Sen. Rubio (R-FL) traveled down to the Colombia/Venezuela border over the weekend to threaten a US invasion of Venezuela if a US “aid” convoy is not allowed to cross the bridge. Rubio’s sudden concern for the humanitarian situation in Venezuela smacks of hypocrisy, as he supported all US sanctions that have made life for Venezuelans miserable. This is “regime change” masking as humanitarian concern. Will the neocons succeed? On today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report:
In his work opposing United States wars overseas, Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), before his death Sunday, put much effort into seeking a repeal of the 2001 authorization for use of military force (AUMF) that has been used by successive presidents as a basis for intervention and war across the world in the name of fighting terrorism. In the week before Jones’ death, Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA) introduced the Walter B. Jones Restoring Power to Congress Act (HR 966), with Jones as the original cosponsor, that would repeal that AUMF and thus eliminate a reason used for presidents to intervene overseas without particular congressional approval.
Garamendi spoke fondly of Jones in Garamendi’s press release announcing the introduction of the bill,:
‘Congress has a Constitutional responsibility to debate and declare war, and we have abdicated that responsibility for far too long,’ Garamendi stated. ‘That is why I am introducing this legislation to repeal the 2001 AUMF within one year of enactment, which would provide ample time to debate this important issue in Congress. I am also grateful to recognize the leadership of my dear friend, Walter Jones, who is currently in hospice care. Walter has championed this cause for years, I have worked with him closely on this issue in Congress. I am grateful for his wisdom, passion, and advocacy.’
In March of 2017, Jones and Garamendi spoke in-depth in a C-SPAN interview about their effort to end funding for the US government’s war in Afghanistan. You can read about and watch that interview here.
Democratic US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) set off a firestorm on Sunday with a one-line Tweet on a third rail topic. The aftermath continues four days later. Canadian philosopher and public intellectual Marshal McLuhan famously observed that “the medium is the message.” How is messaging changing with the advent of such radically different mediums? Is news/reality accelerating? Ludwig von Mises Institute President Jeff Deist joins the discussion…in today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report:
As a young captain in the Air Force, I visited Los Alamos National Lab in 1992. The mood there was grim. What use for a lab that develops and tests nuclear weapons when the Cold War with the Soviet Union was over and America was downsizing its nuclear forces? The people I talked to said the lab would have to reinvent itself; its nuclear physicists and engineers would have to adapt. Perhaps they might move to more commercial applications of technology. Better that than closing down the lab, they said.
Who knew that, 25+ years later, nuclear weapons would make their own “surge” and that the U.S. would plan to “invest” more than a trillion dollars in nuclear modernization, beginning with smaller, more “usable,” low-yield nuclear warheads for the Navy’s Trident missiles, as James Carroll wrote about yesterday at TomDispatch.com. Even “small” warheads have genocidal implications, however, for once you start launching nuclear-tipped missiles, no matter how “small,” escalation is likely to follow.
That sunny day in New Mexico in 1992, I could not have imagined a new American surge in nuclear weapons, beginning with the Obama administration and now championed by men like Donald Trump, Mike Pompeo, and John Bolton. That day, it seemed the end of the era of MAD – mutually assured destruction – the end to fears of nuclear war. Soon even conservatives like Henry Kissinger and George Schultz were calling for the elimination of nuclear weapons.
Hossein, a member of the Afghan Peace Volunteers, (APV), which hosted my recent visit to Afghanistan, rolled up his sleeve to show me a still-healing three-inch wound. Thieves had broken into his family home in Kabul. When they were discovered, one of the robbers stabbed Hossein.
An APV coordinator, Zekerullah, was robbed and beaten by assailants in broad daylight. Ata Khan lost his camera and mobile phone to a gang of young thieves who accosted him and eight other people in a public park during the daytime. Habib, a recent young graduate of the APV Street Kids School program, suffered blows from several attackers a month ago.
“I didn’t have anything they wanted to take,” he said, assuring me he is OK even though his lower back, where they beat him, is still sore.
Attacks like these – which all happened within the last six months – are predictable in a chaotic war-torn city that absorbs new refugees every day. Some have been forced off their land by drought and food scarcity, while others flee the terror of violence carried out by various warring parties, including the United States. In 2018, the United States dropped 7,632 bombs on Afghanistan, more than any other full calendar year since the U.S. Air Force began documenting its attacks in 2006.
When do humans count in drone warfare, and when do they not?
I thought of this question as I read Christopher Fuller’s “See It/Shoot It: The Secret History of the CIA’s Lethal Drone Program.” Revealingly, U.S. pilots and crews who operate these drones, such as Predators and Reapers, reject the terminology of “drones” and UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) or UAS (unmanned aerial system). They prefer the term RPA, or remotely piloted aircraft. They want to be known as the essential humans in the loop, they want to stand out, they want to count for something, and in fact the Department of Defense at various times has suggested a new “drone medal” to recognize their service.
Whereas American pilots want to stand up and be recognized as the pilots of their “remote aircraft,” the Pentagon doesn’t want to think about the targets of these drones as human beings. Civilian casualties are grouped and shrouded under the term “collateral damage,” a nasty euphemism that combines a banking term (collateral) with the concept of damage that hints at reversibility and repair. But collateral damage really means innocents blown up and blasted by missiles. Shouldn’t these humans count?