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Archive for May, 2011

Posted by Peace Action West on May 31st, 2011

From our partners at Peace Action West

In addition to the countless moral and financial reasons for ending the war in Afghanistan, smart politicians are recognizing the political reasons for taking a stand against the war. The strong showing in the House last week for the McGovern/Jones amendment shows that some of them are waking up to the intensity of antiwar sentiment in this country.

Rep. Raul Grijalva, Co-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and a pro-peace leader in the House, took to The American Prospect today to lay out the case for President Obama and Democrats to campaign on ending the war:

The planned withdrawal in July will be an important test of the administration’s commitment to winding down the war. The same poll showed that 73 percent of Americans think the U.S. should withdraw a “substantial number” of troops in July. Tellingly, only 39 percent believe this will happen. President Obama can reinforce the beliefs of voters who feel the government ignores their position, or he can give voters a reason to hope, and to vote, next year.

Some pundits think Afghanistan will be obscured by the economy and won’t play a big role in the 2012 election. I doubt it. Americans are connecting the dots between federal spending priorities and the pain they feel at home.

In 2012, key Democratic voters may find themselves lacking money to heat their homes through the winter, struggling to put their kids through college without Pell grants, or running out of unemployment benefits with no new job on the horizon. Meanwhile, more than 100 billion of their tax dollars — as much as $2 billion per al-Qaeda member in Afghanistan, by the administration’s own estimates — are going to a war they feel is not worth the cost. Tell me how that’s not a big political issue.

This is a far cry from the vision that got people pounding the pavement for Democrats in 2008. Party strategist Peter Fenn points out that a Democratic base demoralized by an unaffordable and seemingly never-ending war could pose a major turnout problem in 2012.

Read the rest here.

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Posted by Newshoggers.com on May 30th, 2011

From our partners at Newshoggers.com

By Robert Greenwald and Derrick Crowe

Memorial Day is a national holiday dedicated to remembering Americans killed in wartime. This year, unfortunately, we remember war dead who didn't have to die, and unless Congress and the president act, we'll remember more needless deaths next year. As of today, 1,516 Americans have died in the Afghanistan War, a conflict that the American people oppose and the continuation of which makes no sense.

Hidden from the front pages of newspapers and other media who can't be bothered to devote significant coverage to the longest war in U.S. history, these dead troops had names and lives before our national policies forced them to give them up.

For example, 23-year-old Army Pvt. Thomas C. Allers from Plainwell, Michigan, was remembered as a "great kid, very sweet," who enjoyed fishing with his parents. He died this week alongside Staff Sgt. Kristofferson B. Lorenzo, 33, of Chula Vista, California; Pfc. William S. Blevins, 21, of Sardinia, Ohio; and Pvt. Andrew M. Krippner, 20, of Garland, Texas.

These men didn't have to die. They died because our politicians sent them to Afghanistan over the continued objections of their countrymen. Their comrades will continue to die until those politicians bring them home.

In a bitter moment of irony this week, the U.S. House of Representatives narrowly failed to agree to amendments that would have reined in the brutal, futile war on the same day U.S. troops were suffering their worst losses in Afghanistan since Bin Laden's death. But, as Robert Naiman points out, even though McGovern/Jones amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act failed, the vote margin was so narrow (204-215) that it sent a strong signal to the president that Congress' patience with the constantly deteriorating and resource-hungry war was running out. As U.S. Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) put it, "[W]hen somebody comes up with the right amendment, it's going to pass."

The American people's patience ran out long ago, however. For months, poll after poll has shown rock-solid opposition to the Afghanistan War. Since last December, for example, Pew Research Center's polling has consistently shown that at least a plurality (hovering around 50 percent) want to "remove troops ASAP." With Osama Bin Laden dead and al-Qaeda driven from the country, it's time Congress and the president listened.

Today, we remember Americans killed during the Afghanistan War. Below are the names of the troops who died in that conflict just since last Memorial Day. Congress and the president need to act to end this war immediately so that next year's list is drastically shorter. Please take a moment to sign our petition to bring the troops home.

