Obama’s Hiroshima Speech Was Lovely, Frustrating, and Infuriating

11796415_934981119876529_3032773539452310147_nPresident Obama’s #apology tour keeps a-rollin’ on, am I right? No, hang on.

As unforgivable as Obama has been on foreign policy in myriad ways — and how much worse, perhaps, a Clinton or any Republican ever might be with the help of Obama’s drone precedents — there is something about him which almost looks like better than it could be. At least in certain lights. That is to say, Obama kills people, but he also occasionally appears to notice that the US has made foreign policy mistakes. This is what the hawks and right-wingers dub the apology tour, even though “sorry” never crosses the president’s lips when he’s discussing the heavy handed US response to 9/11, or admitting America’s role in the 1953 coup in Iran.

Obama is the first sitting president to visit Hiroshima. The opening act for his visit to the site of the first nuclear bomb ever dropped on human beings was Secretary of State John Kerry, who went last month. Kerry’s delicate acknowledgement that the bombing was a tragedy gave conservatives a case of indigestion. Obama’s Friday speech may make them lose their minds entirely. Continue reading “Obama’s Hiroshima Speech Was Lovely, Frustrating, and Infuriating”

NSA Surveillance and Our “Almost Orwellian” State

Directly lifted from the Electronic Frontier Foundation blog:

January 23, 2014 – 7:30pm
Berkeley, CA
Join us for “NSA Surveillance and Our ‘Almost Orwellian’ State,” hosted by St. John’s Presbyterian Church on Thursday, January 23, 2014.

St. John’s Presbyterian Church, 2727 College Avenue, Berkeley, CA

The event is open to the public. A donation will be requested, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. Proceeds will benefit the Bill of Rights Defense Committee and the Freedom of the Press Foundation.
Continue reading “NSA Surveillance and Our “Almost Orwellian” State”

New UN Report Highlights How US Drone Policy Violates International Law

The United Nations General Assembly just released the latest Report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. The report is necessary, in part, because “There is… a notable lack of consensus on how to apply the rules of international law that regulate the use of force to drones.”

The report provides a framework to help states ensure their fatal drone strikes are conducted in line with existing international law. Evaluating US drone strike policy in light of these recommendations, it is clear that the United States is not currently in line with international law concerning targeted killings, first and foremost regarding transparency.
Continue reading “New UN Report Highlights How US Drone Policy Violates International Law”

Obama Might Unwittingly Lead U.S. to a Decade of Peace

President Obama might have already achieved more for peace and stability in the Middle East than he is actually aware. The public debate on the Syrian Civil War and a possible U.S. strike on the Assad regime has shown that public opinion strongly favors non-interventionism to the neo-conservativism of recent history. More than a decade of warfare and U.S.-led interventions in the Middle East have illustrated that the use of U.S. military in troubled areas does not necessarily lead to stability and peace.

After a bloody decade-long occupation of multiple countries in the Middle East, the emergence of new terrorist groups, and the disaster in Benghazi, two lessons from the past ten years should be that we aren’t able to predict the unintended consequences of war and that “limited” military campaigns rarely actually come with limits.
Continue reading “Obama Might Unwittingly Lead U.S. to a Decade of Peace”

Why “we” REALLY nuked both Hiroshima & Nagasaki. In just 3 days.

OLIVER STONE: … Every school kid — still, my daughter in her school, in private school, in good school, is still learning this: We dropped the bomb because we had to, because the Japanese resistance was fanatic, and we would have lost many American lives taking Japan. This is one — there’s no alternative to that story.   Oliver Stone on the Untold U.S. History from the Atomic Age to Vietnam to Obama’s Drone Wars | Democracy Now!

Here’s the alternative — a part of the truth that should be taught in good, honest, schools:

At 8:16 on the morning of August 6, 1945, the world got a glimpse of its own mortality. At that moment, the city of Hiroshima was obliterated by a fireball that sent waves of searing heat, then a deafening concussion, across the landscape. Three days later, a second bomb hit Nagasaki. … [President Dwight D.] Eisenhower said in 1963 “It wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing.”

… Besides the Manhattan Project’s internal momentum was an external motive. Its leaders had to justify the $2 billion ($26 billion in today’s dollars) expense to Congress and the public… Byrnes…warned Roosevelt that political scandal would follow if it [the atomic bomb] was not used. … “How would you get Congress to appropriate money for atomic energy research [after the war] if you do not show results for the money which has been spent already?” …the U.S. had produced two types of bombs–one using uranium, the other plutonium. Whenever anyone suggested that the moment the bomb was dropped the war would be over, [bureaucrat] Groves countered, “Not until we drop two bombs on Japan.” As [historian] Goldberg explains… “One bomb justified Oak Ridge, the second justified Hanford.” Hiroshima was hit with the uranium bomb, nicknamed “Little Boy”; the plutonium bomb, “Fat Man,” was used against Nagasaki.

From Why We Dropped The Bomb By William Lanouette, CIVILIZATION, The Magazine of the Library of Congress, January/February 1995

It’s hard for Americans who identify with the U.S. Government to accept the idea that that organization could have engaged in such horrendous acts – twice in three days – without pristine motives. Here’s what Vietnam era U.S. Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara – who was part of Gen. Curtis LeMay’s command when the bombs were dropped – thought about it: McNamara: “He, [General Curtis LeMay] and I’d say I, were behaving as war criminals.

Boy on dad's lap asks which terrorist group gets credit for nuking Hiroshima

As far as war criminals go, unfortunately we still have them.