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JFP 9/29: WaPo wants your Social Security to pay for the war

Just Foreign Policy News
September 29, 2010

The Washington Post Wants Your Social Security to Pay for the War
The Washington Post dismisses concerns about the cost of the Afghanistan war on the grounds that it is less than 1% of US GDP. But the Post supports raising the Social Security normal retirement age, although the savings to the government from doing this would be less than 1% of US GDP.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman/the-washington-post-wants_b_744377.html

October 2: One Nation Working Together
Hundreds of thousands of Americans are expected to converge on the Mall in Washington on Saturday, demanding jobs, justice, education, and peace.
http://www.onenationworkingtogether.org/content/main

Ira Chernus: An Israeli Gandhi Seized at Sea
Ira Chernus reflects on Rami Elhanan, an Israeli on the Jewish boat to Gaza. Elhanan is a board member of The Parents Circle - Families Forum, a group of Israelis and Palestinians who have lost children in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/09/29-7

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The Washington Post Wants Your Social Security to Pay for the War

For the Washington Post, there's no such thing as a war that America can't afford.

In an editorial today, the Washington Post takes President Obama to task for being concerned about the cost of the war in Afghanistan and the fact that it conflicts with domestic priorities. That the Washington Post, a knee-jerk supporter of war for empire, would slam President Obama for this is the opposite of surprising. Nonetheless, what the Washington Post actually said in its editorial is still breathtaking:

 

Mr. Obama repeatedly cites the cost of the war and the need to shift resources to domestic priorities -- though spending on Afghanistan is well below 1 percent of U.S. gross domestic product.

We have been led to believe that official Washington is seized with urgency about long-term projections of U.S. budget deficits. Yet here is the Washington Post, downplaying the cost of the war in Afghanistan on the grounds that it is "well below 1 percent" of U.S. GDP.

Logically, there are two possibilities.

One possibility is that the Washington Post is saying that in the future, we can ignore any government expenditure or savings that amounts to less than 1% of U.S. GDP as being too small to bother about.

The other possibility is that according to the Washington Post there are two standards for judging costs. One standard is for war, in which an expenditure of less than 1% of GDP is too small to bother about. The other standard is for domestic spending that benefits the majority of Americans, in which a reduction of government expenditure of less than 1% of GDP is something that should be seriously considered.

JFP News 9/28: For Peace, It Matters if the Republicans Take Congress

Just Foreign Policy News
September 28, 2010

For Peace Efforts, It Matters if the Republicans Take Congress
The gap between the soaring rhetoric of the Obama Presidential campaign and the reality we live today is plain for all to see. But a rational and moral actor thinks primarily in terms of actions and consequences. If the Republicans retake Congress, promoting reform of U.S. foreign policy is going to be much more difficult.
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/09/28-10

ABC Video: Soldier Describes Murder of Afghan for Sport in Leaked Tape
ABC reproduces a leaked interrogation video broadcast in which a U.S. soldier describes the alleged "killing of Afghan civilians for sport."
http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/video/army-corporal-jeremy-morlock-describes-alleged-murder-11733558

Rachel
An Israeli documentary about the life and death of American peace activist Rachel Corrie opens in New York at the Anthology Film Archives on October 8.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHij2v9kCfQ

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JFP 7/27: NATO concedes election was more violent; FBI raids homes of anti-war activists

Just Foreign Policy News
September 27, 2010

RTAmerica: US influence in Venezuelan elections
Just Foreign Policy talks to RTAmerica about the Venezuelan elections and the role of the US.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56_P73jteSw

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1) US-led forces conceded that the Afghan elections were more violent than they initially claimed, and more violent than last year, the Guardian reports. ISAF said there were about 100 more attacks compared with the roughly 280 attacks during last year's election. The Afghanistan NGO Safety Office said it recorded 443 insurgent attacks around the country on 18 September, a 56% increase on the 20 August presidential election last year. Turnout was the lowest of any of the four national elections since 2001

2) An Afghan journalist who worked as a cameraman for Al Jazeera was released by US-led forces after complaints from media workers, human rights groups, and the Afghan government, AP reports.

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Linda Polman on "Afghaniscam": is U.S. "Aid" Making Things Worse?

It is frequently acknowledged that U.S. policy in Afghanistan is "failing." But a sharper question is less frequently posed: are the actions of the U.S. government making Afghans worse off than they would be if the U.S. were doing nothing in Afghanistan?

If Afghans would be better off if the U.S. were doing nothing in their country, that is not only a powerful indictment of current policy; it strongly suggests that the direction that U.S. policy ought to move in is in the direction of doing much, much less in Afghanistan.

If current policy is not making Afghans better off than if the U.S. were doing nothing, after nine years, two Presidents, two Secretaries of Defense, different generals, different force levels, many revisions of policy, thousands dead and maimed, and a huge expenditure of resources, we should be skeptical that any proposed policy which purports to be better than doing nothing is actually feasible. We should consider the possibility that our inability to do better than nothing in Afghanistan has deeper causes than Presidents or generals or Secretaries of Defense, causes which are more difficult, perhaps impossible, to change.

While Afghans have little effective voice in our current policies, it is apparent that the interests of the Afghans do matter, even from the point of view of Washington, because if the majority of Afghans conclude that the actions of the U.S. are worse for them than if the U.S. did nothing, over time they can take actions which will compel the U.S. to move in the direction of doing nothing in their country.

