Daniel Ellsberg is a former U.S. military analyst employed by the RAND Corporation who precipitated a national uproar in 1971 when he released the Pentagon Papers, the U.S. military’s account of activities during the Vietnam War, to The New York Times. Ellsberg has continued as a political activist, giving lecture tours and speaking out about current events, and as an author of critically important books, and as a guest on this program and many others. Dan Ellsberg has recently published with Norman Solomon an article in The Nation magazine titled “To Avoid Armageddon, Don’t Modernize Missiles—Eliminate Them.”
When you imagine ending a war, do you imagine the U.S. President lamenting the human cost of the war’s financial expense while simultaneously demanding that Congress increase military spending – and while mentioning new wars that could potentially be launched?
Do you picture him blowing up families with missiles from robot airplanes, and committing to continuing those “strikes” while maintaining that such things don’t constitute continuing the war?
Did you hope that if the wars for freedom ever ended we might get our freedoms back, our rights to demonstrate restored, the Patriot Act repealed, the local police rid of their tanks and war weapons, the landscape stripped of all the cameras and metal detectors and bulletproof glass that have grown up for two decades?
Did you imagine the people in Guantanamo cages who were never on a “battlefield” would no longer be viewed as threats to “return” there once the war was “ended”?
In recent months, we’ve seen efforts to repeal some but not other AUMFs (Authorizations for the Use of Military Force), plus talk of creating a new AUMF (why?!). And for years we’ve watched people like Senator Kaine talk about reclaiming Congressional war powers while pushing legislation to eviscerate them. So, I thought I had reason to worry.
I heard about this new legislation before it appeared from people concerned that it was not going to address the power to impose illegal and deadly sanctions on nations around the world. I thought that was a serious concern. And it turns out to have been well justified, as the bill does not say one word about sanctions. But I was wary of focusing on promoting that improvement to a bill that nobody would show me or tell me what else was in it. Not much point in perfecting a catastrophically bad bill, you know?
Now, to be clear, this bill is not the arrival of peace, sanity, and disarmament. It does not recognize that wars are illegal under the UN Charter, the Kellogg-Briand Pact, and various other treaties, and prosecutable by the International Criminal Court. It treats perfectly seriously the question of which branch of government should authorize the worst crime there is, in a manner that would never be applied to, say, Congressional Rape Powers or Congressional Child Abuse Powers.
This week on Talk World Radio: Why won’t disproven Russiagate ever go away? Our guest Ray McGovern was an infantry/intelligence officer in the early Sixties, and became a CIA analyst. His duties eventually included chairing National Intelligence Estimates and preparing The President’s Daily Brief. He conducted the one-on-one morning briefings of President Reagan’s five most senior national security officials, including VP Bush, from 1981 to 1985. In retirement Ray co-founded Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) — an attempt by intelligence veterans to hold former colleagues to account for “fixing” intelligence to “justify” wars like Iraq. His website is https://RayMcGovern.com.
This Week on Talk World Radio, it’s time to end the terrorism-generating war on terrorism. Our guest is Scott Horton. Scott Horton is the director of the Libertarian Institute, editorial director of Antiwar.com, host of Antiwar Radio on KPFK 90.7 FM in Los Angeles, and author of Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan, and of the new book we’ll be mostly discussing Enough Already: Time to End the War on Terrorism.
More information and sources for the podcast here.
The USA Today, drawing on the work of the Cost of War Project, Quincy Institute, David Vine, William Hartung, and others, has gone beyond the limits of every other big corporate U.S. media outlet, and beyond what any member of the US Congress has done, in a big new series of articles on wars, bases, and militarism.
There are significant shortcomings, some of them (such as absurdly low estimates of deaths and financial costs) originating with the Cost of War Project. But the overall achievement is — I hope — groundbreaking.