It happened here, and it can happen again. The difference between 1960 and 2008 is that students and young people in the earlier time couldn't vote. But we could march, and we did in Ann Arbor in support of the southern student sit-in movement. And we could imagine, propose reforms, and believed the politicians might heed the call.
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.
Bob Woodward’s book Obama’s Wars should scare the hell out of you. It is essential reading—between the lines—for anyone seeking a map out of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Here is one example: If and when a terrorist attack occurs in the United States which can be traced to Pakistan, the American military response will be a “retribution plan” to bomb at least 150 targets in Pakistan. The plan is “one of the most sensitive and secret of all military contingencies,” Woodward writes. There is no discussion of The Day After in this scenario of saturation bombing. Nor did the President and his advisers have “anything on the shelf [which] specifically addressed securing Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.” Such an attack has already been attempted this year.
In the wake of FBI raids and subpoenas against activists in Chicago, Minnesota, Michigan and North Carolina, a PJRC investigation estimates that hundreds of millions in tax dollars recently have been spent on fortifying local police departments against alleged terrorist or anarchist threats that have never materialized.
Anyone interested in domestic spying on peace and justice activists should study carefully the September 2010 report of the Inspector General of the Department of Justice, blandly titled "A Review of the FBI's Investigations of Certain Domestic Advocacy Groups."
Congressional Peace Leaders Feingold and McGovern Are in Trouble
The threat to Sen. Russ Feingold [D-Wisc.] and Rep. Jim McGovern [D-Mass.] is due to the conservative surge across America, not their positions on Afghanistan. McGovern's district, for example, overlaps with the former Senate seat of Scott Brown, who replaced Ted Kennedy in the US Senate. But losing either of these seats would be a huge blow to the leadership of peace forces in Congress.
Califronia as Focal Point Against Big Oil
The "long war" must be opposed with an alternative energy scenario. Jerry Brown has been far ahead of any national political leader in forging an economy based on conservation and renewables. Barbara Boxer is better than anyone in the Senate on those issues. California's trend-setting emissions standards are threatened by Proposition 23, funded by Big Oil.
Legalizing Marijuana to Lessen Drug War Violence
Proposition 19 will legalize, regulate and tax marijuana production in California, dramatically lessening repression and the US-supported "war on drugs" which has claimed 30,000 lives in Mexico since 2006.
A federal judge last week abruptly postponed ruling on whether it was proper for prosecutors seeking wiretap permission to conceal their use of top members of the Mara Salvatrucha gang as informants, as reported in The Nation August 27. Meanwhile the recent shooting death of a Guatemalan day laborer, Manuel Jaminez, by a Los Angeles police officer has reignited a controversy over police reform that is at the root of the current courtroom drama.
First United Church in East Vancouver describes itself as “a community at the margins.” The surrounding neighborhood on East Hastings hosts perhaps the largest outdoor assemblage of addicts, pushers, prostitutes, and mentally-disturbed persons in North America. The church itself houses as many as three hundred homeless people a night. First United also is the place of sanctuary for an American war resister, 32-year old Rodney Watson.
Last week the Bulletin published an analysis of the proposal for a two-year de-escalation of the Afghanistan War made by a group of 50 national security experts: A New Way Forward: Rethinking U.S. Strategy in Afghanistan. The Afghanistan Study Group’s director, Matthew Hoh, who resigned from the State Department over US policies, responded with this letter to be shared with the Bulletin’s readers.
One of the most powerful critics of the Vietnam War was Fred Branfman, who uncovered the secret US bombing campaign against Laos, accused the US of creating six million victims in Indochina, and was involved deeply in the Indochina Peace Campaign which helped end the war in 1975. Fred recently published an extraordinary article on Alternet documenting the mass assassination strategy of the US across the Muslim world.
A moderate Democratic-leaning study group has released a proposal to “fast track a peace process” in Afghanistan and withdraw 32,000 American troops by October 2011 and another 38,000 by late 2012, the period of the next presidential election.