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An Open Letter to President Barack Obama

By Arno J. Mayer, Counterpunch, August 9, 2010


Dear Mr. President:

As Commander-in-Chief you have ordered the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier U.S.S. George Washington to carry out major naval exercises off the coast of Japan and the Korean Peninsula before proceeding, most likely, to other exercises in the Yellow Sea, an inlet of the Pacific Ocean between mainland China and the Korean Peninsula to the east. One of the world’s largest warships, the George Washington is accompanied by some 20 armed vessels and submarines, scores of aircraft and helicopters along with thousands of naval, ground, and air personnel.

You have also ordered the deployment of the nuclear-powered U.S.S. Dwight Eisenhower and U.S.S. Harry Truman to cruise or patrol in an open-ended theater of naval operations in the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea, and the Persian Gulf. Both these carriers likewise are hubs of large strike forces consisting of numerous warships, military aircraft, units of the armed services, including special commandos and amphibious landing craft.

Given the scale and reach of this projection of raw military power—reminiscent of the comparatively paltry gunboat diplomacy of a not-so-distant past—I was wondering, Mr. President, whether it wouldn’t be wise for you to give the American people, the United Nations, and the rest of the world a reasoned statement of the need for such an oceanic display of America’s naval, air, soldierly, and electronic might at a time when the United States seems bent on continuing to act as a global policeman in the four corners of the world.

Should you clarify the objectives of American policy it might also be helpful if you could indicate how your policies are in harmony with the letter and spirit of the Nobel Peace Prize, awarded for your “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples,” which you humbly accepted. Such a reflection would stave off the question as to when and on which of America’s 12 nuclear-powered super-carriers you expect to declare “Mission Accomplished.”

Respectfully yours,
Arno J. Mayer

Arno J Mayer is emeritus professor of history at Princeton University. He is the author of The Furies: Violence and Terror in the French and Russian Revolutions.and Plowshares Into Swords: From Zionism to Israel (Verso).

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Obama says withdrawal is on schedule, but renaming or outsourcing combat troops won’t give Iraqis back their country

Seumas Milne, The Guardian/UK, August 5, 2010

For most people in Britain and the US, Iraq is already history. Afghanistan has long since taken the lion’s share of media attention, as the death toll of Nato troops rises inexorably. Controversy about Iraq is now almost entirely focused on the original decision to invade: what’s happening there in 2010 barely registers.

That will have been reinforced by Barack Obama’s declaration this week that US combat troops are to be withdrawn from Iraq at the end of the month “as promised and on schedule”. For much of the British and American press, this was the real thing: headlines hailed the “end” of the war and reported “US troops to leave Iraq”.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The US isn’t withdrawing from Iraq at all – it’s rebranding the occupation. Just as George Bush’s war on terror was retitled “overseas contingency operations” when Obama became president, US “combat operations” will be rebadged from next month as “stability operations”.

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down to the last trillion in red ink

By Paul Craig Roberts, VDARE.com, July 26, 2010

The White House is screaming like a stuck pig. WikiLeaks’ release of the Afghan War Documents “puts the lives of our soldiers and our coalition partners at risk.”

What nonsense. Obama’s war puts the lives of American soldiers at risk, and the craven puppet state behavior of “our partners” in serving as US mercenaries is what puts their troops at risk.

Keep in mind that it was someone in the US military that leaked the documents to WikiLeaks.  This means that there is a spark of rebellion within the Empire itself.

And rightly so.  The leaked documents show that the US has committed numerous war crimes and that the US government and military have lied through their teeth in order to cover up the failure of their policies. These are the revelations that Washington wants to keep secret.

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Hundreds of civilians killed by coalition troops
• Covert unit hunts leaders for ‘kill or capture’
• Steep rise in Taliban bomb attacks on Nato

• Read the Guardian’s full war logs investigation

US soldier in Afghanistan The war logs reveal civilian killings by coalition forces, secret efforts to eliminate Taliban and al-Qaida leaders, and discuss the involvement of Iran and Pakistan in supporting insurgents. Photograph: Max Whittaker/CorbisA huge cache of secret US military files today provides a devastating portrait of the failing war in Afghanistan, revealing how coalition forces have killed hundreds of civilians in unreported incidents, Taliban attacks have soared and Nato commanders fear neighbouring Pakistan and Iran are fuelling the insurgency.

