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07 April, 2009

Obama's Abomination

Obama condemns North Korea for launching a rocket, but it's OK for the U.S. to launch a bunch of drones and bomb poor people in Afghanistan and Pakistan and it's OK for Israel to bomb Gaza too!


Democrats and War Escalation

By Normal Solomon,

Top Democrats and many prominent supporters - with vocal agreement, tactical quibbles or total silence - are assisting the escalation of the US war effort in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The predictable results will include much more killing and destruction. Back home, on the political front, the escalation will drive deep wedges into the Democratic Party.

The party has a large antiwar base, and that base will grow wider and stronger among voters as the realities of the Obama war program become more evident. The current backing or acceptance of the escalation from liberal think tanks and some online activist groups will not be able to prevent the growth of opposition among key voting blocs.

In their eagerness to help the Obama presidency, many of its prominent liberal supporters - whatever their private views on the escalation - are willing to function as enablers of the expanded warfare. Many assume that opposition would undermine the administration and play into the hands of Republicans. But in the long run, going along with the escalation is not helping Obama; by putting off the days of reckoning, the acceptance of the escalation may actually help Obama destroy his own presidency.

Ideally, in 2009, Democratic lawmakers would see as role models the senators who opposed the Vietnam War - first Wayne Morse and Ernest Gruening, and then (years later) others including Eugene McCarthy and Robert Kennedy. Earlier and stronger opposition from elected officials could have saved countless lives. The dreams of the Great Society might not have been crushed. And Richard Nixon might never have become president.

Now, everyone has the potential to help challenge the escalation of the Afghanistan-Pakistan war - on a collision course with heightened disaster.

Over the weekend, the Sunday Times of London reported that US drone attacks along the Afghan-Pakistani border on Saturday killed "foreign militants" and "women and children" - while Pakistani officials asserted that "American drone attacks on the border ... are causing a massive humanitarian emergency." The newspaper says that "as many as 1 million people have fled their homes in the Tribal Areas to escape attacks by the unmanned spy planes as well as bombings by the Pakistani army."

This is standard catastrophic impact of a counterinsurgency war. In short, as former Kennedy administration official William Polk spells out in his recent book, "Violent Politics," the key elements are in place for the US war in Afghanistan to fail on its own terms while heightening the death and misery on a large scale.

Citing UN poverty data, a recent essay by Tom Hayden points out that in Afghanistan and Pakistan "the levels of suffering are among the most extreme in the world, and from suffering, from having nothing to live for, comes the will to die for a cause." While the Washington spin machine touts development aid, the humanitarian effort adds up to a few pennies for each dollar going to the US war effort.

A report from the Carnegie Endowment began this year with the stark conclusion that "the only meaningful way to halt the insurgency's momentum is to start withdrawing troops. The presence of foreign troops is the most important element driving the resurgence of the Taliban."
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