Rep. John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-TN), who will retire in January after 30 years in the United States House of Representatives, is the subject of a new biographical feature article at the Knoxville News Sentinel. Included with the article is video of an interview with Duncan in which he describes how he developed “into sort of an antiwar Republican” in the process of examining US military actions in Iraq and experiencing pressure from successive presidential administrations to support that intervention and its escalation.
After having voted in the House to authorize the Gulf War in 1991, Duncan explains that watching the ensuing US invasion of Iraq led him to realize that the war had been promoted based on false information. In particular, Duncan mentions being told before the vote about “all these elite troops” in Iraq under the control of Iraq President Saddam Hussein, who was made to “sound like another Hitler.” “And then,” says Duncan, “I saw those same ‘elite troops’ surrendering to CNN camera crews and empty tanks, and I decided then that the threat had been greatly exaggerated.”
Moving forward five or six years, Duncan relates that his questioning of the propriety of US military action in Iraq increased during the years of US bombing that took place between the Gulf War and later Iraq War due to reading reports, including one detailing that “one of our bombs had gone astray and killed I think it was seven little boys who were playing soccer in a field in Iraq, and it described this horrible anguish of this father whose little boy had had his head blown off.”
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A peace deal will not be concluded among the United States, North Korea, and South Korea in the next three to five years predicts Lawrence Wilkerson, a College of William & Mary professor and the former chief of staff for Secretary of State Colin Powell, in a recent interview with host Aaron Maté at The Real News.
Wilkerson points to “irreconcilable elements” as supporting his conclusion. These irreconcilable elements, says Wilkerson, are “China’s interest in not having a unified Korea with US presence still there, the North’s interest in not surrendering all of its nuclear weapons capability, the South’s interest ultimately in – if it is a unified peninsula – having those nuclear weapons itself, and, ultimately, both Koreas – were they to be united – wanting themselves to kick the United States presence off the peninsula.”
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Interviewed Tuesday by host Sharmini Peries at The Real News, Lawrence Wilkerson, a College of William & Mary professor and former chief of staff for United States Secretary of State Colin Powell, warned that “the neoconservative agenda” for an escalated United States war on Syria followed by war on Iran has had a “resurrection” in President Donald Trump’s administration.
Regarding talk about the US taking military action in Syria in response to potential allegations of the use of chemical weapons – false flag or otherwise – in the country, Wilkerson comments that the war advocates are “looking for every excuse, any excuse, all excuses, to reopen US operations, major U.S. operations, against [President Bashar al-Assad] in Syria, always realizing that the ultimate target is Tehran.” Tehran is the capital of Iran.
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President Donald Trump says he wants to improve relations between the United States and Russia, and he met in July with Russia President Vladimir Putin largely in a purported effort to move toward this goal. Yet, the Trump administration continues to send more US troops and military equipment to along the Russia border, including in Norway. Around 300 US Marines were deployed to Norway in the final days of the Barack Obama administration. Then, last week, Reuters reported that the Trump administration will soon more than double to 700 the number of Marines in Norway and that some Marines will be stationed closer than before to Norway’s border with Russia.
The plans, the Reuters article notes, “triggered a sharp reaction from Moscow, which called the plans ‘clearly unfriendly’.” No doubt. As peace advocate and three-time presidential candidate Ron Paul has often commented, Americans would be quite perturbed if Russia, China, or some other nation started massing military forces across the border in Mexico or in the Gulf of Mexico. Why should Russians not be perturbed by the massing of US forces nearby in Europe – along with the successive introduction of European nations near Russia into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)?
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On Monday, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), joined by 14 fellow Democratic United States House of Representatives members, sent a letter to President Donald Trump supporting Trump pursuing diplomacy and “incremental progress” with North Korea. The letter also expresses concern about efforts toward peace being hindered by people – both Republican and Democrat, and both inside and outside the Trump administration – seeking “to scuttle progress by attempting to limit the parameters of the talks, including by insisting on full and immediate denuclearization or other unrealistic commitments by North Korea at an early date.”
The Khanna letter contrasts with a letter seven US Senate Democrats sent Trump last week that argues several major North Korean concessions should be required in any deal. The signers of that earlier letter include two top Democratic leaders in the Senate – Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) – as well as Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Bob Menendez (D-NJ).
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George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley, at a Wednesday hearing of Sen. Rand Paul’s Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Federal Spending Oversight and Emergency Management, presented written testimony arguing that a proposed authorization for use of military force (AUMF) sponsored by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-TN) (S.J.Res 59) “would literally put our endless war on autopilot.”
In his written testimony, Turley argues the proposed AUMF is the next step in Congress’ abdication of its constitutional responsibility over war after “decades of concerted effort by Congress to evade the responsibility for the most important decisions committed to it by the Framers” of the US Constitution, resulting in the US being “engaged in indefinite, undeclared war – the very menace that the Framers sought to prevent with express constitutional language requiring congressional declarations of war.”
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