  • Abbate, Matthew
  • Aceves, Omar
  • Acosta, Rudy A.
  • Adams, Christian M.
  • Adamski III, Frank E.
  • Adkins, Charles L.
  • Adkinson III, Vinson B.
  • Aguilar, Amaru
  • Ahmed, Shane H.
  • Ainsworth, Jesse W.
  • Alcaraz, Raymond C.
  • Aleman, Nicholas J.
  • Allen, Justin B.
  • Allers, Thomas C.
  • Ambard, Philip D.
  • Amores, Jason G.
  • Anderson, Brian M.
  • Andrade, John E.
  • Andrews, Scott A.
  • Antonik, Christopher J.
  • Arizmendez, Marc A.
  • Arrechaga, Ofren
  • Ashlock, Vincent W.
  • Atim, Paul J.
  • Ausborn, Jeffrey O.
  • Ayube II, James A.
  • Bailey, Michael C.
  • Balduf, Kevin B.
  • Baldwin, Robert F.
  • Balthaser, Jesse M.
  • Bartelt, Justus S.
  • Barton, Robert N.
  • Bauer, Joseph A.
  • Beckerman, Michael J.
  • Benitez, Carlos A.
  • Bennedsen, Robert N.
  • Billingsley, Tramaine J.
  • Bishop, John C.
  • Bitner, Benjamin F.
  • Blevins, William S.
  • Board, Cody A.
  • Bock, Michael A.
  • Boelk, James D.
  • Bohall, Thomas A.
  • Bolen, Edward H.
  • Bovia, Joseph A.
  • Boyd, Christopher J.
  • Braggs, Randy R.
  • Brodeur, David L.
  • Broehm, Matthew J.
  • Brown, Tara R.
  • Brummund, Gavin R.
  • Bryant Jr., Frank D.
  • Bubacz, Andrew S.
  • Buenagua, Ardenjoseph A.
  • Buffalo, Loren M.
  • Buras, Michael J.
  • Burgess, Bryan A.
  • Burgess, Scott H.
  • Bury, Brandon C.
  • Buzinski, Keith T.
  • Byrd, Jordan
  • Cabacoy, Christopher F.
  • Cain, Justin J.
  • Calhoun Jr., Marvin R.
  • Callahan, Sean T.
  • Calo, Jason D.
  • Campbell, Joshua R.
  • Campbell, Karl A.
  • Carazo, Mario D.
  • Carpenter, Andrew P.
  • Carroll, Jacob C.
  • Carroll, Patrick R.
  • Carron, Paul D.
  • Carse, Nathan B.
  • Carver, Jacob R.
  • Carver, Ross S.
  • Caskey, Joseph D.
  • Castro, Andrew J.
  • Castro, John P.
  • Catherwood, Alec E.
  • Catlett, Matthew R.
  • Cemper, Joseph B.
  • Ceniceros, Irvin M.
  • Chapleau, Kristopher D.
  • Charte, Philip G. E.
  • Chihuahua, Shannon
  • Childers, Cody S.
  • Chisholm, Benjamen G.
  • Ciaramitaro, Dominic J.
  • Clark, Ryane G.
  • Clements, Chad D.
  • Coleman, Chad D.
  • Collins, Sean M.
  • Cooper, Keenan A.
  • Cornelius, Kevin M.
  • Corzine, Kenneth A.
  • Cox, Nathan W.
  • Craig, Adam D.
  • Creamer, Zainah C.
  • Creighton, Andrew J.
  • Crouse IV, William H.
  • Crow, Robert W.
  • Cruttenden, Aaron B.
  • Cueto, Kevin A.
  • Culbreth, Justin E.
  • Cullins, Joshua J.
  • Curtis, Jonathan M.
  • Cutsforth, Sean R.
  • Cuzzupe, Paul O.
  • Dawson, William Brandon
  • Day, David P.
  • Deans, Patrick D.
  • DeBoer, Daane Adam
  • Deluzio, Steven J.
  • Dennis, Jacob A.
  • Dennis, Preston J.
  • Dew, Victor A.
  • Deyoung, Matthew J.
  • Dickmyer, Adam L.
  • Dimock II, Joseph W.
  • Donahue, Max W.
  • Donnelly IV, William J.
  • Dumaw, Joshua R.
  • Dupont, Steven L.
  • Durham, Patrick K.
  • Eastman, Christopher L.
  • Edgerton, Donald R.
  • Emrick, Jordan B.
  • Estelle II, Raymond G.
  • Fabbri, Ralph J.
  • Fahey Jr., David R.
  • Fannin, Shawn D.
  • Farley, Derek J.
  • Fastuca, Louis R.
  • Faulkner, Jeremy P.
  • Fedder, Daniel L.
  • Feldhaus, Dustin J.
  • Fike, Robert J.
  • Filpi III, Vincent A.
  • Fisher, Zachary M.
  • Flannery, Sean M.
  • Fleming, Scott J.
  • Flores, Michael P.
  • Forester, Mark Andrew
  • Freeman, Ronald D.
  • Frison, Demetrius M.
  • Gammone III, Vincent E.
  • Gartner, Ryan A.
  • Garvin, Nathaniel D.
  • Gassen, Jacob A.
  • Geary, Michael E.
  • Gentz, Joel C.
  • George, Matthew Eric
  • Giese, Joseph R.
  • Gire, Joshua S.
  • Goeke, Christopher S.
  • Goetz, Dale A.
  • Goncalo, Ethan L.
  • Gonzalez, Edwin
  • Gould, Kristopher J.
  • Grady, Ryan J.
  • Green, Stacy A.
  • Greer, Kristopher D.
  • Grider, Ronald A.
  • Grochowiak, Casey J.
  • Hamilton, Adam S.
  • Hamski, Joseph J.
  • Hand, Andrew
  • Hardin, Ethan C.
  • Harley Jr., Willie J.
  • Harper, Andrew M.
  • Harris Jr., Larry D.
  • Harris, Devon J.
  • Harris, Todd M.
  • Harrison, Calvin B.
  • Harton, Joshua A.
  • Hennigan, Matthew R.
  • Hermanson, Matthew D.
  • Hermogino, Ken K.
  • Hernandez, Derek
  • Hernandez, Jose A.
  • Hess, David A
  • Hidalgo, Daren M.
  • High, IV, Charles M.
  • Hizon Rudolph R.
  • Holbrook, Jason E.
  • Holder, Kyle M.
  • Holley, Floyd E. C.
  • Holmes, David A.
  • Honeycutt Jr., Terry E.
  • Hoover, Bryan A.
  • Hotchkin, Gunnar R.
  • Howard, Abram L.
  • Htaik, Maung P.
  • Hughes, Bradley S.
  • Hunter, James P.
  • Huse, Dakota R.
  • Hutchins, Andrew
  • Ide, James R.
  • Infante, Jesse
  • Jackson, Francisco R.
  • Jackson, Joe M.
  • Jackson, Timothy M.
  • Jarrell, John H.
  • Jarvis, Barry E.
  • Javier Jr., Conrado D.
  • Jefferson, David
  • Jenkins, Gerald R.
  • Jirtle, Charles S.
  • Johnson, Daniel J.
  • Johnson, John C.
  • Johnson, Joseph D.
  • Johnson, Kalin C.
  • Johnson, Matthew J.
  • Johnson, Raymon L. A.
  • Johnson, Timothy L.
  • Jones, Adam D.
  • Justesen, Anthony T.
  • Justice, James, A.
  • Karch, Christopher N.
  • Kelly, Robert M.
  • Kennedy, Joseph A.
  • Kessler, Kevin J.
  • Kihm, John F.
  • King, Brandon M.
  • King, Jarrid L.
  • Kirspel Jr., Michael D.
  • Kirton, Brandon M.
  • Klusacek, Erick J.
  • Kramer, Aaron K.
  • Kridlo, Dale J.
  • Krippner, Andrew M.
  • Lammerts, Michael S.
  • Lancaster, Joshua T.
  • Land, Brett W.
  • Laningham, Ira B.
  • Lee, Roger
  • Lew, Harry
  • Lillard, Nathan E.
  • Lim, Daniel
  • Lindskog, Jameson
  • Locht, Gwendolyn A.
  • Looney, Andrew R.
  • Looney, Brendan J.
  • Lopez, Joseph C.
  • Loredo, Edwardo
  • Lorenzo, Kristofferson B.
  • Lugo, Martin A.
  • Lukeala, Joshua A.
  • Lutes, David C.
  • Lynch, Scott A.
  • Madden, Russell E.
