Bill Zimmerman, the longtime strategist against failed wars, calculates that we could give every Afghanistan family at least $59,444 instead of killing thousands of people in an unaffordable war.
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.
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. Some will converge on Chicago, while others will march in 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.
FBI agents were advised that they could “bend or suspend the law and impinge on freedoms” of Muslims and Arab-Americans during the past decade of the war-on-terrorism, according to documents first revealed by Wired magazine and later examined in a Senate hearing. Attorney General Eric Holder criticized the training materials, which an FBI spokesman called “inartful.” Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) condemned the advisory material in a letter last week.
After two decades of student-led protests of global sweatshops, it appears that the Big Apple — producer of Macs, iPads and iPhones used by the younger generation – is feeling the bite. A major Apple supplier, Foxconn, which also supplies Amazon, Dell and Microsoft, has pledged to improve wages, hours and working conditions in their Chinese sweatshops in a one-year time frame.
This is the fiftieth anniversary year of the Port Huron Statement, the founding declaration of Students for a Democratic Society, issued as a “living document” in 1962. The SDS call for a participatory democracy echoes today in student-led democracy movements around the world, even appearing as the first principle of the Occupy Wall Street September 17 declaration.
It may take a Fukushima-type nuclear disaster to force California away from its reliance on two aging, dangerous nuclear plants at San Onofre or Diablo Canyon. The Fukushima catastrophe has virtually stopped the nuclear industry in Japan, and moved enlightened Germany to phase out its nuclear dependency. With the virtual disappearance of the robust anti-nuclear movement of the late 1970s, public opinion is adrift and state officials are focused on other crises like the budget for education.
The New York Times reports that El Salvador’s political establishment is “rattled” at speculation that a secret deal has been made with imprisoned Mara Salvatrucha leaders to halt the long wave of street killings in that country. Perhaps in return, thirty top mara leaders are being moved to less-harsh prison conditions where they will enjoy family visits.
In the end it was left to Guatemalan president Otto Perez Molina to deliver the message alone. Following Vice President Joe Biden’s trips to Mexico and Central America on March 6, during which he promoted the drug war and hesitated to accept regional proposals for narcotics legalization, Central America’s presidents insisted they would meet again on March 24 to further discuss legalization as an alternative. However, when the time for the meeting came, Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador all pulled out at the last minute with vague excuses. Can one speculate that Biden’s recent tour of the region involved backdoor tampering? Time will tell.
Criticizing over-attention to Syria while Mexico burns, a leading neo-con strategist writes, “Mexico will affect America's destiny in coming decades more than any state or combination of states in the Middle East.”
The case of Trayvon Martin may become a turning point in America’s debate over racial profiling, stop-and-frisk policing, and prison time for millions of young people of color since the neo-con crusade against “super-predators” began two decades ago. But first there will be a major pushback from advocates of hard-line law-and-order tactics.