June 2011

Press Release: U.S. Deaths in Afghan War Under Obama to Reach 1,000 this Week

Just Foreign Policy distributed a press release today announcing an imminent milestone for the Afghanistan war under the Obama administration: within the next few days, 1,000 troops will have died in Afghanistan under Obama's watch. Post and watch our counter and read our press release.

In Wake of Token Drawdown Announcement, U.S. Deaths in Afghanistan Under Obama Set to Reach 1,000

US Deaths in Afghanistan: Obama vs Bush. Click here to learn more.

Only a week after the President stood before the nation to proclaim the successes of the war in Afghanistan under his guardianship, the Obama strategy is set to reap one of its most grisly rewards: within the next few days, 1,000 U.S. troops will have died in Afghanistan since President Obama took office, according to iCasualties.org and our counter, "U.S. Deaths in Afghanistan: Obama vs. Bush" (right). By comparison, 575 U.S. soldiers died in Afghanistan under President Bush. In other words, after managing the war for a mere quarter of its duration, Obama is responsible for nearly two-thirds of U.S. casualties in Afghanistan.

What is that I hear? Ah, it's a groan coming from up in the balcony. I believe they're saying, “of course more troops were going to die under President Obama's Afghanistan strategy than President Bush's. More troops means more deaths. It was only because Bush ignored Afghanistan that Obama had to expand the U.S.'s troop commitment in the country. And now you're blaming him for it?”

With continued threats to Gaza flotilla, State Department warns participants, not Israel

With continued threats coming from Israel, a complaint traced to an Israeli organization aimed at docking the U.S. boat indefinitely, and the reported sabotage of another flotilla ship, the State Department ought to say or do something to avert the possibility of undeserved violence toward U.S. citizens sailing to Gaza.

But, of course, to date, the State Department has done just the opposite.

Last week, the State Department issued a travel warning to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza that sounded more fit for the Democratic Republic of the Congo than a close U.S. ally and purported bastion of freedom and democracy. The warning states,

A Reaction to the President's Afghanistan Announcement

Hey guys, did you all hear? We're getting out of Afghanistan! Yes, finally, after nearly ten years, over 1,500 American lives, countless Afghan (and Pakistani) lives, and hundreds of billions of dollars, the President says we're pulling our forces out and the war is going to end! Hold on, I have the quote right here:

… starting next month, we will be able to remove 10,000 of our troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year, and we will bring home a total of 33,000 troops by next summer, fully recovering the surge I announced at West Point.

Wait a second—what did he say? Only 10,000 troops? But, does he know that we have over 100,000 in Afghanistan? And that there are less than 100 al Qaeda left in the country?

Let's do the math: 10,000 out by the end of this year leaves us with over 90,000 troops in Afghanistan. Another 23,000 by summer 2012 brings us down to roughly 68,000. There were about 34,000 U.S. forces in Afghanistan when Obama took office. So, one year from now, the President's proposed drawdown will leave us with double the amount of U.S. troops in Afghanistan than were there when he got involved in this whole mess. Is this sounding less like a withdrawal plan and more like a bait and switch to anyone else?

And then the remaining 68,000 American forces … wait, what is the plan for the rest?

Six members of Congress ask Secretary Clinton to ‘ensure the safety of all American citizens on board the Audacity of Hope’

For Immediate Release
June 27, 2011

Media Contacts:
Athens/en route to Gaza: Robert Naiman, U.S. Mobile: (217) 979-2857
Washington, DC: Kate Gould, (202) 657-4882 press [at] justforeignpolicy.org

WASHINGTON, DC: On Friday, June 24, six members of Congress wrote to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, asking her to "do everything in your power" to help "ensure the safety of all American citizens on board The Audacity of Hope." The letter, which was initiated by Representative Dennis Kucinich, notes The Audacity of Hope's willingness to open its cargo to "international inspection" and their commitment to "nonviolence and the tenets of international law."

The letter was signed by Representatives Dennis Kucinich [OH-10], William Lacy Clay [MO-1], Sam Farr [CA-17], Bob Filner [CA-51], Eleanor Holmes Norton [DC], and Barbara Lee [CA-9].

The letter is viewable online below or here.

Robert Naiman, Policy Director of Just Foreign Policy, issued the following response from Athens, Greece, where he is preparing to sail to Gaza as a passenger on The Audacity of Hope:

"This letter is historic, marking the first time members of Congress have publicly expressed concern for the safety of the U.S. passengers aboard The Audacity of Hope. This statement runs in stark contrast to Secretary of State Clinton's false accusation that we are trying to ‘provoke action by entering into Israeli waters', when in fact we have every intention of sailing to Gaza peacefully and avoiding Israeli waters entirely. We hope Secretary Clinton heeds this request from Congress and speaks out against threats from the Israeli authorities to attack us in our effort to break the illegal blockade on the Gaza Strip."

House likely to vote on anti-Libya war Friday, while Senate delays pro-Libya war bill

While national attention is on the war in Afghanistan after the President's announcement last night to only withdraw 33,000 U.S. troops by the end of next summer, Congress is gearing up again to debate another U.S.-led war--in Libya.

