Posts Tagged ‘iraq’

Barriers to Peace

Monday, March 19th, 2012

(Warning! Graphic video.)

“Doc, save his life.” chuckled an American soldier, standing over the dead and dying bodies of (reportedly) Iraqi militants, “Got a band-aid?” Disgusting. Not a single trace of honor in their behavior, which, incidentally, is a clear violation of the Geneva convention.

Equally repugnant are the related comments posted on the video’s right-wing site Liveleak: “awesome…die terrorist” “i would rather see a bus full… still nice do.” “Go to your Allah, rat bastards.” Senseless, hate-filled vitriol. (more…)

The Costs Involved in War

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

He may be a Wall Street shill whose clandestine wars continue to take innocent lives, but President Obama sure knows how to weave a compelling speech.

Tuesday the POTUS criticized anti-Iran rhetoric coming from the Republican front runners, saying “When I see the casualness with which some of these folks talk about war, I’m reminded of the costs involved.”

“Typically it’s not the folks who are popping off who pay the price,” Obama said, adding, “it’s these incredible men and women in uniform and their families who pay the price.”

Fine words. (more…)

Flipping the Script

Saturday, February 18th, 2012

The world is improving faster than ever before, speeding us all towards a brighter future. Yet, for us to go from here to there, enough of us will have to abandon certain perspectives and internalize new ones. That being said, here’s 3 key scripts that need to be flipped: (more…)

Bradley Manning for Nobel Peace Prize

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Members of the Icelandic Parliament have nominated Private First Class Bradley Manning for the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize. If there’s any sense of justice left in the Nobel Committee, he’ll win.

Bradley Manning is accused of leaking a video showing the killing of civilians by a US Apache helicopter crew in Iraq. As well, he is charged with sharing the documents known as the Afghan War Diary, the Iraq War Logs, and embarrassing US diplomatic cables, all of which Manning leaked to the champions of transparency: Wikileaks.

Since his arrest in May 2010, Manning has been held in military prison without trial.

The chain of events Manning helped spark include:

In 2009, President Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.” Since then, Obama has increased military spending, expanded US-led war into several new countries, and has furthered the continued erosion of precious civil liberties.

If Pfc Manning doesn’t take the Nobel this year, maybe the Committee should strip Obama of his award and instead bestow the 2009 honors on a more deserving peace-builder.

Watch Out! War Rhetoric Ahead

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

To keep Iran from becoming another of the West’s disastrously failed military endeavors, like Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, it is imperative that we beat the drumbeats of peace louder than the drumbeats of war.

This is easy to say, but harder to do, especially if we don’t recognize pro-war propaganda when we see it. To help illuminate us, consider the following headlines that came out this week urging Americans (and the world) to wage war with Iran. (image credits to Glenn Greenwald)

The Guardian, today:


Wall Street Journal, today:


Wired, Wednesday:


Washington Post, Wednesday:

Notice the theme? Iran is the world’s worst country, by far, creating a threat that grows in severity for every instant we delay full-scale armed invasion.

These are the drumbeats of war, readying the public for what they want us to believe is inevitable. Yet war with Iran can be avoided, especially if the pro-peace side is able to mount the pressure needed to rival those forces driving us to war.

Sure, we are up against the multi-billion dollar industries which profit off of prolonged bloodshed. But when we number in the tens of millions, a handful of businesses – no matter how powerful they seem – will be no match for the strength of our solidarity.

*** UPDATE **

Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) did an analysis of ABC World News Tonight’s disgustingly biased piece on Iran, saying “At a time of heightened tension, journalists should act to question official rhetoric–not generate propaganda.”

No War with Iran!

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Do you remember what happened over the past ten years when more and more of us started to really regret the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The years kept rolling on, the cost and the death toll kept rising and we were left wondering ‘why wasn’t there more critical voices being heard in the lead up to the invasion?’ Mainstream journalists along with most politicians failed to ask whether or not a military endeavor was the best solution, and everyone else was left holding the bag.

Well, if you count yourself amongst the disgruntled, then take heed, because whatever forces made those wars happen are at it again. Except this time the target is Iran. You can see it everywhere, as stories about the Persian nation become more frequent, garnering an ever increasing slice of media coverage. The same thing happened prior to the Libyan invasion. It’s as if the social consciousness is being massaged and cajoled into accepting Iran as this imminent threat growing in severity for every moment we aren’t over there bombing the life out of them.

Don’t get me wrong – Iran is no joke. But so too are many other nations, and if the last ten years of failure have proven anything, its that we cannot hope to secure the world by direct force alone.

But we won’t even get the chance to find an alternative if we allow the pro-war side the inch they need to take their mile. So this time, let’s beat the drums of peace louder than those who are beating the drums of war. We can’t wait until our armed forces get stuck in another decades long quagmire and then bitch about it.

Maybe this time we think less in terms of us and them – Muslims/Christians, or North Americans/ Iranians– and instead take a 21st century mindset, where we recognize that 99% of the citizens of foreign nations are just like the 99% here and that Letting an army attack them would be hurting people no different than us. But, if we work together with them, and essentially unite the 99% of all nations, this global village would be in a far better place to hamper the %1 who’ve been hurting the rest of us.

