Advocates of peace should keep demanding an accelerated withdrawal of American troops, the end of drone attacks, and an escalated diplomatic push to a regional diplomatic solution.
The Peace Exchange Bulletin
Published by Tom Hayden, The Peace Exchange Bulletin is a reader-supported journal, critically following the Pentagon's Long War in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq, as well as the failed U.S. wars on drugs and gangs, and U.S. military responses to nationalism and poverty around the world.
In a recent op-ed, "Is US-Afghan Agreement a Prelude to Afghan Civil War?" AFSC’s Matt Southworth is right in projecting a trajectory toward further civil war in Afghanistan. But political and military realities may still pre-empt projections on paper. Especially during an election year when a war is not going well, we can expect nothing but official spin.
Peace movements in every country are raising their voices against the war in Afghanistan in advance of the May 18-20 NATO summit in Chicago. American combat veterans are expected to throw their medals at NATO officials, just as John Kerry and many others did as a heroic gesture in the final stage of Vietnam. Some will converge on Chicago, while others will march in other NATO capitols. Around two-thirds of the public in NATO countries now opposes the war, and most of their governments are anxious to withdraw if a face-saving path can be found. Australia, not a NATO member, announced this week it will withdraw all troops by 2013.
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) is hoping that a majority of House Democrats, along with a dozen Republicans, will sign a letter before the Chicago NATO summit demanding the “expediting of our troops’ return” and a “speed up” of the transition to Afghan sovereignty. Similar messages are being sent to NATO leaders from their war-weary and economically-stressed public in the run up to the May 18-20 summit.
At dawn on June 24, 2009, armed local, state and federal officers swarmed the rented home of Alex Sanchez while he slept with his wife and children, and arrested the former gang leader on charges of racketeering conspiracy, claiming he led a double-life as a peacemaker by day and MS-13 member by night. The LAPD arresting officer, Frank Flores, stuffed Sanchez in a squad car and told him, “You’re done”, it’s all over.” Downtown at Parker Center, where prosecutor Elizabeth Carpenter was present, Officer Flores told Sanchez, “You can plead right now.”
A turning point in the US drug was is being reached. A majority of American favor legalizing marijuana, including Pat Robertson who says, like many on the Christian right, the nation has “gone overboard on this concept of being ‘tough on crime’,” a punitive approach, and one which most conservatives still support. Robertson now says that the drug war “just hasn’t succeeded,” and marijuana should be regulated by alcohol.
Perhaps I’ve been too hard on Rachel Maddow in the past. Her trip to Afghanistan two years ago was too sympathetic to the military perspective, I believed. But time passes and, after a look at her new book, Drift, I now hope she will run for national office, or at least threaten to do so. She has the smarts and charm to get there, and would be her generation’s leading critic of our insane, imbalanced military priorities. She does so more in the spirit of Mark Twain than Noam Chomsky.