  • Maher, Brent M.
  • Mahr, Michael C.
  • Malachowski, James M.
  • Maldonado, Alexis V.
  • Maldonado, Jose L.
  • Maldonado, Pedro A.
  • Marler, Donald M.
  • Martin, Shane R.
  • Martinez Jr., Rafael
  • Matteoni, Anthony D.
  • Mays, Chauncy R.
  • McAninch, Kenneth K.
  • McClellan, Jonah D.
  • McClimans, Joshua M.
  • McCluskey, Jason J.
  • McDaniel, Mecolus C.
  • McGahan, Michael E.
  • McGarrah, Clayton D.
  • McLain, Buddy W.
  • McLawhorn Jr., Willie A.
  • McLendon, David B.
  • McMahon, Jason T.
  • McNeley, Justin
  • Meari, Andrew N.
  • Meis, Christopher S.
  • Meletiche, Pedro A. Millet
  • Melton, Bradley L.
  • Mickler Jr., Donald R.
  • Mills Jr., Edward D.
  • Middleton, William K.
  • Miller, David T.
  • Miller, Paul J.
  • Milley, Scott F.
  • Miranda, Denis C.
  • Misener, Garrett A.
  • Mittler, Shaun M.
  • Mixon, Kelly J.
  • Moffitt, Thomas A.
  • Montoya, Diego M.
  • Mooldyk, Evan J.
  • Moon, Christopher J.
  • Moore, Benjamin G.
  • Mora, Conrad A.
  • Morrison, Donald Scott
  • Moses, Sonny Jade
  • Muhr, Shawn A.
  • Muller, Ian M.
  • Nagorski, Scott T.
  • Near, Robert J.
  • Necochea Jr., Kenneth E.
  • Neenan, Brendan P.
  • Negron, Carlos J.
  • Nettleton, Eric M.
  • Newlove, Jarod
  • Newman, Eric C.
  • Newman, Jaime C.
  • Newton, Robert J.
  • Nguyen, Tevan L.
  • Nichols, Donald L.
  • Nicol, Andrew C.
  • Novak, Adam J.
  • Noziska, Mark
  • Nylander, Nathan J.
  • O'Malley, Aracely Gonzalez
  • Oakes, Curtis A.
  • Officer, Justin A.
  • Oquin, James J.
  • Oratowski, Kevin E.
  • Ortega, William
  • Ortiz Rivera, Javier O.
  • Osborn, Benjamin D.
  • Osborne, Jerod H.
  • Ose, Joshua S.
  • Osman, Ergin V.
  • Osterman, Sean A.
  • Page, James A.
  • Pallares, Ronnie J.
  • Palmer, Benjamin J.
  • Pape, Kevin M.
  • Paranzino, Michael F.
  • Park, Benjamin J.
  • Park, Daehan
  • Patino IV, Claudio
  • Patton, Adam J.
  • Pearson, Brandon W.
  • Pedro, Brian J.
  • Peney, Jonathan K.
  • Peto, Jason D.
  • Petree, Jaysine P. S.
  • Pharris, Robert W.
  • Pickering, Brandon T.
  • Piercy, Brian F.
  • Pierre, Linda L.
  • Pietri, Jose M. Caraballo
  • Pilgeram, Jonathan A.
  • Plank, Michael G.
  • Plunk, Jared C.
  • Poulin, Dennis C.
  • Powell, Joshua D.
  • Powell, Matthew C.
  • Prentler, Joseph T.
  • Pressley, Cheziray
  • Pridham, Michael S.
  • Pyeatt, Lucas T.
  • Rabon Jr.,Luther W.
  • Ramirez, Joel A.
  • Ramsey, Matthew W.
  • Raney, Daniel G.
  • Rankel, John K.
  • Ransom, Charles A.
  • Rappuhn, Bradley D.
  • Rast, Benjamin D.
  • Raver, Bryn T.
  • Redding, Blaine E.
  • Reed, Jesse D.
  • Reeves, Jason A.
  • Reifert, Shane M.
  • Repkie, Robert K. L.
  • Richards, William T.
  • Ridgley Jr., Charles E.
  • Riley Jr., Brian D.
  • Rivadeneira, Juan L.
  • Roads, Tyler A.
  • Roberts, Cody A.
  • Roberts, Edgar N.
  • Robinson, David S.
  • Robinson, James C.
  • Rodewald, Joseph E.
  • Rodgers, Christopher B.
  • Rodriguez, Arturo E.
  • Rodriguez, Mario
  • Rodriguez, Ronald A.
  • Rogers, Jason A.
  • Rogers, John M.
  • Romig, Christian J.
  • Rosa, Anthony J.
  • Ross, Justin D.
  • Runkle, John M.
  • Rusk, Colton W.
  • Sadell, Charles M.
  • Saenz III, Jose L.
  • Salmon, Zachary S.
  • Sanchez, Daniel R.
  • Santiago, Anibal
  • Santos, Dave M.
  • Schlote, Robert C.
  • Schmalstieg, Justin E.
  • Schultz, Nathaniel J. A.
  • Scott, Lucas C.
  • Self, David D.
  • Senft, David P.
  • Serwinowski, Timothy G.
  • Shanfield, Derek L.
  • Shaw, Eric B.
  • Shoecraft, Justin B.
  • Silk, Brandon M.
  • Simmons, Anthony W.
  • Simonetta, Derek T.
  • Simpson, Mark A.
  • Sinkler, Amy R.
  • Sisson Jr., Robert C.
  • Smith, Adam O.
  • Smith, David C.
  • Smith, Jason T.
  • Smith, Jeremy D.
  • Snow, Deangelo B.
  • Snow, Jesse Adam
  • Sockalosky, Stephen C.
  • Solorzanovaldovinos, Diego A.
  • Solesbee, Kristoffer M.
  • Soltero, Omar
  • Southworth, Tristan H.
  • Sparks, John T.
  • Spaulding, Riley S.
  • Springer II, Clinton E.
  • Stack, James B.
  • Staggs, Austin G.
  • Standfest, Jeffrey R.
  • Stanley, Chase
  • Stansbery, Michael L.
  • Stanton, Jordan R.
  • Stark, Christopher G.
  • Stout, Christopher T.
  • Stout, Kyle B.
  • Swanson, Aaron M.
  • Swink, James Michael
  • Tabada, Brian
  • Tanner, Phillip C.
  • Tate, Jacob A.
  • Tate, Sheldon L.
  • Tawney, Ian M.
  • Taylor, Cynthia R.
  • Taylor, Johnathan W.
  • Theinert, Joseph J.
  • Thode, James E.
  • Thomas, Collin
  • Thomas, David W.
  • Thompson, Blair D.
  • Thibodeau, Christopher R.
  • Tilton, Jesse R.
  • Tompkins, Travis M.
  • Torbert Jr., Eric M.
  • Trueblood, Eric S.
  • Tucker, Lamarol J.
  • Turner, Eddie
  • Twigg, Joshua T.
  • Van Aalst, Jared N.
  • Vargas, Anthony
  • Vargas, Julio
  • Varnadore II, Terry L.
  • Vazquez, Frederik E.
  • Velazquez, Louie A. Ramos
  • Venetz Jr., Anthony
  • Vieyra, Barbara
  • Villacis, Jorge E.
  • Villanueva, Jonathan M.
  • Villarreal Jr., Jorge
  • Vinnedge, Phillip D.
  • Vogeler, Lance H.
  • Wade, Andrew P.
  • Wade, Chad S.
  • Wagstaff, Matthew G.
  • Wallace, Ellery R.
  • Walters, Zachary J.
  • Warren, Kyle R.
  • Warriner, Christian M.
  • Weaver, Jason M.
  • Weaver, Todd W.
  • Weigle, Dave J.
  • Weikert, Matthew W.
  • Weis, James M.
  • Welch III, Robert F.
  • Wells, Mark C.
  • West, Matthew J.
  • Whipple, Blake D.
  • White, Benjamin D.
  • White, Kevin W.
  • Whitehead, Joseph C.
  • Wilfahrt, Andrew C.
  • Williams, Leslie D.
  • Winters, Leston M.
  • Wisniewski, David A.
  • Wood, Edwin C.
  • Wren, Charles J.
  • Wright, Christopher S.
  • Wrightsman, Joe L.
  • Wyatt, Derek A.
  • Yates, Eric
  • Young, James C.
  • Zaehringer III, Frank R.
  • Zimmerman, James R.

