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America Doesn’t Commit War Crimes it Commits Euphemisms
by beau Friday, Jun 17 2011, 10:10pm
international / social/political / opinion/analysis

Allow me to introduce myself, my name is very bad grammar and tortured English. I am American! Proud to call the loss of personal Freedom and Liberty, ‘Homeland Security;’ very proud to participate in the ‘Patriot Act’ and wave our blood-soaked star-spangled banner at every Illegal war we wage; prouder still to refer to the millions of civilians we have murdered in Korea, Indo-China, Central Asia and Africa, as ‘Collateral Damage;’ extremely proud of our legal system which maintains its integrity by allowing our agencies and military to ‘Waterboard’ instead of Torture; and very tolerant of strangers touching my genitals in order to ‘Keep me Safe.’ Perhaps I could sum it all up by simply stating we live in our own private asylum for the criminally insane called the United States of America!

The only people we are kidding is ourselves; our pathological denial allows us to pay scant regard to the REALITY that our actions have resulted in our nation achieving Pariah Status. The glaring fact that we have become such vile, reprehensible CRIMINALS allows us to retreat further into delusional insanity and psychological isolationism. The course we have chosen guarantees a predictable outcome and ruinous future – ‘Home of the Slave, Land of the Flea;’ come, sing along with me:

Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

etcetera …

O, how the mighty have fallen!

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Obama: stop insulting us, we're at war!
by Stephen M. Walt via gan - Foreign Policy Friday, Jun 17 2011, 11:53pm

An accountant, a social scientist and a lawyer are seated in a room. A guy walks in and asks them: "how much is 2 + 2?" The accountant whips out a calculator, pencils and paper, scribbles for awhile, and then says: "The answer, sir, is 4." The social scientist grabs her laptop, fires it up a few minutes, and then says "Well, as you know this is not an exact science, but I can say with a 95% level of confidence that the answer is between 3 and 5."

The lawyer, meanwhile, gets up, looks under all the chairs, checks in the closet, opens the door to the room and looks both ways down the hall. Then he comes back, sidles up to the guy who asked the question, and whispers:

"I don't care. How much do you want it to be?"


I mention this because I learned that the Obama administration is claiming that it doesn't need congressional authorization for its Libyan intervention under the War Powers Act. Why? Because what we are doing doesn't amount to "full-blown" hostilities.

Oh, please. Let's start with the definition of "war" itself. The Oxford Dictionary defines it as "a state of armed conflict between different countries or different groups within a country." Now, let's see: what are we doing in Libya? What we know is that we've sent cruise missiles, and drones and U.S. aircraft to attack military targets in various places, including several attacks on Qaddafi's own compound. We are continuing to provide targeting information to our NATO allies, who are conducting additional raids on their own. Although U.S. ground troops are not present in force, it's a safe bet that U.S. special forces are operating in various places, probably helping provide some of that targeting info. And of course because the Obama administration isn't telling us everything that it's doing, we have no clear way of knowing exactly how involved we really are.

By any reasonable, common-sense standard, in short, we are at war. It doesn't matter that we aren't using our full strength to help the rebels or that other states are doing more than we are. The plain fact is that the United States is using its military forces and intelligence capabilities to attack Libyan forces. In plain English, we are killing (or helping to kill) Qaddafi loyalists (and occasionally innocent civilians), in an openly-acknowledged campaign to drive him from power. Sounds like war to me, and to anybody else who isn't being paid to find ways to evade or obscure reality.

Reasonable people can disagree about whether this war makes strategic sense or not. (I think not, but I can see the merits of the other side's case). They can also disagree about whether outside intervention was necessary to avert an anticipated "bloodbath" in Benghazi, or whether it was really a precipitous decision that may in the end make things worse. But let's not fall for the creative legal sophistry being offered up here. If Obama and his foreign policy team think this war (yes, war) is really in our interest, then they should make their case to the American people and their elected representatives and let the chips fall where they may. I don't have enormous respect for Congress (who could, these days?) but that's how a republic is supposed to operate. And let's not forget that Obama used to think so himself.

Postscript:
Lest readers think that I'm ticked off because I'm jet-lagged, or because my trip is not going well, let me just say that I'm feeling perfectly fine, the weather here in Dublin is sensational and my Irish hosts at the IIEA couldn't have been more gracious. I'm just disappointed, but not for the first time.

© 2011 The Slate Group, LLC

Pakistanis Protest Civilian Killng US Drone Attacks
by Rob Crilly via cam - Telegraph UK Monday, Jun 20 2011, 8:17am

The US has accelerated the rate of attacks in Pakistan's tribal belt since Barack Obama came to power, but the secret programme is deeply unpopular among Pakistanis and blamed for hundreds of civilian deaths.

While more than 1900 insurgents have been killed by American drones since 2006, according to The Long War Journal, residents say they live in fear of getting caught up in the strikes.

"The drone attacks are targeting innocent people, innocent women and children," Malik Shahzada told about 1500 people gathered in Miranshah, the main town of North Waziristan, an area known to harbour terrorist gangs and militant fighters.

Residents declared a general strike and said they would attack Pakistani forces if the government did not the US strikes.

With Pakistan dragging its feet on a major ground offensive to clear the militant havens in North Waziristan and with the US unable to deploy troops, the drones are considered critical in seeking out and destroying bases used by the Haqqani network and other al-Qaeda-linked groups.

Baitullah Mehsud, leader of the Pakistan Taliban, was killed by a drone attack in 2009 and Ilyas Kashmiri, a senior al-Qaeda commander, is believed to have been killed this month even as he plotted attacks to avenge the death of Osama bin Laden.

US officials believe the success of the remote-controlled drones may allow a more rapid withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan But such is the sensitivity in Pakistan, that the US has agreed to keep the CIA programme secret in order not to embarrass the government in Islamabad.

Meanwhile the Pakistani government has repeatedly condemned the strikes in public, while privately telling the US it has the green light – an accommodation revealed in diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks last year.

Today the US and Pakistan relationship looks ever more fragile, and there are fresh calls to halt the drone strikes in order to reassert Pakistani sovereignty following the US raid to kill Osama bin Laden.

A senior Pakistani security source told The Daily Telegraph: "Drones are something that we cannot allow."

© 2011 Telegraph Media Group Limited

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