By Christine Ahn for Foreign Policy in Focus – “Let me be very clear: The policy of strategic patience has ended,” U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters at a news conference in Seoul, South Korea. “All options are on the table,” Tillerson continued, including “an appropriate response” to any North Korean threat. The United States and North Korea are like two “accelerating trains coming toward each other,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi warned last week. North Korea test-fired four ballistic missiles off the coast of Japan as thousands of South Korean, Japanese, and U.S. troops, backed by warships and warplanes, are currently engaging in massive military exercises, including the deployment of the Navy SEALS that killed Osama Bin Laden. With no communication other than military posturing, Pyongyang is left to interpret Washington’s maneuvers as preparation for a pre-emptive strike. Given the political vacuum in South Korea following President Park Geun-hye’s impeachment, all tracks are heading towards one destination: war. At a Council of Foreign Relations discussion on March 13, Mary Beth Long, a former assistant secretary of defense, advocated for “aggressive movement”
By Kasia Anderson for Truth Dig – It’s been more than a week since the Trump administration abruptly switched out of “America first” mode and into intervention mode by dropping 59 Tomahawk missiles on a Syrian airfield. As Chris Hedges and Alternet journalists Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton argue in this episode of “On Contact With Chris Hedges,” the American public has been lacking something very important before—and after—that strike. Simply put, that would be context. More specifically, it comes down to crucial questions that are not being addressed publicly by members of the U.S. government or the mainstream media. Take these questions, for example: What’s the relationship between the regime change in Libya, encouraged and enabled by the Obama administration in 2011, and the ongoing refugee crisis? Or between that crisis and Brexit? Who are the White Helmets? How are all these questions related to the current conflict in Syria, and the role of the U.S. in that conflict? What role do Iran and Saudi Arabia, in addition to Russia, play in Washington’s stance toward Syrian President Bashar Assad?
By Staff of Fight Back News – Minneapolis. MN – With only 24 hour’s notice, Minneapolis peace groups organized an emergency response protest against the use a massive U.S. bomb in Afghanistan. Over 60 people joined the protest held on Friday, April 14. Several people just walking by or waiting for their bus stopped and joined the protest. People in cars, trucks and buses passing by waved and honked in support of the anti-war message. On Thursday, April 13, it was reported that the Trump administration and the Pentagon unleashed the most powerful U.S. bomb – the 20,000 pound GBU-43, referred to as the ‘mother of all bombs.’ The weapon was used in Afghanistan. Twin Cities anti-war groups saw this as a major escalation of the U.S. wars and consulted quickly to call an emergency protest against this latest U.S. military move. Organizers also raised the alarm about the growing danger of a new U.S. war in Korea. News reports had indicated that the Trump administration had plans for an imminent attack on Korea. The protest was in the West Bank neighborhood of Minneapolis. The neighborhood has many Somali immigrant families.
By Trevor Timm for The Guardian – Donald Trump’s missile strikes on Syria have attracted worldwide attention (and disgraceful plaudits) in recent days. But much less airtime is being given to his administration’s risky and increasingly barbaric military escalations on several other fronts across the world. Let’s put aside, for the time being, that the Trump administration openly admits it has no clue what it is going to do in Syria next. Or that key members of Congress and in the administration are clearly eager for “regime change” in Syria with no plan for the aftermath. And the fact that hardly anyone seems to care that Russia’s former president Dmitry Medvedev said over the weekend that Syrian strikes put the US “on the verge of a military clash with Russia”…
Following Friday’s cruise missile strike on a Syrian airbase, in retaliation for the chemical attack on Khan Sheikhoun earlier in the week, the alliance supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad made a joint statement threatening action in response to “any breach of red lines from whoever it is”. “What America waged in an aggression on Syria is a crossing of red lines. From now on we will respond with force to any aggressor or any breach of red lines from whoever it is and America knows our ability to respond well,” the group’s joint command centre said. Syria missile strike: Trump calls on ‘all civilised nations to end the slaughter and bloodshed’ US President Donald Trump said the strike on al Shayrat airbase, near Homs, with some 60 Tomahawk missiles was “representing the world”.
By Sam Husseini for Counter Punch – Many are claiming that Trump is being inconsistent in illegally attacking the Syrian regime with cruise missiles. After all, he had been saying the U.S. should focus on defeating ISIS, and now he seems to be going after Assad. But contradictions from Trump are a dime a dozen. A closer examination shows a deeper pattern of remarkable consistency in U.S. policy toward Syria that is far more critical than the perennial contradictions of politicians like Trump. To summarize U.S. actions and non-actions in terms of direct publicly announced U.S. air attacks targeting the Syrian regime: In 2013, when Assad was losing the war, Obama refrained from strikes that may well have ended his regime.
By Lolita C. Baldor for Associated Press – Week by week, country by country, the Pentagon is quietly seizing more control over warfighting decisions, sending hundreds more troops to war with little public debate and seeking greater authority to battle extremists across the Middle East and Africa. This week it was Somalia, where President Donald Trump gave the U.S. military more authority to conduct offensive airstrikes on al-Qaida-linked militants. Next week it could be Yemen, where military leaders want to provide more help for the United Arab Emirates’ battle against Iranian-backed rebels. Key decisions on Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan are looming, from ending troop number limits to loosening rules that guide commanders in the field. The changes in Trump’s first two months in office underscore his willingness to let the Pentagon manage its own day-to-day combat. Under the Obama administration, military leaders chafed about micromanagement that included commanders needing approval for routine tactical decisions about targets and personnel moves.