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Posted by Derrick Crowe on May 30th, 2011

By Robert Greenwald and Derrick Crowe

Memorial Day is a national holiday dedicated to remembering Americans killed in wartime. This year, unfortunately, we remember war dead who didn’t have to die, and unless Congress and the president act, we’ll remember more needless deaths next year. As of today, 1,516 Americans have died in the Afghanistan War, a conflict that the American people oppose and the continuation of which makes no sense.

Hidden from the front pages of newspapers and other media who can’t be bothered to devote significant coverage to the longest war in U.S. history, these dead troops had names and lives before our national policies forced them to give them up.

For example, 23-year-old Army Pvt. Thomas C. Allers from Plainwell, Michigan, was remembered as a “great kid, very sweet,” who enjoyed fishing with his parents. He died this week alongside Staff Sgt. Kristofferson B. Lorenzo, 33, of Chula Vista, California; Pfc. William S. Blevins, 21, of Sardinia, Ohio; and Pvt. Andrew M. Krippner, 20, of Garland, Texas.

These men didn’t have to die. They died because our politicians sent them to Afghanistan over the continued objections of their countrymen. Their comrades will continue to die until those politicians bring them home.

In a bitter moment of irony this week, the U.S. House of Representatives narrowly failed to agree to amendments that would have reined in the brutal, futile war on the same day U.S. troops were suffering their worst losses in Afghanistan since Bin Laden’s death. But, as Robert Naiman points out, even though McGovern/Jones amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act failed, the vote margin was so narrow (204-215) that it sent a strong signal to the president that Congress’ patience with the constantly deteriorating and resource-hungry war was running out. As U.S. Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) put it, “[W]hen somebody comes up with the right amendment, it’s going to pass.”

The American people’s patience ran out long ago, however. For months, poll after poll has shown rock-solid opposition to the Afghanistan War. Since last December, for example, Pew Research Center’s polling has consistently shown that at least a plurality (hovering around 50 percent) want to “remove troops ASAP.” With Osama Bin Laden dead and al-Qaeda driven from the country, it’s time Congress and the president listened.

Today, we remember Americans killed during the Afghanistan War. Below are the names of the troops who died in that conflict just since last Memorial Day. Congress and the president need to act to end this war immediately so that next year’s list is drastically shorter. Please take a moment to sign our petition to bring the troops home.

