In response to March testimony by Gen. David Petraeus, the New York Times published a muddled editorial: “We still believe that the United States has a strategic interest in Afghanistan. We also know that Americans’ patience with this war has all but run out.”
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.
A concerted campaign is underway to pressure Iraq’s U.S.-installed government to officially request that President Obama extend the stay of American troops past December 31, the agreed date for their departure. Congressional critics and anti-war voices are utterly excluded from the discussions. But Iraqi sentiment against the U.S. occupation is increasing, and peace voters may be alienated if the president breaks his promise to get out.
With nearly 80 members, the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) is insisting on a role in the growing budget debate in Washington. Their proposed “people’s budget” is a major counter to the Tea Party’s reckless insanity and the drift of centrist Democrats and Republicans. Items in the “people’s budget” have popular support in polls. The progressive proposal is the first to link the fight for closing corporate tax loopholes and saving Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare with the “need to responsibly end the wars abroad and limit future military excursions that obligate tax dollars and the lives of young men and women with little direct benefit to the United States.”
Thousands of Mexicans in 25 cities marched last week against the U.S.-guided Drug War which has claimed 35,000 lives since 2006, when the right-wing government of Felipe Calderon took power. U.S. police, military and drug enforcement agencies are deeply implicated in the expanding war, which threatens to continue for years and is spilling over into the U.S.
The probable recognition of a Palestinian state by the United Nations General Assembly this September might productively realign American policy toward the Muslim world or leave the Obama administration further sidelined and isolated. The strong push for recognition comes a moment when the Middle East, including Palestinian communities, is pulsating with democratic aspirations while the US is involved in multiple wars and counterterrorism operations in Muslim countries.
A recent poll by the usually-reliable Zogby International firm shows a strong majority of Americans, 55%, thinking “It’s time for someone new” for President, creating a significant opening if the Republicans find a credible challenger. Just 72% of Democrats said President Obama “deserves to be re-elected” while only four percent of Republicans agreed.
Opponents of another Western quagmire in Libya are applauding German’s stance against the United Nations resolution authorizing “all necessary measures” to intervene in Libya. Germany joined Russia, China, India and Brazil – representing over half the world’s population – in refusing to vote for Resolution 1973.
Barack Obama’s war in Libya bears the intellectual imprint of Samantha Power, the Dublin-born human rights author who has risen to visible prominence in the White House hierarchy.
I think most progressives are divided or confused on the Libya situation, given the dangerous consequences of “humanitarian intervention” turning into quagmires or civil wars. Only a few are so flatly anti-imperialist that they oppose anything the U.S. [or “the West”] does in Libya. Since we are ambiguous over whether the initial intervention was justified, and since it’s more than a week old, I think it’s best to focus on these urgent questions.
Obama’s speech won’t please those who are against all wars and any form of intervention. But I thought he struck a fine-tuned balance. The peace movement can take credit for building a wall of opposition to costly quagmires. Now the peace movement needs to focus public pressure against any escalation into another trillion-dollar quagmire.