The disclosures come from more than 90,000 records of incidents and intelligence reports about the conflict obtained by the whistleblowers’ website Wikileaks in one of the biggest leaks in US military history. The files, which were made available to the Guardian, the New York Times and the German weekly Der Spiegel, give a blow-by-blow account of the fighting over the last six years, which has so far cost the lives of more than 320 British and more than 1,000 US troops.

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US Commitment ‘Spans Generations’

by Jason Ditz, Antiwar.com, July 15, 2010

Speaking today at a reception for her Israeli counterpart, US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice vowed that the United States would remain eternally committed to ensuring Israel’s regional military superiority and promised that they would continue to shield Israel from diplomatic fallout for its behavior at the United Nations.

US Ambassador Susan Rice  and Shimon Peres

As U.S. President Barack Obama pledged, we will continue U.S. efforts to combat all international attempts to challenge the legitimacy of Israel—including and especially at the United Nations,” Rice declared.

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Planes on alert after US spy plane shot down had weapons 20 times size of Hiroshima bomb

Chris McGreal in Washington,
The Guardian/UK, July 7, 2010

Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon is believed to have ordered nuclear bombers to be put on standby for an immediate strike on North Korea. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

It is more than 35 years since he was shunted out of office, but the thought of Richard Nixon‘s finger on the nuclear trigger still has the power to terrify.

Now it has been revealed that the highly erratic president’s metaphorical digit was hovering even closer than was widely realised as his administration laid plans for an atomic strike against North Korea in 1969 following the shooting down of a US spy plane.

According to newly revealed government documents, Nixon is even believed to have ordered nuclear bombers to be put on standby for an immediate strike after North Korean jets downed the American plane as it flew over international waters collecting electronic and radio intelligence.

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According to Army Radio, the U.S. has reportedly pledged to sell Israel materials used to produce electricity, as well as nuclear technology and other supplies.

By Haaretz Service, Barak Ravid and Reuters, Haaretz/Israel, July 7, 2010

Israel’s Army Radio reported on Wednesday that the United States has sent Israel a secret document committing to nuclear cooperation between the two countries.

According to Army Radio, the U.S. has reportedly pledged to sell Israel materials used to produce electricity, as well as nuclear technology and other supplies, despite the fact that Israel is not a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Other countries have refused to cooperate with Israel on nuclear matters because it has not signed the NPT, and there has been increasing international pressure for Israel to be more transparent about its nuclear arsenal.

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AP
From a protest in Calcutta

Reverse The Out-Of-Court Bhopal Settlement’

Activists write to the US President: ‘Whose ‘ass’ should the citizens of Bhopal kick if governments selectively shield their corporations and officials from legal accountability?’


Mr Barack Obama
President,
United States of America

Dear Mr President Obama,

With a great deal of interest, we have been following your tough stand against BP for the oil spill in the Gulf Of Mexico, particularly your demand to know whose ‘ass needs to be kicked’. We think your demand for corporate accountability for causing huge environmental damages is worthy of emulation by other governments around the World.

May we draw your attention to a bigger disaster that took place in the city of Bhopal in India in December 1984 that has officially killed over 15,000 people (about 25,000 people unofficially) and seriously injured nearly half a million people by now (the situation after twenty five years is attached for ready reference). This disaster was caused by another mega corporate entity called Union Carbide, headquartered in the United States of America, unlike BP whose parent company resides in Great Britain.

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Irish Sun, Friday 11th June, 2010

(IANS)

The toll in the US drone strike in Pakistan’s North Waziristan tribal area has risen to 15 while 10 were wounded in the incident Friday, media reports said.

The drone fired four missiles at a house in Datta Khel area, killing four people on the spot, Xinhua quoted a news channel as saying.

The injured were rushed to a hospital as 11 people succumbed to injuries later, the private Geo News channel reported, citing local sources. Several others were in critical condition.

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By Stephen Zunes, Foreign Policy In Focus, June 10, 2010

Sen. Harry Reid

Tens of thousands of Israelis protested in the streets of Tel Aviv last weekend against their right-wing government’s attack on an unarmed humanitarian aid flotilla sailing in international waters. International condemnation of the raids continued in foreign capitals. Meanwhile, in Washington, Democratic congressional leaders were lining up alongside their Republican colleagues to defend the Israeli assault. Countering the broad consensus of international legal scholars who recognize that the attack was in flagrant violation of international norms, prominent Democrats embraced the Orwellian notion that Israel’s raid, which killed at least nine activists and wounded scores of others, was somehow an act of self-defense.

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