  • Abbate, Matthew
  • Aceves, Omar
  • Acosta, Rudy A.
  • Adams, Christian M.
  • Adamski III, Frank E.
  • Adkins, Charles L.
  • Adkinson III, Vinson B.
  • Aguilar, Amaru
  • Ahmed, Shane H.
  • Ainsworth, Jesse W.
  • Alcaraz, Raymond C.
  • Aleman, Nicholas J.
  • Allen, Justin B.
  • Allers, Thomas C.
  • Ambard, Philip D.
  • Amores, Jason G.
  • Anderson, Brian M.
  • Andrade, John E.
  • Andrews, Scott A.
  • Antonik, Christopher J.
  • Arizmendez, Marc A.
  • Arrechaga, Ofren
  • Ashlock, Vincent W.
  • Atim, Paul J.
  • Ausborn, Jeffrey O.
  • Ayube II, James A.
  • Bailey, Michael C.
  • Balduf, Kevin B.
  • Baldwin, Robert F.
  • Balthaser, Jesse M.
  • Bartelt, Justus S.
  • Barton, Robert N.
  • Bauer, Joseph A.
  • Beckerman, Michael J.
  • Benitez, Carlos A.
  • Bennedsen, Robert N.
  • Billingsley, Tramaine J.
  • Bishop, John C.
  • Bitner, Benjamin F.
  • Blevins, William S.
  • Board, Cody A.
  • Bock, Michael A.
  • Boelk, James D.
  • Bohall, Thomas A.
  • Bolen, Edward H.
  • Bovia, Joseph A.
  • Boyd, Christopher J.
  • Braggs, Randy R.
  • Brodeur, David L.
  • Broehm, Matthew J.
  • Brown, Tara R.
  • Brummund, Gavin R.
  • Bryant Jr., Frank D.
  • Bubacz, Andrew S.
  • Buenagua, Ardenjoseph A.
  • Buffalo, Loren M.
  • Buras, Michael J.
  • Burgess, Bryan A.
  • Burgess, Scott H.
  • Bury, Brandon C.
  • Buzinski, Keith T.
  • Byrd, Jordan
  • Cabacoy, Christopher F.
  • Cain, Justin J.
  • Calhoun Jr., Marvin R.
  • Callahan, Sean T.
  • Calo, Jason D.
  • Campbell, Joshua R.
  • Campbell, Karl A.
  • Carazo, Mario D.
  • Carpenter, Andrew P.
  • Carroll, Jacob C.
  • Carroll, Patrick R.
  • Carron, Paul D.
  • Carse, Nathan B.
  • Carver, Jacob R.
  • Carver, Ross S.
  • Caskey, Joseph D.
  • Castro, Andrew J.
  • Castro, John P.
  • Catherwood, Alec E.
  • Catlett, Matthew R.
  • Cemper, Joseph B.
  • Ceniceros, Irvin M.
  • Chapleau, Kristopher D.
  • Charte, Philip G. E.
  • Chihuahua, Shannon
  • Childers, Cody S.
  • Chisholm, Benjamen G.
  • Ciaramitaro, Dominic J.
  • Clark, Ryane G.
  • Clements, Chad D.
  • Coleman, Chad D.
  • Collins, Sean M.
  • Cooper, Keenan A.
  • Cornelius, Kevin M.
  • Corzine, Kenneth A.
  • Cox, Nathan W.
  • Craig, Adam D.
  • Creamer, Zainah C.
  • Creighton, Andrew J.
  • Crouse IV, William H.
  • Crow, Robert W.
  • Cruttenden, Aaron B.
  • Cueto, Kevin A.
  • Culbreth, Justin E.
  • Cullins, Joshua J.
  • Curtis, Jonathan M.
  • Cutsforth, Sean R.
  • Cuzzupe, Paul O.
  • Dawson, William Brandon
  • Day, David P.
  • Deans, Patrick D.
  • DeBoer, Daane Adam
  • Deluzio, Steven J.
  • Dennis, Jacob A.
  • Dennis, Preston J.
  • Dew, Victor A.
  • Deyoung, Matthew J.
  • Dickmyer, Adam L.
  • Dimock II, Joseph W.
  • Donahue, Max W.
  • Donnelly IV, William J.
  • Dumaw, Joshua R.
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Posted by The Agonist on May 29th, 2011

From our partners at The Agonist

May 29

BBC

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has forcefully condemned the killing of 14 civilians in the south-west of the country in a suspected Nato air strike.

Mr Karzai said his government had repeatedly asked the US to stop raids which end up killing Afghan civilians and this was his “last warning”.

A Nato spokesman said a team had been sent to Helmand province to investigate the attack carried out on Saturday.

Afghan officials say all those killed were women and children.

The strike took place in Nawzad district after a US Marines base came under attack.

The air strike, targeted at insurgents, struck two civilian homes, killing two women and 12 children, reports say.

“The president called this incident a great mistake and the murdering of Afghanistan’s children and women, and on behalf of the Afghan people gives his last warning to the US troops and US officials in this regard,” his office said.

The White House said it shared Mr Karzai’s concerns and took them “very seriously”

** Afghan official: NATO airstrike kills 14
** Philly museum displays war rugs from Afghanistan ~ Pics here, also at News Works(above pic)
** ReThink Afghanistan
** Taliban’s new tactic: High-profile inside jobs
** Pak MPs to join their counterparts in Parliamentarians’ Dialogue in Kabul

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Posted by Peace Action West on May 27th, 2011

From our partners at Peace Action West

Today the House voted on a slew of amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act, a bill authorizing hundreds of billions of dollars for the Pentagon and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for fiscal year 2012. This provided a great opportunity for our allies in Congress to work to impact key issues like military spending, the wars in Afghanistan and Libya, nuclear weapons and more.

The biggest story out the House today is the growth in support for ending the war in Afghanistan. Efforts to end the war in Afghanistan got more votes than ever before, and key members of the Democratic leadership Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer spoke in favor of the McGovern/Jones amendment to set a timeline for withdrawal. This sends a clear message to the administration at a critical time. The Pentagon is pushing for an insignificant withdrawal in July, and President Obama needs strong support to move toward a serious, sizable withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The Afghanistan amendments voted on were:

-       The McGovern/Jones amendment, which would have required the president to develop an exit strategy for the war in Afghanistan with a clear end date and report back to Congress. While this amendment just missed the number of votes needed for passage, this is the strongest showing yet, with 42 more votes than a similar amendment received last year. All but 8 Democrats supported it and 26 Republicans voted in favor. Failed, 204-215.

-       The Chaffetz/Welch amendment called for withdrawing all US ground troops from Afghanistan except for a small number for targeted counterterrorism operations. The Secretary of Defense would have been required to report on the withdrawal plan to Congress in 60 days.  Both of these amendments had lead sponsors from both sides of the aisle. Failed, 123-294.

