Antiwar.com’s Week in Review | October 8, 2011
Congratulations to Kelley B. Vlahos! Her column on Foreign Service officer Peter Van Buren was quoted in this morning’s New York Times.
IN THIS ISSUE
- Ten years in Afghanistan
- Ongoing war in Libya
- Immunity for U.S. occupying forces in Iraq
- Iran proposes nuclear deal
- Drone wars and death panels
- Assorted news from the empire
- What’s new at the blog?
- Antiwar Radio
10 Years of Useless War
With the 10-year anniversary of the war in Afghanistan, little discernible gain has been made. Statements from top military officials that the war is likely to extend far beyond the 2014 deadline have led some to question how much longer the U.S. can hold out in an increasingly violent insurgency that costs $12 million per hour. Recent polling says that most Iraq and Afghan war veterans say the wars were not worth it, and over 60 percent of Americans want immediate troop cuts in Afghanistan.
Diplomatic talks to find a political solution to the war have again failed, and this week saw the break up of an al-Qaeda-affiliated terror cell that was planning to strike New York and Washington, indicating a growing threat of blowback from America’s decade of terror there.
Rebel forces in Libya are still mounting attacks against the resistant city of Sirte, where rebels say a new government will be introduced if and when Sirte is conquered. Meanwhile, in the city of Misrata, rebel groups are burning and looting villages.
Other problems still persist. NATO announced that there are at least 10,000 lost missiles in Libya, which are a continuing threat to civil aviation. NATO has also refused to investigate the numerous incidents of civilian casualties that occurred as a result of its bombing, often denying any such incidents took place. Ominously, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said publicly that there was no clear end to U.S. involvement in Libya and that there was a broad consensus about the continuation of war.
U.S. Occupation of Iraq Immune to Law
As many as 20 people were massacred this week when uniformed gunmen and suicide bombers attacked a government complex in al-Baghdadi, in Anbar province, a troubling sign that violence will continue in what now seems to be the forgotten war.
After the Maliki administration reached a deal with the U.S. about keeping trainers and a heavy diplomatic presence in Iraq past the December deadline for withdrawal – without the consent of parliament – it demanded that U.S. soldiers not be immune from Iraqi law. U.S. officials struck back, much as they did when pressuring Maliki to agree to extend the U.S. military presence, by demanding immunity.
U.S. Rejectionism, Iranian Diplomacy
The Iranian government has proposed – again – to swap low-enriched uranium for fuel rods to use in the Tehran Research Reactor, which produces medical isotopes. The deal, abandoned by the U.S. in 2009 after Iran agreed to it, would safeguard against fears of Iran’s nuclear enrichment being used for military purposes. To sweeten the deal, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reiterated that the Iranian government is willing to immediately stop all production of 20-percent enriched uranium if the U.S. agrees to the deal.
Drone Wars and Death Panels
Reports this week confirmed that the Predator drone that killed U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen was launched from one of the new secret drone bases recently constructed by the Obama administration, demonstrating their utility in the oncoming revolution into remote-control-dominated warfare. After the successfully attack, the U.S. relationship with embattled Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh took a sudden turn for the better, as calls for him to step down in the face of mass protests were swapped for words of praise.
A number of top Obama administration officials announced this week that there is a "secret panel" that can order American citizens assassinated with no judicial oversight. Unfortunately, this doesn’t make legal the stripping of due process rights from U.S. citizens.
Assorted news from the empire
- A Bahraini princess has been accused of directing systematic torture of detained protesters, as even more activists are being sentenced to prison for free speech.
- Saudi security forces opened fire on "seditious" protesters, blaming the incitement on a foreign power.
- A deadly suicide attack against government offices killed at least 70 people in Mogadishu on Tuesday.
- Secretary of State Hilary Clinton vowed U.S. action against Nigerian-based terror group Boko Haram.
- Hundreds of antiwar, anti-corporatism activists gathered in Washington, D.C., in an attempt to stage their own "Tahrir Square."
What’s New at the Blog?
Matt Barganier mocked the official language used to justify government outlawry, corrected a common distortion of the blowback concept, and discussed blind support of Obama. Brian Beyer noted the deteriorating tensions between the U.S. and Pakistan and warned of the potential ugly results. Eric Garris noted Veterans for Peace’s rejection of Obama’s assassination policy. Kelley Vlahos pointed out Pew’s bias in calling veteran opposition to war "isolationist." John Glaser explained how sanctions are illegitimate and ineffective, how Obama wanted to avoid the inconvenience of affording Awlaki his rights, and how Panetta’s visit with Egyptian military rulers is an illustration of continuing U.S. domination there. He also noted the torture we’ll never get to see at Guantanamo Bay.
Justin Raimondo wrote about Anwar al-Awlaki and Obama’s secret death panel. Philip Giraldi warned about the troubles facing America in the near future if we don’t right the ship of state. Ivan Eland described America’s illusory terrorist threat. Kelley Vlahos wrote about Peter Van Buren, the Foreign Service officer under fire for citing WikiLeaks diplomatic cables, and his new book.
Scott Horton spoke to Ivan Eland about Awlaki’s assassination. Pepe Escobar discussed the Syrian rebellion, Af-Pak, and al-Qaeda. Peter Van Buren discussed the pathetic "rebuilding" of post-invasion Iraq. Ray McGovern talked about Iran’s nonexistent weapons program and the Israeli influence on the Iran debate. Jason Ditz explained the U.S. rejection of Iranian diplomacy on nuclear enrichment. John Feffer discussed North Korea’s slowly changing status as rogue state.
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.
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