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Just Foreign Policy Announces "Fox on 15th" Campaign Against the Washington Post

In response to David Broder's op-ed in the Washington Post calling for
President Obama to orchestrate a war fever against Iran as a way of
stimulating the US economy, Just Foreign Policy formally announces its
"Fox on 15th" Campaign.

The purpose of the campaign is to delegitimize the Washington Post by
constantly reminding people how on a range of issues, from war to
torture to Social Security, the Washington Post, editorially, is
politically indistinguishable from Fox News.

How to participate: if you have a blog, anytime you take the
Washington Post to task for a pro-war editorial or op-ed, give it the
tag, "foxon15th," in addition to any other tags.

And when you post such a blog to twitter, or comment on such an
editorial or op-ed on twitter, use the hashtag #foxon15th, in addition
to any other hashtags.

Dean Baker on Broder's call for Iran war to boost economy

Dean Baker responds to Washington Post columnist David Broder's op-ed calling for a drive towards military confrontation with Iran as a way to boost the economy:

David Broder Calls for War With Iran to Boost the Economy

JFP 10/29: US v. Brazil: A Tale of Two Elections

Just Foreign Policy News
October 29, 2010

US v. Brazil: A Tale of Two Elections
Lula "brought home the bacon" for the Workers Party base.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman/us-v-brazil-lula-brought_b_776120.html

Is the Pentagon Deliberately "Degrading" Afghanistan's Capacity for Peace?
According to the US government's assessments, US military escalation has failed. Yet no change is expected from the December policy review. Meanwhile, the Pentagon is killing low-level fighters and commanders who are being replaced by younger militants less inclined to compromise or follow the Taliban leadership, making a peace agreement more difficult to attain. Is the Pentagon deliberately making peace more difficult to achieve in Afghanistan, so it won't have to accept a timetable for US withdrawal?
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman/is-the-pentagon-deliberat_b_775353.html

Video: Anthropologist Scott Atran tells MSNBC US should work with the Taliban

Scott Atran, promoting his book, "Talking to the Enemy: Faith, Brotherhood, and the (Un)Making of Terrorists," says the US should work with the Taliban.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/10/27/taliban-us-afghanistan_n_774677.html

Graphic: Cost of the Afghanistan War
A new graphic compares the cost to previous wars - and to domestic needs that could have been funded instead.
http://www.onlineschooling.net/afghanistan-war-cost

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US vs. Brazil: A Tale of Two Elections

Next week the Western Hemisphere will see a tale of two elections: two elections that have a number of key features in common, and some key points of divergence. In common: the incumbent center-left faces a challenge from the Right. The head of state, the incumbent leader of the center-left, will not be on the ballot, but the election is widely viewed as a referendum on his policies.


Election Day is "the poll that matters," but the key divergence is that on Sunday in Brazil, the center-left is forecast to coast to victory, while on Tuesday in the U.S., the Right is widely forecast to make big gains, with better than even odds of taking the House.

What explains this divergence?

There are many factors, of course, but there is one key cause: in Brazil, Lula brought home the bacon, in economic indicators of the quality of life, for the Workers Party's electoral base: working people. Measured unemployment in Brazil is now at a record low of 6.2 percent.

When the majority of voters in Brazil ask themselves, "are we better off now than we were before the Workers Party came to power," this is the reality that they reflect on: the Brazilian economy has performed much better for working people during the Lula years than during the eight years of opposition candidate Jose Serra's party. Per capita income grew by 23 percent from 2002-2010, as opposed to just 3.5 percent for 1994-2002. The minimum wage, in real terms, grew by 65 percent during Lula's presidency. This is more than three time the increase during the prior eight years.

In Brazil, as in the U.S., a significant rise in the real value of the minimum wage lifts not just the workers who are at the very bottom of the wage distribution, but the much larger group of workers whose wages are near the bottom.

JFP 10/28: Is the Pentagon Deliberately "Degrading" Afghanistan's Capacity for Peace?

Just Foreign Policy News
October 28, 2010

Is the Pentagon Deliberately "Degrading" Afghanistan's Capacity for Peace?
The Washington Post reports that according to the US government's own assessments, US military escalation has failed. Yet the same report says no fundamental change is expected from the December policy review. Meanwhile, the Pentagon is killing low-level fighters and commanders who are being replaced by younger militants less inclined to compromise or follow the Taliban leadership, thereby making a peace agreement more difficult to attain. Is the Pentagon deliberately making peace more difficult to achieve in Afghanistan, so it won't have to accept a timetable for US military withdrawal?
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman/is-the-pentagon-deliberat_b_775353.html

Video: Author Scott Atran tells MSNBC US should work with the Taliban

Scott Atran, promoting his new book, "Talking to the Enemy: Faith, Brotherhood, and the (Un)Making of Terrorists," said on "Morning Joe" that the US should work with the Taliban.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/10/27/taliban-us-afghanistan_n_774677.html
See also:
Talking to the Enemy: How to Turn the Taliban Against Al Qaeda
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/scott-atran/post_1145_b_774484.html

South of the Border released on DVD

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Is the Pentagon Deliberately "Degrading" Afghanistan's Capacity for Peace?

On Wednesday, the Washington Post carried a remarkable article reporting that according to U.S. government assessments, the U.S. military escalation in Afghanistan has failed.