US military involvement beyond Afghanistan came up as well:

-       Freshman Republican Rep. Justin Amash joined with a bipartisan group to offer an amendment to strike a section of the bill that would have greatly expanded the administration’s authorization to use military force against terrorists. Republicans added this language in committee, despite the fact that the administration didn’t even want expanded authorization. It’s not surprising that the amendment failed in the Republican House, but the Senate is unlikely to support the language, and we will work to keep it out of the final version of the bill. Failed, 187-234.

-       Rep. John Conyers offered an amendment prohibiting ground troops in Libya, which passed overwhelmingly. Passed, 416-5.

There were also several attempts to cut unnecessary military spending:

-       Rep. Jared Polis offered an amendment to reduce US troop levels in Europe by 30,000 this year and an additional 10,000 each year for the next five years. Failed, 96-323.

-       Rep. Lynn Woolsey tried to cut $2.6 billion for buying V-22 Osprey aircraft, an aircraft Time magazine called “a flying shame” and noted was so bad that even Dick Cheney wanted to cancel it. Failed, 83-334.

-       Rep. Jan Schakowsky offered an amendment that would have frozen Pentagon spending at current levels until the Pentagon could successfully pass an audit. Failed by voice vote.

-       Rep. Loretta Sanchez tried to cut $100 million for missile defense that had been added by Republicans in the Armed Services Committee. Failed, 184-234.

Nuclear weapons issues also came up in some amendments that were adopted by voice votes. Rep. Sanchez offered successful amendments to require a report on Russia’s nuclear forces and New START and to increase funding for nuclear nonproliferation programs.

Thank you to all of you who participated in the national call-in day to tell your representatives to vote in favor of these amendments to end the war. With the July decision coming up, we need to keep the pressure on, so please take a moment to tell Congress why you want to end the war, and we’ll send your message along with a toy soldier to DC.

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Posted by The Agonist on May 26th, 2011

From our partners at The Agonist

May 26

BBC – Seven Nato troops have been killed by a roadside bomb in southern Afghanistan, the International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) said.

The incident is the deadliest single attack suffered by foreign troops in a month. Isaf did not identify the nationalities of those killed.

Earlier, a Nato helicopter crashed in eastern Afghanistan, killing one soldier, officials said.

Almost 200 foreign troops have been killed in the country so far this year.

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Posted by Derrick Crowe on May 25th, 2011

With Memorial Day coming up, we should take a moment to consider something that’s gone largely unremarked in the mainstream media: more than 1,500 troops have now died in a war the American people oppose. That’s a national tragedy, and it’s one Congress can mitigate by demanding a date certain for troop withdrawals and an exit strategy to get troops home.

Sign Rethink Afghanistan’s petition to tell Congress to pass the Afghanistan Exit and Accountability Act.

It’s worth noting that the backers of the administration’s war policies swore to us that their plan would lead to fewer troop deaths, not more. Back in 2009, when the Pentagon was putting on a full-court press in support of massive troop escalations in Afghanistan, Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen said:

“[O]ur extended security presence must — and will — improve security for the Afghan people and limit both future civilian and military casualties.” –Admiral Mike Mullen, Congressional Testimony, December 2, 2009.

Suffice it to say, that promise was false. According to iCasualties.org:

  • In Jan-May 2009, there were 61 U.S. troop deaths in the Afghanistan War.
  • In the same period in 2010, as escalations began, there were 141.
  • In the same period this year, there were 136.

In other words, comparing the year so far with the same period in 2009, before the escalations began in earnest, we can see that despite Mullen’s promise, troop deaths are double what they were before. This is just one of a string of broken promises made by war backers to the American people, and as we sail past the 1,500-troop-death milestone and careen toward the 2,000th death, it’s time we said, “Enough is enough.”

Today, Congress is considering the National Defense Authorization Act for 2012, a piece of legislation that outlines a budget for our nation’s military. One of the amendments to the bill that will be considered as early as this afternoon is based on U.S. Reps. Jim McGovern’s (D-Mass.) and Walter Jones’ (R-N.C.) Afghanistan Exit and Accountability Act (.pdf), which will require:

  1. A plan and time-frame on accelerated transition of military operations to Afghan authorities;
  2. A plan and time-frame on negotiations leading to a political solution and reconciliation in Afghanistan; and
  3. A new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on al-Qaeda.

The McGovern/Jones amendment won’t end the war by itself, but it’s a necessary first step to reining in a war policy that up to this point has utterly failed to deliver on the promises of its backers to the American people. Supporters of Rethink Afghanistan and other organizations are urging Congress to pass this amendment this week, and the vote may happen as early as today. If you want the war to end, please use our petition to send a note to your representative immediately.

This weekend, many Americans will mark Memorial Day at barbecues or other patriotic events, but thousands of families will spend the day dealing with the heartbreaking absence of a loved one. Others will spend the day like they spent every day for the last decade: hoping there’s not a phone call or a knock at the door to tell them their deployed family member won’t be coming home.

This should be the last Memorial Day we put military families through this agony for a war that’s not making us safer. Watch our new video and then sign our petition to tell your Member of Congress why the troops should come home from Afghanistan.

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Posted by Just Foreign Policy on May 24th, 2011

From our partners at Just Foreign Policy

The NDAA amendments approved by the Rules Committee are posted here:

http://democrats.rules.house.gov/112/rule/112_hr1540_rule2.pdf

Unfortunately, this document is not searchable.

So, I made another document, a Word file, with just the amendments I thought were of particular interest, marking them STRONGLY SUPPORT, SUPPORT, or OPPOSE. “Strongly Support” means we put it in our action alert: the McGovern-Jones amendment requiring a plan for accelerated withdrawal with an end date; the Conyers amendment barring ground troops from Libya (which, by the way, has quite a few co-sponsors); the Amash-Lee amendment striking the “permanent war” authorization.

