Barack Obama was the first president elected on a platform of withdrawing American troops from an ongoing war. Now, though political pundits and the reporters rarely mention it, Obama's re-election depends on winning back the peace vote in November. This week the wars will received a brief "cameo" role, according to the Los Angeles Times, because Mitt Romney is taking his campaign to London, Israel and Poland. The Hollywood analogy is apt: it is as if the trillion-dollar wars can be cut and pasted from a choreographed script.
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.
Few symbolized 1960s radicalism as boldly as Tom Hayden: co-founder of Students for a Democratic Society, Freedom Rider in the South, member of the Chicago Eight put on trial for disrupting the 1968 Democratic National Convention, Vietnam war protester. Later he earned fame in other ways, by marrying actress and activist Jane Fonda (from whom he is long divorced) and serving in the California legislature. Now in his 70s, Hayden writes every day — newspaper columns, books, tweets — as part of a “moral obligation” that he says he feels to speak out. “I made that commitment after my heart surgery, which was at the time of 9/11, and I have kept that pledge,” he says. Hayden spoke to The Post from his office in Culver City, near Los Angeles.
The authorities were boasting that all flights were on time as I landed at Mexico City’s international airport on June 26 to cover the country’s national election. Terminal 2 bustled with travelers; the duty-free shops gleamed with jewelry and alcohol, and the food courts were in full service mode. Only 24 hours earlier, however, travelers were crawling on the same terminal floor during a shootout that killed three federal police. The shooters escaped in broad daylight. The dead officers were not shot by narco-traffickers but by other police who apparently were working for the narcos. It turned out that AeroMexico stewardesses were helping export cocaine on flights to Spain. Bienvenidos to the Mexican labyrinth, where nothing is transparent, including elections.
As a friend and sometime ally of Gov. Brown, I have been pondering his irreversible cuts to higher education and social services. It is the fault of the Republicans and the requirements of Prop 13, I know, but there is more.
Implicating herself on Pentagon’s side in a historic First Amendment controversy, Sen. Diane Feinstein is calling for the extradition and prosecution of Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks who is presently inside the Ecuadoran embassy in London. Feinstein, head of the joint intelligence committee, told a Syndey, Australia, paper in a written statement that Assange “has caused serious harm to US security and should be prosecuted accordingly.”
While progressive Democrats are giddy over the Supreme Court ruling upholding the Obama health care law, the Roberts’ decision can be interpreted as cushioning the reputation of the Court from rising public questioning of its balance and legitimacy. Indeed, salvaging its reputation was one of the reasons for its decision in the case.
The recent pledges of Western funding and non-NATO ally status are little more than a cover for the defeat the US government is facing in Afghanistan, the famed graveyard of empires. Afghanistan will not be a US outpost flanking China, nor a bonanza of mineral wealth for the easy taking, nor the vanguard of an Islamic Spring. The Taliban will not be defeated, nor the Karzai regime rendered stable.
The queen was wearing green. Since she was silent, we assume this was a message of sorts to the Irish people as she prepared for her historic handshake with Martin McGuinness, a republican former IRA commander and now a co-leader of the Northern Irish power-sharing government. Meanwhile, Irish republicans staged a militant protest in Belfast and came under siege by infuriated loyalists. What was really behind this symbolic step in the continuing peace process? From an inside source in Belfast comes this analysis:
The leading Mexican paper La Jornada is strongly supporting asylum for Julian Assange in Ecuador, in a sign of Latin American sentiment against his extradition to Sweden or the United States. The conflict is portrayed as one between the Old World and new democratic norms embraced by much of the world.
“The Invisible War” is a gripping description of the epidemic of rape within the American military, as documented in the new Sundance-acclaimed film by director Kirby Dick and producer Amy Ziering. If the horrors depicted in this documentary reveal the extent of hidden sexual violence within the military, one can only shudder at the scale of rape inflicted by American troops in the field on Iraqis and Afghans but rarely if ever reported.