Antiwar.com’s Week in Review | September 23, 2011
Help us meet our fundraising goal! Help keep the War Party at bay and make a tax-deductible donation today!
Don’t forget to sign the open letter to Obama and Congress to end the wars: ComeHomeAmerica.us
IN THIS ISSUE
- Empire of Drones
- Palestine’s bid for statehood
- Accusing Pakistan of Terrorism
- Libyan War Extended, Again
- Iraq’s Elusive SOFA
- The Afghan Quagmire
- Saleh Returns to Yemen
- What’s New at the Blog?
- Antiwar Radio
America’s Mechanized Imperialism:
"The Obama administration has found a good way to avoid both the domestic political and international fallout that comes of waging constant warfare: let machines do the dirty work," wrote Justin Raimondo in this week’s column. The Obama administration has ramped up construction of military bases from which to launch an expanded drone program. "From Ethiopia and Djibouti, to a ‘reaper’ base in the Seychelles, US officials say they are hoping to get broad coverage across Africa and the Middle East," wrote Jason Ditz. Broad legal interpretations are being employed to apply the targeting standards used in Afghanistan and Pakistan – hot war zones – for use in Yemen, Somalia, and beyond. The administration has already tried to make a distinction between engaging in war and utilizing deadly drones, which have become so ubiquitous in foreign policy that it is even carrying over into the domestic. Now police departments in Miami, Utah, and elsewhere have sought licenses to operate surveillance drones, making the legal questions ever more endemic.
Justin Raimondo appeared on the Fox Business show Freedom Watch with Judge Napolitano to discuss what he calls "mechanized imperialism."
Palestine’s Bid Hasn’t Changed US-Israel Aggression:
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas made his long-awaited speech to the United Nations and officially submitted a request for full statehood, marking a potential shift in responsibility for negotiating peace from US-Israeli-directed talks to international cooperation. Still, both President Obama and Isaeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made speeches condemning the move. As an illustration of the bias of the United States – the supposedly neutral arbiter – news surfaced this week of President Obama secretly sold 55 GBU-28 bunker-buster bombs to the Israeli military in 2009 for a possible strike against Iran.
Terrorism Versus Counter-Terrorism:
The United States this week has repeatedly accused the Pakistani government of protecting and having ties with the Haqqani terrorist network based out of North Waziristan and executing insurgent attacks against US forces in Afghanistan. Pakistani officials denied the allegations and even warned the US could lose an ally if condemnations kept up. Criticizing the Pakistanis for supporting the Haqqanis in a proxy war is blatantly hypocritical, as the US does the very same thing in Afghanistan.
John Glaser appeared on RT News to discuss how the US is criticizing the Pakistanis for supporting terrorism, while calling their own similar policies counter-terrorism.
Libyan War Extended, Again:
NATO officially extended direct involvement in the Libyan war for another 90 days this week. As the joint NATO-rebel siege of the last remaining pro-Gadhafi cities continues, a Gadhafi spokesman claimed that over 150 civilians were killed in Sirte this week by NATO airstrikes, with overall conditions there deteriorating into a humanitarian crisis. Meanwhile, the rebel National Transitional Council tried to counter growingconcerns about their ability to govern by promising to craft a compact crisis government as quickly as possible.
Building a New Dictatorship:
Admiral Mike Mullen said this week that US troop levels in Iraq would be down to 30,000 by the end of September, although they are not expected to make the December deadline for a full withdrawal. The Maliki government has been actually keeping negotiations with the US over remaining troop levels secret from the Iraqi Parliament. In fact, high profile Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr angrily condemned Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and accusing him of "building a new dictatorship."
Shot in the Foot in the Afghan Quagmire:
Five NATO troops were killed this Friday across Afghanistan, as violence levels maintain their record highs. Former Afghan president and peace negotiator for President Karzai was assassinated this week by a suicide bomber, in the latest of a series of high profile assassinations by the insurgency. An extensive report by the Open Society Foundation claimed that the US kill/capture policy of continuously raiding Afghan homes has fueled resentment and undermined the mission to quell the insurgency.
Saleh Returns, Violence Increases:
Violence is dramatically rising across Yemen as intense clashes occur between anti-government protesters and US-supported Yemeni security forces. Meanwhile, US drones are bombing the country allegedly killing al Qaeda affiliates. President Saleh made a shocking return to his country this week, reclaiming his leadership role and solidifying his power despite calls to step down. An initial call for a ceasefire was quickly broken, with dozens killed in more clashes.
Assorted news from the empire:
- Defense Secretary Leon Panetta again scolded lawmakers on defense spending, sternly warning against any deep cuts.
- US Energy Secretary Steven Chu condemned Iran as deceitful for relocating some of its civilian uranium enrichment facilities into an underground bunker, thus making them harder to bomb.
- A Guatemalan General accused of committing over 600 massacres is set to face trial soon for crimes he committed while receiving US support.
- Mexican drug cartels are escalating violence in the region as the US stubbornly insists on bolstering their power through the same old drug war policies.
What’s new on the blog?
Matt Barganier criticized the liberal establishment’s twisted moral vision, argued for a complete US withdrawal from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and exposed Vice President Joe Biden’s flip flop to war hawk. Brian Beyer explained America’s new imperial adventures in Africa. John Glaser blogged about the right’s mischaractization of the Palestinian leadership, the neoconservative effort to occupy Iraq indefinitely, the Obama administration’s political play on Gitmo, Yemen’s unrest and Saleh’s return, the constellation of drone bases in the Middle East and North Africa, America’s political prisoners, and US support for the brutal Bahraini dictatorship.
Justin Raimondo wrote on the stepped-up drone war and Rick Perry’s faith-based pro-Israel foreign policy. Nebojsa Malic deconstructed Obama’s speech at the United Nations. Philip Giraldi explained how a US veto of a Palestinian state would be against the interests of the American people. Ivan Eland similarly warned that unconditional support for Israel encourages bad behavior. Kelley B. Vlahos wrote about the US’s cruel proxy militia in Afghanistan.
Scott Horton interviewed Pepe Escobar about western imperial games in Libya. Charles Goyette discussed the crumbling economy of Pax Americana. Robert Pape and Adam Lankford debated the root causes of suicide terrorism. Jeremy Sapienza put forth the antiwar take on the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Sheldon Richman offered his thoughts on the Palestinian statehood bid. And Philip Giraldi explained how Israel is still pushing the US toward war with Iran.
Angela Keaton will discuss ComeHomeAmerica.us and the new peace movement in a breakout event at this year’s Libertopia in San Diego, Oct. 21-23. Libertopia is an annual festival of peace, freedom, music, community, and ideas that will change the world. Keaton will give a 30-minute speech and a 15-minute Q&A at 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 21.