By Staff of United for Peace & Justice – 50 years ago, on April 4, 1967 at Riverside Church, in NYC, Martin Luther King delivered his powerful and most controversial speech, “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence”. No longer willing to keep silent about the immorality of the Vietnam War, knowing the intense criticism he would receive for speaking out, he nevertheless was compelled to speak, “I am here tonight because my conscience leaves me no other choice”. King spoke against war and its crippling effects on social progress. He denounced the death and destruction in Vietnam and the waste of billions on an immoral war. All this at the expense of the poor and those serving in the military.
By Ann Wright for Consurtium News – In my letter of resignation, I wrote of my deep concerns about Bush’s decision to attack Iraq and the predictable large number of civilian casualties from that military attack. But I also detailed my concerns on other issues: the lack of U.S. effort on resolving the Israel-Palestinian conflict, the U.S. failure to engage North Korea to curb nuclear and missile development, and the curtailment of civil liberties in the United States through the Patriot Act. Now, three Presidents into the Iraq War and other unsettled conflicts, the problems that I was concerned about in 2003 are even more dangerous a decade and a half later.
By Justin Raimondo for Anti-War – for This question is always hard to answer because they don’t call it the Hermit Kingdom for nothing. Very little comes out of the notoriously reclusive – and repressive – Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, and not that much gets in. But occasionally there is a burst of activity that, like the eruption of a volcano, is hard to miss – the recent launching of four ballistic missiles being one of them. The missiles landed in the Sea of Japan, about 190 miles off the Japanese coast, sending shockwaves throughout the region. Both Tokyo and Seoul protested, while the North Koreans characterized the action as a logical reaction to the perceived threat of imminent military action by the US and South Korea.
By Nadia Prupis for Common Dreams – Deployment may be signal that Trump administration will give Pentagon more flexibility in calling shots in fight. U.S. marines are in Syria to augment the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS) in the battle for Raqqa, the militant group’s de facto capital, having quietly arrived in the country weeks ago, defense officials confirmed to the Washington Post on Wednesday. About 400 new troops have been deployed overall, in addition to the 500 already on the ground. The plan had been in the works “for some time,” according to the Post’s Dan Lamothe and Thomas Gibbons-Neff.
By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Truthout – US political leaders and media pundits trumpet North Korea’s recent testing of missiles and nuclear weapons as a great threat. But the US mass media do not tell the whole story. Without the context of history and current events, the actions of North Korea look insane, but when put in context we find that the United States is pushing North Korea on this path. North Korea is really not a significant threat compared to what the United States is doing with nuclear weapons, the Asia Pivot and war games off the Korean coast. In this article, we seek greater understanding by putting ourselves in the place of North Korea. Historical Context: Korea, a Pawn for Big Power, Brutalized by the United States…
By Angela Ufheil for Urban Plains. Each year, the Andrews Air Force Base hosts an open house. Thousands visit the Maryland base to see the latest in aircraft technology. Pilots perform aerial stunts. Soldiers give talks. And in 1998, five activists, known as the Gods of Metal Plowshares Five, attacked a military bomber. An interpretation of Roman Catholicism allows for the destruction of property in the name of pacifism. That’s where the Plowshares movement came from. The movement aligned with Frank’s goals perfectly. When the first Plowshares action took place in 1980 — a group of eight damaged a nuclear warhead and poured blood onto documents and files — Frank knew he’d one day participate. Most Plowshares protests involved active resistance to war. In this case, active resistance isn’t just writing letters and making a few calls. It means trespassing on military property. It means pouring blood. It means breaking things.
By David Swanson for World Beyond War – This April 4th will be 100 years since the U.S. Senate voted to declare war on Germany and 50 since Martin Luther King Jr. spoke out against the war on Vietnam (49 since he was killed on that speech’s first anniversary). Events are being planned to help us try to finally learn some lessons, to move beyond, not just Vietnam, but war. That declaration of war on Germany was not for the war that makes up the single most common theme of U.S. entertainment and history. It was for the war that came before that one. This was the Great War, the war to end all wars, the war without which the conditions for the next war would not have existed. As well recounted in Michael Kazin’s War Against War: The American Fight for Peace 1914-1918, a major peace movement had the support of a great deal of the United States. When the war finally ended (after the U.S. had actually been in it for about 5% the length of the war on Afghanistan thus far) just about everybody regretted it.
By Nicolas J S Davies for Consortium News – Rep. Alcee Hastings has sponsored a bill to authorize President Trump to attack Iran. Hastings reintroduced H J Res 10, the “Authorization of Use of Force Against Iran Resolution” on Jan. 3, the first day of the new Congress after President Trump’s election. Fritzie Gaccione, the editor of the South Florida Progressive Bulletin noted that Iran is complying with the 2015 JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) and expressed amazement that Hastings has reintroduced this bill at a moment when the stakes are so high and Trump’s intentions so unclear.Hastings’s bill has come as a shock to constituents and people who have followed his career as a 13-term Democratic Member of Congress from South Florida. Miami Beach resident Michael Gruener called Hastings’s bill, “extraordinarily dangerous,” and asked, “Does Hastings even consider to whom he is giving this authorization?”