"Obama Leaves Door Open to Long-Term U.S. Afghan Combat" (Gareth Porter, Dissident Voice):
President Barack Obama’s speech announcing that the 33,000 “surge” troops in Afghanistan will be withdrawn by “summer” 2012 indicates that he has given priority to the interests of the military and the Pentagon over concerns by key officials in his administration over the impact of the war’s costs on domestic socio-economic needs.
And in a section of the speech that must be interpreted in the context of his past policy decisions on Iraq, Obama appeared to support the desire of Defence Secretary Robert Gates and General David Petraeus to keep a substantial number of combat troops in Afghanistan beyond the publicly announced “transition” in 2014.
Gates and Petraeus got most of what they wanted from Obama in regard to the withdrawal of the “surge” troops.
Petraeus had argued that he needed two more full “fighting seasons” with the bulk of the surge troops still remaining in the country to wear down the Taliban before the start of the “transition” in 2014, according to a report in The Guardian.
Barack is just a joke. There's no reason to take him seriously. He has no spine and he came into office bragging about Ronald Reagan. There's nothing with admiring Reagan as an actor, regardless of your political affiliation. But if you're admiring him as a politician, you really need to be a Republican.
What the US really needs is a president who can say no to war. More and more, I doubt that I will see that in my lifetime.
That doesn't mean that I accept our never ending, perpetual state of war as normal. Nor does it mean that I will stop protesting. It just means that I am not going to have any false expectations.
I may have a lot less hope than I used to. If so, that's because I never expected that all those people I was shoulder-to-shoulder with at various protests to decide it was better not to say anything, that it was better to be silent. I don't have a lot of faith or trust in strangers or even people I know fairly well. I've seen far too many whore themselves out for Barack Obama.
I've also seen that people you can count on are the ones you can count on. In the most generic manner, I will note that the many veterans I work with are all giving more than you'd think anyone could. They give to their fellow veterans and they still make time to try to raise awareness with non-veterans. Or I see C.I. working herself to the very end, going without rest that she needs and should be getting to keep putting the issue of the wars out in front of students and other groups.
Or take a look at Cindy Sheehan. She's given everything to the peace movement, even risking her own health. I look at people like that, and I know a few, and think of all the ones who used to speak out against the wars but now praise Barack. I think about how the wars might be over if those that walked away hadn't.
"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Each Monday morning (except during pledge drives), the latest Law and Disorder Radio airs on WBAI and around the country on various radio stations throughout the week. Attorneys Heidi Boghosian, Michael S. Smith and Michael Ratner (Center for Constitutional Rights are the co-hosts of the program. On this week's program, Michael Ratner spoke with former FBI agent and now an attorney Mike German about the war on dissent in this country. Michael Ratner has teamed with Margaret Ratner Kunstler for the new book Hell No, Your Right To Dissent. And until it's August 9th release by the New Press, you can read the column that Michael Ratner and Margaret Ratner Kunstler have written (The Progressive) about the current war on protest and dissent in the US. Excerpt:
President Obama campaigned on protecting our civil liberties, so you might have expected his attorney general, Eric Holder, to provide people with greater protections from FBI snoops. But he has not. And it is about to get even worse.
The new Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide will empower the FBI to dispatch surveillance teams, to follow targets, to dig through trash, to search commercial databases and to expand the use of informants to infiltrate a wide range of organizations.
If you are part of a group that disagrees with government policy in Iraq or Afghanistan, or that dislikes nuclear energy, the next time you throw out your trash, an FBI agent may be examining it a few hours later -- from what you eat to what you buy to what you read and think.
The next time you attend a meeting to fight for better schools, protest drug testing on animals or criticize almost any aspect of government policy, the person next to you may be an informant, recording everything you say. Or perhaps the informant will participate in the meeting, steering the organization's activities in ways the government wishes.
It is now almost ten years after 9/11, the event that frightened many into giving the FBI broad spying authority -- authority that now threatens the very essence of democracy. Piece by piece, the constitutional protections for dissent are disappearing.