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/sites/default/files/interesting_amendme…

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Posted by Peace Action West on May 24th, 2011

From our partners at Peace Action West

The House is voting this week on amendments to end the war in Afghanistan. This is a huge opportunity to influence the contentious debate within the White House on how many troops to withdraw in July.

Call Rep. Barbara Lee at 1-888-231-9276 to support amendments to end the war in Afghanistan today. Then click here to let me know how it went.

Much of the work we’ve been doing over the last several months has been a build up to these votes. Many of our allies in Congress, like Reps. Lee, McGovern and Garamendi, will offer amendments based on bills we’ve asked you to support.

Strong votes in favor of these amendments will send a clear message to President Obama: Congress expects you to act end to the war. That’s why groups across the country are coordinating to flood Congress with your calls this week.

Call Rep. Barbara Lee at 1-888-231-9276 right now. Add your personal thoughts to this sample message:

My name is _____ and I live at ________. I am calling to urge Rep. ______ to vote in favor of amendments to end the war in Afghanistan this week.

Then, click here to report back on your call.

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Posted by alexthurston on May 24th, 2011

Playing the China Card
Has the Obama Administration Miscalculated in Pakistan?
By Dilip Hiro

Washington often acts as if Pakistan were its client state, with no other possible patron but the United States. It assumes that Pakistani leaders, having made all the usual declarations about upholding the “sacred sovereignty” of their country, will end up yielding to periodic American demands, including those for a free hand in staging drone attacks in its tribal lands bordering Afghanistan. This is a flawed assessment of Washington’s long, tortuous relationship with Islamabad.   

A recurring feature of the Obama administration’s foreign policy has been its failure to properly measure the strengths (as well as weaknesses) of its challengers, major or minor, as well as its friends, steadfast or fickle. To earlier examples of this phenomenon, one may now add Pakistan.

That country has an active partnership with another major power, potentially a viable substitute for the U.S. should relations with the Obama administration continue to deteriorate.  The Islamabad-Washington relationship has swung from close alliance in the Afghan anti-Soviet jihad years of the 1980s to unmistaken alienation in the early 1990s, when Pakistan was on the U.S. watch list as a state supporting international terrorism.  Relations between Islamabad and Beijing, on the other hand, have been consistently cordial for almost three decades.  Pakistan’s Chinese alliance, noted fitfully by the U.S., is one of its most potent weapons in any future showdown with the Obama administration.

Another factor, also poorly assessed, affects an ongoing war.  While, in the 1980s, Pakistan acted as the crucial conduit for U.S. aid and weapons to jihadists in Afghanistan, today it could be an obstacle to the delivery of supplies to America’s military in Afghanistan.  It potentially wields a powerful instrument when it comes to the efficiency with which the U.S. and its NATO allies fight the Taliban. It controls the supply lines to the combat forces in that landlocked country.

Taken together, these two factors make Pakistan a far more formidable and independent force than U.S. policymakers concede publicly or even privately. 

The Supply Line as Jugular 

Angered at the potential duplicity of Pakistan in having provided a haven to Osama bin Laden for years, the Obama administration seems to be losing sight of the strength of the cards Islamabad holds in its hand.

To supply the 100,000 American troops now in Afghanistan, as well as 50,000 troops from other NATO nations and more than 100,000 employees of private contractors, the Pentagon must have unfettered access to that country through its neighbors. Among the six countries adjoining Afghanistan, only three have seaports, with those of China far too distant to be of practical use. Of the remaining two, Iran — Washington’s number one enemy in the region — is out. That places Pakistan in a unique position.

Currently about three-quarters of the supplies for the 400-plus U.S. and coalition bases in Afghanistan — from gigantic Bagram Air Base to tiny patrol outposts — go overland via Pakistan or through its air space. These shipments include almost all the lethal cargo and most of the fuel needed by U.S.-led NATO forces. On their arrival at Karachi, the only major Pakistani seaport, these supplies are transferred to trucks, which travel a long route to crossing points on the Afghan border. Of these, two are key: Torkham and Chaman.

Torkham, approached through the famed Khyber Pass, leads directly to Kabul, the Afghan capital, and Bagram Air Base, the largest U.S. military facility in the country. Approached through the Bolan Pass in the southwestern Pakistani province of Baluchistan, Chaman provides a direct route to Kandahar Air Base, the largest U.S. military camp in southern Afghanistan.

Operated by some 4,000 Pakistani drivers and their helpers, nearly 300 trucks and oil tankers pass through Torkham and another 200 through Chaman daily. Increasing attacks on these convoys by Taliban-allied militants in Pakistan starting in 2007 led the Pentagon into a desperate search for alternative supply routes.

After Empire by Dilip HiroWith the help of NATO member Latvia, as well as Russia, and Uzbekistan, Pentagon planners succeeded in setting up the Northern Distribution Network (NDN). It is a 3,220-mile railroad link between the Latvian port of Riga and the Uzbek border city of Termez.  It is, in turn, connected by a bridge over the Oxus River to the Afghan town of Hairatan. The Uzbek government, however, allows only non-lethal goods to cross its territory. In addition, the Termez-Hairatan route can handle no more than 130 tons of cargo a day. The expense of shipping goods over such a long distance puts a crimp in the Pentagon’s $120 billion annual budget for the Afghan War, and couldn’t possibly replace the Pakistani supply routes.

There is also the Manas Transit Center leased by the U.S. from the government of Kyrgyzstan in December 2001. Due to its proximity to Bagram Air Base, its main functions are transiting coalition forces in and out of Afghanistan, and storing jet fuel for mid-air refueling of U.S. and NATO planes in Afghanistan.

The indispensability of Pakistan’s land routes to the Pentagon has given its government significant leverage in countering excessive diplomatic pressure from or continued violations of its sovereignty by Washington.  Last September, for instance, after a NATO helicopter gunship crossed into Pakistan from Afghanistan in hot pursuit of insurgents and killed three paramilitaries of the Pakistani Frontier Corps in the tribal agency of Kurram, Islamabad responded quickly.