The Post's Greg Miller reported that

 

An intense military campaign aimed at crippling the Taliban has so far failed to inflict more than fleeting setbacks on the insurgency

Miller explains why this is so:

 

Escalated airstrikes and special operations raids have disrupted Taliban movements and damaged local cells. But officials said that insurgents have been adept at absorbing the blows and that they appear confident that they can outlast an American troop buildup set to subside beginning next July.

"The insurgency seems to be maintaining its resilience," said a senior Defense Department official involved in assessments of the war. Taliban elements have consistently shown an ability to "reestablish and rejuvenate," often within days of routed by U.S. forces, the official said, adding that if there is a sign that momentum has shifted, "I don't see it."

So, since the policy of military escalation has failed, according to the U.S. government's own assessments, we should expect that in December, when President Obama promised that the policy will be reviewed, we should see a fundamental change in policy. Right?

But, according to the same Washington Post report, "no major change in strategy is expected in December."

How could it be, that the policy has failed, according to official U.S. government assessments, and yet no change is expected when the promised review occurs?

JFP 10/27: Kirchner remembered; US officials admit surge is failing

Just Foreign Policy News
October 27, 2010

Remembering Nestor Kirchner, South American Hero Who Defied the IMF
The past president of Argentina, Nestor Kirchner, has died unexpectedly of a heart attack. U.S. media aren't likely to give us much coverage that indicates what Kirchner meant to many people in South America. This is a pretty safe bet, in part because to understand what Kirchner meant, you have to understand Kirchner's role in a story that the U.S. media have never told properly: how, in the last 15 years, South America has been breaking free of Washington-prescribed economic and security policies. Since the US media never told this story, they'd be hard put to explain Kirchner's role in it.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman/remembering-nestor-kirchn_b_774894.html

South of the Border released on DVD

Oliver Stone's documentary South of the Border was released on DVD this week. If you want to see former President Kirchner as many South Americans saw him, and as you are unlikely to see him in the U.S. media, you can get the DVD here.
http://store.cinemalibrestore.com/southoftheborder.html

IVAW Statement on the Iraq War Logs - A Call for Accountability

Iraq Veterans Against the War demands the end of attacks on whistleblowers; calls for the occupations to end and for the troops to come home.
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/10/27-0

The Taliban Might Negotiate, Even if They Think They're Winning

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JFP 10/26: The Taliban Might Negotiate, Even If They're Winning

Just Foreign Policy News
October 26, 2010

The Taliban Might Negotiate, Even if They Think They're Winning
The oft-repeated claim that "The Taliban will never negotiate, as long as they think they're winning," has been used to justify military escalation - 30,000 more U.S. troops, as well as the current military offensive in Kandahar, dangerous to human life. But the reason we should believe this claim has never been explained. As a claim about human nature, it defies the last 5000 years of human diplomatic history. As a claim about the Taliban, it suggests without evidence that the Taliban won't negotiate, even if the U.S. would agree to a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. forces - a demand that the majority of Americans and 60% of House Democrats think the U.S. should implement unilaterally.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman/the-taliban-might-negotia_b_774147.html

5000 letters demanding release of Abdallah Abu Rahmah delivered to State Department
Representatives from four US human rights groups met with State Department officials on October 22nd and delivered a letter to Secretary of State Clinton signed by more than 5,000 individuals calling for the US to demand that Israel free Abdallah Abu Rahmah, a leading Palestinian nonviolent protest organizer.
http://jewishvoiceforpeace.org/blog/5000-letters-demanding-realease-abdallah-abu-rahmah-delivered-state-department

The Iran Nuclear Dispute - A New Approach

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The Taliban Might Negotiate, Even If They Think They're Winning

You can't follow U.S. print media coverage of the war in Afghanistan for any length of time without running into some variation of the following assertion:

 

"The Taliban Will Never Negotiate, As Long As They Think They're Winning."

No serious effort is usually made to substantiate this claim, which is asserted as if it were a self-evident truth. What you generally don't see, reading the newspapers, is a sentence that looks like this:

 

"The Taliban will never negotiate, as long as they think they're winning, and the reason that we know this is...."

Yet, if you look back over the course of the last year, the assertion that "the Taliban will never negotiate, as long as they think they're winning" is a very important claim. Why did the U.S. send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan last year? Because "the Taliban will never negotiate, as long as they think they're winning." Why are we killing innocents today in Kandahar? "Because the Taliban will never negotiate, as long as they think they're winning."

A claim that is a key buttress of life and death decisions about people we have never met and know little about and who have no say in our decisions, and yet which has never been substantiated, is a claim that deserves sustained scrutiny.

How could it be a self-evident truth that "the Taliban will never negotiate, as long as they think they're winning?" Logically, two possibilities present themselves:

1) It is an immutable fact of human nature that no party engaged in a conflict ever negotiates as long as they think they're winning. The US never negotiates as long as it thinks it is winning; Britain never has; France never has; no guerilla army or insurgent movement ever has.

JFP 10/25: UN demands US investigate its role in Iraq torture

Just Foreign Policy News
October 25, 2010

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Video: IDF soldiers visit the University of Michigan
Last Wednesday, the University of Michigan campus was visited by two IDF soldiers in an event sponsored by "Stand With Us." One of the soldiers served in the Givati infantry brigade, which bombed a house full of civilians during the Gaza war, killing 21 members of the same family [http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/features/what-led-to-idf-bombing-house-full-of-civilians-during-gaza-war-1.320816.] About fifty protesters attended the event and revealed shirts bearing the names of Gaza children killed during the Israeli invasion.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VPDkq2JHfA0

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