Think about it. America’s Afghan War began in 2001 with what was essentially a punitive raid against the Taliban, part of which was mythologized last year in 12 Strong, a Hollywood film with a cavalry charge that echoed the best of John Wayne. That victory, however, quickly turned first into quagmire and then, despite various “surges” and a seemingly endless series of U.S. commanders (17 so far), into a growing sense of inevitable defeat. Today, a resurgent Taliban exercises increasing influence over the hearts, minds, and territory of the Afghan people.
War and Military
There are certain things the human mind is not meant to do. Our complex brains cannot view the world in infrared, cannot spell words backward during orgasm and cannot really grasp numbers over a few thousand. A few thousand, we can feel and conceptualize. We’ve all been in stadiums with several thousand people. We have an idea of what that looks like (and how sticky the floor gets). But when we get into the millions, we lose it. It becomes a fog of nonsense. Visualizing it feels like trying to hug a memory. We may know what $1 million can buy (and we may want that thing), but you probably don’t know how tall a stack of a million $1 bills is. You probably don’t know how long it takes a minimum-wage employee to make $1 million.
I grew up in blue-collar Staten Island, New York City. My mother was a waitress, my father an overqualified civil servant who also painted houses and delivered Chinese food in Brooklyn. I come from a world where it seems you’re either a cop, a fireman, or a junkie. My mother had four brothers; two, along with my grandfather, were FDNY to the core; the others fell deep into the drug and alcohol game; it killed them both. But not me; no, I was the family’s golden child, always the pleaser, always high achieving, and I’d do something special. I thought it was my destiny. In July 2001, while my high school friends partied during the summer before college, I found myself at Cadet Basic Training – “Beast Barracks,” as we called – a new officer candidate at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
By Annie Windholz for Medium - Jodie Evans spoke about how war has become normalized to millennials- an entire generation that has only known war. She commented that under Obama the anti-war movement was a silenced movement, but is becoming alive again during trump, with 65% of tax dollars going to war and the military. Evans was excited about the divest campaign because the anti-war movement had not yet had such a long term plan for ending war. Her question for the audience was, how do we make the movement relational? The Divest from War campaign organizer, Haley Pedersen, took the floor explaining that 23 cents of every tax dollar goes into military contractors’ pockets, with top producer Lockheed Martin’s CEO making $19 million in 2016. During this same year 150,000 people died in violent conflicts around the world as a direct result of these weapons with 90% of those killed in wars being mostly women and children civilians, and an additional 65 million people displaced because of war. Military contractors make endless profits at the expense of endless suffering with their CEOs routinely making the top paid CEOs list. Pederson said CODEPINK is currently working with different partners in divestment.
By Bruce K. Gagnon for Organizing Notes. The Aegis 9 were arrested at 10:00 am this morning in a snow storm at Bath Iron Works (BIW) in Maine during a 'christening' of another destroyer outfitted with so-called 'missile defense' systems. The group blocked the ceremony entry gate and were charged with Trespass on BIW property - which ironically is ultimately paid for by taxpayer dollars. BIW is owned by General Dynamics. These warships are currently being deployed by the Pentagon to help encircle Russia and China as the US moves to put in place global first-strike attack capability. Amazingly BIW decided to still hold the event out-of-doors even though there was a wet driving snow coming down. Reports from the inside of the shipyard were that many of the chairs at the ceremony were empty - except for the snow on them. The protest called for the conversion of BIW to build commuter rail systems, solar, wind turbines and tidal power systems.
By Staff for Institute for Public Accuracy. Four drone resisters, James Ricks, Daniel Burns, Brian Hynes, and Ed Kinane, from the 2015 big books action were found innocent of all charges at 11 p.m. at the Dewitt Town Court. After deliberating for only about a half hour, the jury returned with a verdict of not guilty on all charges. Applause erupted in the courtroom upon the jurors’ announcement of the verdict. The four were charged with obstruction of government administration, disorderly conduct, and trespass and faced a year in jail. Following the rendering of the verdict, a juror approached Brian Hynes and said ‘I really support what you are doing. Keep doing it.’ “During the trial, Brian Hynes told the jury, “This is not a case about contested facts, this is a case about contested meanings.” Hynes went on to explain to the jury that they could, in the words of the 4th Circuit of Appeals, acquit for any reason which appeals to their logic or passion.
By Deirdre Fulton for Common Dreams - Less than a week after Russia's foreign minister warned that NATO's military build-up near Russia's borders is "counterproductive and dangerous," the United States is ramping up the deployment of heavy weapons and armored vehicles to NATO member countries in Central and Eastern Europe, the New York Times reported Tuesday. Administration officials told the Times "the additional NATO forces were calculated to send a signal to President Vladimir V. Putin that the West remained deeply suspicious of his motives in the region," referring to Russia's ongoing presence in eastern Ukraine.
By David Swanson for Tele Sur - Obama said the U.S. is number one in the fight against climate change, when in reality the United States is by far the worst offender. President Barack Obama used his final State of the Union speech to claim that, "America is leading the fight against climate change," while in reality the United States is far and away the worst offender, per capita, in the ongoing mad race to render the earth's climate uninhabitable. We "cut our imports of foreign oil," Obama brags, as if earth cares what flag its pollution belches into the air under. "Gas under two bucks a gallon ain't bad," said the President, wildly missing the mark. Yes, it is bad, if you're trying to preserve a livable planet, not just win cheap applause.