It closed the Khyber Pass route to NATO trucks and oil tankers, which stranded many vehicles en route, giving Pakistani militants an opportunity to torch them. And they did. Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, issued a written apology to his Pakistani counterpart General Ashhaq Parvez Kayani, conveying his “most sincere condolences for the regrettable loss of your soldiers killed and wounded on 30 September.” Anne Patterson, the U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, issued an apology for the “terrible accident,” explaining that the helicopter crew had mistaken the Pakistani paratroopers for insurgents. Yet Pakistan waited eight days before reopening the Torkham border post.

Pakistan’s Other Cards: Oil, Terrorism, and China

In this region of rugged terrain, mountain passes play a crucial geopolitical role. When China and Pakistan began negotiating the demarcation of their frontier after the 1962 Sino-Indian War (itself rooted in a border dispute), Beijing insisted on having the Khunjerab Pass in Pakistani-administered Kashmir. Islamabad obliged. As a result, the 2,000-square-mile territory it ceded to China as part of the Sino-Pakistan Border and Trade Agreement in March 1963 included that mountain pass.

That agreement, in turn, led to the building of the 800-mile-long Karkoram Highway linking Kashgar in China’s Xinjiang Region and the Pakistani town of Abbottabad, now a household name in America. That road sealed a strategic partnership between Beijing and Islamabad that has strong geopolitical, military, and economic components.

Both countries share the common aim of frustrating India’s aspiration to become the regional superpower of South Asia. In addition, the Chinese government views Pakistan as a crucial ally in its efforts to acquire energy security in the coming decades.

Given Pakistan’s hostility toward India since its establishment in 1947, Beijing made an effort to strengthen that country militarily and economically following its 1962 war with India. After Delhi exploded a “nuclear device” in 1974, China actively aided Islamabad’s nuclear-weapons program.  In March 1984, its nuclear testing site at Lop Nor became the venue for a successful explosion of a nuclear bomb assembled by Pakistan. Later, it passed on crucial missile technology to Islamabad.

During this period, China emerged as the main supplier of military hardware to Pakistan. Today, nearly four-fifths of Pakistan’s main battle tanks, three-fifths of its warplanes, and three-quarters of its patrol boats and missile crafts are Chinese-made. Given its limited resources, Islamabad cannot afford to buy expensive American or Western arms and has therefore opted for cheaper, less advanced Chinese weapons in greater numbers. Moreover, Pakistan and China have an ongoing co-production project involving the manufacture of JF-17 Thunder fighter aircraft, similar to America’s versatile F-16.

As a consequence, over the past decades a pro-China lobby has emerged in the Pakistani officer corps. It was therefore not surprising when, in the wake of the American raid in Abbottabad, Pakistani military officials let it be known that they might allow the Chinese to examine the rotor of the stealth version of the damaged Black Hawk helicopter left behind by the U.S. Navy SEALS.  That threat, though reportedly not carried out, was a clear signal to the U.S.: if it persisted in violating Pakistan’s sovereignty and applying too much pressure, the Pakistanis might choose to align even more closely with Washington’s rival in Asia, the People’s Republic of China. To underline the point, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani traveled to Beijing two weeks after the Abbottabad air raid.

Gilani’s three-day visit involved the signing of several Sino-Pakistani agreements on trade, finance, science, and technology.  The highpoint was his meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao. Following that summit, an official spokesperson announced Beijing’s decision to urge Chinese enterprises to strengthen their economic ties with Pakistan by expanding investments there.

Among numerous Sino-Pakistani projects in the pipeline is the building of a railroad between Havelian in Pakistan and Kashgar in China, a plan approved by the two governments in July 2010. This is expected to be the first phase of a far more ambitious undertaking to connect Kashgar with the Pakistani port of Gwadar.

A small fishing village on the Arabian Sea coastline of Baluchistan, Gwadar was transformed into a modern seaport in 2008 by the China Harbor Engineering Company Group, a subsidiary of the China Communications Construction Company Group, a giant state-owned corporation. The port is only 330 miles from the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Persian Gulf through which flows much of China’s supplies of Middle Eastern oil.  In the wake of the Gilani visit, China has reportedly agreed to take over future operation of the port.

More than a decade ago, China’s leaders decided to reduce the proportion of its oil imports transported by tanker because of the vulnerability of the shipping lanes from the Persian Gulf and East Africa to its ports. These pass through the narrow Malacca Strait, which is guarded by the U.S. Navy. In addition, the 3,500-mile-long journey — to be undertaken by 60% of China’s petroleum imports — is expensive. By having a significant part of its imported oil shipped to Gwadar and then via rail to Kashgar, China would reduce its shipping costs while securing most of its petroleum imports. 

At home, the Chinese government remains wary of the Islamist terrorism practiced by Muslim Uighurs agitating for an independent East Turkestan in Xinjiang.  Some of them have links to al-Qaeda. Islamabad has long been aware of this. In October 2003, the Pakistani military killed Hasan Mahsum, leader of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, and in August 2004, the Pakistani and Chinese armies conducted a joint anti-terrorism exercise in Xinjiang.

Almost seven years later, Beijing coupled its satisfaction over the death of Osama bin Laden with praise for Islamabad for pursuing what it termed a “vigorous” policy in combatting terrorism. In stark contrast to the recent blast of criticism from Washington about Pakistan’s role in the war on terrorism, coupled with congressional threats to drastically reduce American aid, China laid out a red carpet for Gilani on his visit.

Referring to the “economic losses” Pakistan had suffered in its ongoing counter-terrorism campaigns, the Chinese government called upon the international community to support the Pakistani regime in its attempts to “restore national stability and development in its economy.”

The Chinese response to bin Laden’s killing and its immediate aftermath in Pakistan should be a reminder to the Obama administration: in its dealings with Pakistan in pursuit of its Afghan goals, it has a weaker hand than it imagines.  Someday, Pakistan may block those supply lines and play the China card to Washington’s dismay. 

Dilip Hiro is the author of 32 books, the latest being After Empire: The Birth of A Multipolar World (Nation Books). His upcoming book on jihadists in South Asia will be published by Yale University Press later in the year.

Copyright 2011 Dilip Hiro

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