While there is resounding, and ever growing, opposition to the war in Libya in the House, the loudest voices from the Senate have, for the most part, been supportive of the war, though even that could be changing soon.

The House is expected to vote on a bill tomorrow that would cut off funds for U.S. participation in "military hostilities" in Libya.

Rep. Howard McKeon, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, explained that the measure, which is still being drafted, would ban funding for U.S. participation in combat missions such as drone attacks in the NATO-led air war.

"It would not have funding for hostilities. The drones couldn't be used for bombing," McKeon said.

Meanwhile, Senator John Kerry and Senator John McCain continue to try to gain support for their resolution which would authorize U.S. military operations in Libya--while prohibiting ground troops--for one year. Their resolution continues to be delayed, and now it seems likely there won't be a floor debate for weeks.

As The Cable's Josh Rogin reports, "In interviews Tuesday with more than a dozen senators, The Cable discovered that it will take weeks, not days, for the resolution to come up for a vote. The resolution’s language is only the starting point for a Senate debate that will feature resolutions and amendments from multiple senators, each of whom has his or her own ideas on how to express the Senate’s position on the fighting in Libya.

Press Release: JFP Policy Director to Board Gaza Flotilla, Available by Satellite Phone

Just Foreign Policy issued a press release earlier this morning regarding the impending journey of its Policy Director, Robert Naiman, aboard the U.S. Boat to Gaza and his availability for media work prior to and during this journey. Read the full press release here:

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/pressreleases/gazaflotilla

JFP 6/17: Israeli officials threaten "naive peace activists" on flotilla with force

Just Foreign Policy News
June 17, 2011

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Go Straight to the News Summary

Upcoming hiatus of the Just Foreign Policy News

As Robert Naiman, the editor of the Just Foreign Policy News, will be a passenger on the US boat to Gaza, there will be a hiatus in the Just Foreign Policy News, starting Monday, June 20. Due to the uncertainty over what may happen to us if the Israeli authorities attack our boat, it is not possible to say exactly when the News will resume. But the editor has a return ticket from Athens to New York on July 6.

How to follow what's happening with the boat:

We arrive in Athens on June 21, we will be in Athens at least 3 days, and sometime in the days following that, we will set sail from somewhere in Greece. You can check for the latest news about the boat using Twitter. You do not need to be a Twitter user to do this; any web browser will do.

Updates from the US Boat to Gaza feed will be here:
http://twitter.com/#!/USBOATTOGAZA

Updates from Just Foreign Policy will be here:

http://twitter.com/#!/justfp

Updates from Robert Naiman will be here:

http://twitter.com/#!/naiman

You can also see all the news people are posting about the flotilla using the #flotilla hashtag:

http://twitter.com/#!/search/flotilla

I) Actions and Featured Articles

*Action - Help Just Foreign Policy Get to Gaza:

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JFP 6/16: Boehner threatens to cut Libya war funding

Just Foreign Policy News
June 16, 2011

Support the Work of Just Foreign Policy

Go Straight to the News Summary

Upcoming hiatus of the Just Foreign Policy News

As Robert Naiman, the editor of the Just Foreign Policy News, will be a passenger on the US boat to Gaza, there will be a hiatus in the Just Foreign Policy News, starting Monday, June 20. Due to the uncertainty over what may happen to us if the Israeli authorities attack our boat, it is not possible to say exactly when the News will resume. But the editor has a return ticket from Athens to New York on July 6.

How to follow what's happening with the flotilla:

We arrive in Athens on June 21, we will be in Athens at least 3 days, and sometime in the days following that, we will set sail from somewhere in Greece. You can check for the latest news about the boat using Twitter. You do not need to be a Twitter user to do this; any web browser will do.

Updates from the US Boat to Gaza feed will be here:
http://twitter.com/#!/USBOATTOGAZA

Updates from Just Foreign Policy will be here:

http://twitter.com/#!/justfp

Updates from Robert Naiman will be here:

http://twitter.com/#!/naiman

You can also see all the news people are posting about the flotilla using the #flotilla hashtag:

http://twitter.com/#!/search/flotilla

I) Actions and Featured Articles

Tags:

Report Backs on S.J. Res. 18

Report back on your calls to your Senators' offices concerning S.J. Res. 18 by posting a comment below.

If you haven't called yet, please do. Here's a sample script:

1. You can reach the Capitol Switchboard by calling 1-888-231-9276, a number established by FCNL.
2. Ask to be transferred to your Senator's office.
3. Ask to speak to the staff person who handles foreign or military affairs. If you can't speak with this person, just leave a message with the individual who answered the phone.
4. Say, “My name is _______ and I am from [YOUR CITY, YOUR STATE]. I strongly urge Senator X to co-sponsor S.J. Res. 18, the Webb/Corker bill which would prohibit ground troops in Libya and call on the President to seek congressional authorization for U.S. war in Libya."
5. When you're done, please take a moment and report your call by leaving a comment on thsi page.