We’ve tried weapons and war for too long and it has yet to help. Let’s find out if the power of love can work to heal our planet.

US Marines Shameful Oorah-nation

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Video has surfaced showing four marines urinating on what has been reported to be dead Afghan militants. Vile, disgusting, illegal, unnecessary and downright idiotic are just a few of the ways to describe these acts.

How did this happen? A bunch of gun-toting, war-happy dudes thought it would be a good idea to do something each of them individually knew was wrong. But not a single one of them spoke up, so they ended up following through with what turned out to be a huge mistake.

What an apt comparison for the entire Afghanistan invasion! US Military brass (and other high level officials) decided it would be a good idea to start a war with the criminal gangs of a severely impoverished nation. And no one spoke out – at least not loud enough to be heard – so here we are 10 years later and American atrocities continue to fall upon the Afghan people.

Curious, though. Why does urine on dead people spark more outrage than bullets and shrapnel in dead people?

5 More Reasons Not to Attack Iran

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

This week Adam Lowther shared a piece entitled ‘Five Reasons Not to Attack Iran‘, focusing on how unilateral invasion would be strategically difficult given the US’s exhausted military and Iran’s legitimate military and intelligence capabilities.

Lowther’s list leaves much to be desired, as the author seems convinced that engaging Iran would be more desirable were it easier to accomplish. That said, I’d like to offer up five more reasons not to go to war with Iran:

One – It Costs Too Much. The wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere have cost American taxpayers close to 1.3 trillion dollars. For a nation struggling with poverty and unemployment, this fortune could have helped out a lot of people back home.

On top of this, hundreds of thousands of lives were snuffed out, and millions more had to flee their homes. The costs, in terms of human suffering, are incalculable. All the more reason to avoid war with Iran for as long as other options exist.

Two – War Breeds Extremism. The chaos and disruption caused by prolonged conflict benefits no one more than violent, radical ideologues. Destabilizing Iran will only fuel more anti-Western sentiment, and this serves no one’s interests (except maybe for the Defense Industry itself).

Three – Iranians are Just Like Us. Underneath superficial differences, like culture, language and religion, the majority of Iranians are regular people. They share similar hopes, dreams and fears, and, just like us, most of them simply want to raise their families in a secure environment. Rather than bombing and killing Iranians, we can help by empowering their communities so that the Iranian people can eliminate extremism from within.

Four – It Doesn’t Work. There’s no proof that America is any safer now than 10 years ago. The populations of Iraq, Afghanistan (and the other US-bomb riddled nations) certainly are no better off. Unless you are a shareholder in a corporation that either profits from a lengthy armed conflict or gets to divvy up the conquered assets, then war has not and will not help you out at all.

Five – We Should be Done with War. We aren’t cavemen chucking spears anymore. It’s the 21st century. Engaging in armed conflict with Iran, like with all wars, would inevitably cause humankind to hurt itself. We are supposed to be an advanced species, so let’s start acting like one.

Don’t wait until our Armed Forces get stuck in another decades long quagmire with no practical exit strategy. Let your voice be heard right now. Say no to war with Iran!

Iraq: Millions Left Uprooted

Monday, January 9th, 2012

While last week’s final Iraq War death count highlights those most directly impacted by the US-led invasion, these figures leave untold yet another tale of woe: that of the 3.7 million newly created refugees.

Detailing the plight of displaced Iraq civilians, Andrew Lam writes:

Each time Uncle Sam ventures abroad he leaves an unfinished story, and nowhere is it most unfinished than the story of Iraq, where the tragedy caused by the United States occupation and inevitable abandonment is on an epic proportion.

Whether tyranny has been cast aside is questionable, but certainly cast aside are the people of Iraq. They have been displaced both internally and internationally and are now imperiled by the sin of our omission.

Lam goes on to show how Iraq is not the exception, but more like the rule:

A Theme of Betrayal: Uncle Sam left unwanted children in Vietnam known as con lai – mixed-race children — and it took years for them to come to the US, years in which many lived as abused and abandoned as children of the enemy. Uncle Sam also left tens of thousands of South Vietnamese allies to languish in re-education camps.

The costs of war far outweigh any gains, and the scars left behind can last for generations. Never has war been more unnecessary than it is right now. It is time we move ahead into the world of peace we know exists.

Final Tally: 128,000 Non-Combatants Dead in Iraq

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

Over 162,000 humans were killed by violence in Iraq from 2003-2011, according to NGO Iraq Body Count (IBC). IBC’s comprehensive analysis of the bloody conflict reveals close to 80% of these fatalities were innocent civilians caught in the crossfire.

What a tragedy. Every single life lost inflicted untold horror upon any loved ones left behind, and when you multiply that by 160,000,  the result is a pain too immense to fathom.

Did any good come out of this occupation/slaughter? Depends who you ask.

CEOs from any industry entrenched in the war business could likely boast significant earnings off the prolonged military campaign. No doubt countless military personnel feel an impregnable sense of pride for so bravely serving their country.

As for spreading democracy or making America more secure, well, these were just a few of the myths they sold to the public in order to justify the invasion.

With so much on the line, Americans (and the world) would be served well to reflect a little harder before making the same mistake again. Unless there is an immediate and clear threat, best leave the armies at home and try diplomacy instead.