Welcome home, Democracy for America! Another sign that the White House encourages, or does not oppose, the anti-war sentiment by its allied groups, DFA, MoveOn, Campaign for America’s Future and, first to reverse its position, the Center for American Priorities. It’s good that they have rejoined the peace movement and I hope the White House follows.
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.
I personally believe our attention should focus on the huge opportunity to pressure President Obama to responsibly withdraw from Afghanistan and Iraq. But journalists and activists also need to contend with diversionary conspiracy theories at the same time.
Peace and justice advocates should be pleased with last week’s election of Rabbi Richard Jacobs as president of the Union for Reform Judaism, the largest branch of American Judaism. The new leadership will be supportive of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as well as efforts to end the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
A new bill introduced today by U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Republican co-sponsor Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), the Afghanistan Exit and Accountability Act, speaks only of a “completion date on the transition of U.S. military and security operations in Afghanistan to the Government of Afghanistan." As far as I know, this bill was not circulated to peace leaders before release. The Obama administration already has set a goal for this transition as 2014, and has left open loopholes for bases and counterterrorism operations beyond that date.
It’s time to focus on ending the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. We can and must keep criticizing the drone strikes in Pakistan and elsewhere, but right now there is a chance to make major progress towards withdrawing the 109,000 American troops in Afghanistan and the 50,000 in Iraq.
Before the war fever grows towards Pakistan for “sheltering” Bin Laden, I want to add a speculation of my own for further investigation. Why was Bin Laden’s fortress-compound so lightly guarded, given his reputation as a fierce warrior determined to bring down everything around him if captured?
Last night I wrote the following lines about our tradition of demonizing enemies:
John Quincy Adams long ago urged that American foreign policy should be based on the principle that “she goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy.”
As history turned out, however, our governments have identified and defined many monsters, from Crazy Horse and Geronimo on to the present. The underlying theory has been that demonic conspirators provoke, lead and manipulate insurgent movements, and that silencing them will end the threat.
It turns out that Osama Bin Ladin’s code name was “Geronimo”.
The killing of Osama Bin Ladin is a triumphal moment for President Obama and the CIA, allowing a symbolic claim to victory in the War on Terror, bringing an understandable feeling of closure for the victims of 9/11, and will almost certainly assure the president’s re-election in 2012.
The president is on the cusp of a decision which will define his presidency and re-election chances in 2012: whether to risk multiple military quagmires or campaign on a decisive pledge to pull American troops out of Afghanistan and Pakistan and drones out of Pakistan and Libya.