor code really meant.

In March 2009, Dan went on MSNBC and came out publicly.  He also became active in demanding US President Barack Obama honor the campaign promise he made to overturn Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Getting active meant speaking out and taking part in protests.  In 2010, that meant three times chaining himself to the White House fence.  That's what he was on trial for today.  August 31, 2011, Dan was appearing before Judge John Facciola who put the case on hold after, as Jessica Gressko (AP) reported, noting "Choi has shown, at least preliminary, that he is being treated differently because of the subject of his protests, the nature of his speech or what he said."

Dan's case was much weaker today as a result of a decision another judge made.  Ann E. Marinow (Washington Post) notes, "But Chief Judge Royce C. Lamberth ruled that the magistrate judge could not consider the issue of how Choi came to be prosecuted in reaching a verdict."  Why he was being prosecuted wasn't an issue?  What a sad day for justice.

RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
"Saleh al-Mutlaq: Maybe less popular than Nouri"
"Dan Choi's trial resumes in DC after 2 years"
"What they will make a pregnant woman do"
"Channing Tatum and spoiled Hamm"
"The banks, Obamacare"
"nobody likes matt lauer anymore"
"Sleazy John Edwards just got sleazier"
"TNR fluffs for MSNBC"
"NBC advises . . ."
"The New Normal"
"Don't mess with his drones or his manicure"

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