JFP 9/17: Asia Times reports beginning of "serious" US-Taliban talks

Just Foreign Policy News
September 17, 2010

Can the U.S. Negotiate Peace in Afghanistan?
The first recommendation of the Afghanistan Study Group report is:

1. Emphasize power-sharing and political inclusion.
The U.S. should fast-track a peace process designed to decentralize power within Afghanistan and encourage a power-sharing balance among the principal parties.

This is not a new idea, but the point of the ASG is to increase political space for its implementation.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman/can-the-us-negotiate-peac_b_721172.html

The report, which is short and accessible, can be found here:
http://www.afghanistanstudygroup.org/

Send the report to your representatives in Congress:
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/afghanistanstudygroup

Bacevich: Washington Rules
Andrew Bacevich's book, "Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War," is a call for Americans to reject the Washington consensus for permanent war.
September 24th: JFP "Virtual Brown Bag" with Andrew Bacevich
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/bacevichtalk
Get the book
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/buywashingtonrules

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Can the U.S. Negotiate Peace in Afghanistan?

A major contribution of the "inside experts" Afghanistan Study Group report (read here ; send to your reps in Congress here), released last week to spur Washington debate towards de-escalating the war at the next fork in the road is that its very first recommendation is this:

1. Emphasize power-sharing and political inclusion.
The U.S. should fast-track a peace process designed to decentralize power within Afghanistan and encourage a power-sharing balance among the principal parties.

Predictably, there appear to have been two principal objections so far to this proposal:

1. Oh my God. How dare you suggest that the U.S. should support a peace deal with the Afghan insurgency. You must be some kind of amoral monster.

2. Ho hum. Nothing new here. Everyone already knows this. Why do you tax our patience by stating the obvious as if it were a profound revelation? This is already Administration policy. Move along, nothing to see here.

It should go without saying that these two objections are, as a matter of logic, mutually exclusive. A real peace process leading to a new political dispensation in Afghanistan that ends the civil war could be the worst idea in human history, or it could be a commonplace that everyone already knows and is already Administration policy. But it cannot be both.

JFP 9/16: 54% of Americans think the U.S. "should not be involved in Afghanistan"

Just Foreign Policy News
September 16, 2010

Send the Afghanistan Study Group report to your reps in Congress
It's short. It's accessible. Implementing its recommendations would help end the war. Your representatives in Congress - and their staffs - should read it. Send them the report.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/afghanistanstudygroup

WMNF radio (Tampa): "Two views on the Middle East peace talks"

Just Foreign Policy vs. the Israeli Consul General in Miami.
http://www.wmnf.org/news_stories/two-views-on-the-middle-east-peace-talks

Military Prosecution Demands More Than Two Years Imprisonment for Bil'in's Abdallah Abu Rahmah
"The prosecution demanded Abu Rahmah will be sent to prison for a period exceeding two years, saying that as an organizer, a harsh sentence is required to serve as a deterrence not only for Abu Rahmah himself, but to others who may follow in his footsteps as well. This statement by the prosecution affirms the political motivation behind the indictment, and the concern raised by EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, that 'the possible imprisonment of Mr Abu Rahma is intended to prevent him and other Palestinians from exercising their legitimate right to protest against the existence of the separation barriers in a non violent manner.'"
http://www.popularstruggle.org/content/military-prosecution-demands-more-two-years-imprisonment-bilins-abdallah-abu-rahmah

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JFP 9/15: In Defense of the Afghanistan Study Group

Just Foreign Policy News
September 15, 2010

Urge the State Department to Work to Free Abdullah Abu Rahmah
Palestinian nonviolence advocate Abdullah Abu Rahmah faces two years in prison for organizing protests in Bilin. The sentencing portion of the trial was scheduled to begin today.
You can ask Secretary of State Clinton to speak out, as Europe's Catherine Ashton has, by calling the State Department's comment line at 202-647-6575 and pressing 1.
Or you can send a letter through the State Department's website, by following the instructions here:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman/palestinian-gandhi-convic_b_696884.html
or here:
http://popularstruggle.org/content/ask-hillary-clinton-act-abdallah-abu-rahmahs-release

Why Peaceniks Should Care About the Afghanistan Study Group Report
Experts who crafted the Afghanistan Study Group report have a strategy to move Washington towards ending the war. If their recommendations are followed, fewer Americans and Afghans will be killed.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert - naiman/why - peaceniks - should - care_b_712333.html
The report, which is short and accessible, can be found here:
http://www.afghanistanstudygroup.org/

Jon Stewart: Islamophobiapalooza
"Squirrel!" Jon Stewart mocks the TV media obsession with a Florida pastor.

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JFP 9/14: "Palestinian Gandhi" Faces Sentencing for Organizing Protests

Just Foreign Policy News
September 14, 2010

Why Peaceniks Should Care About the Afghanistan Study Group Report
Experts who crafted the Afghanistan Study Group report have a strategy to move Washington towards ending the war. If their recommendations are followed, fewer Americans and Afghans will be killed.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert - naiman/why - peaceniks - should - care_b_712333.html

The report, which is short and accessible, can be found here:
http://www.afghanistanstudygroup.org/

Bacevich: Washington Rules
Andrew Bacevich's book, "Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War," is a call for Americans to reject the Washington consensus for permanent war.
September 24th: JFP "Virtual Brown Bag" with Andrew Bacevich
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/bacevichtalk
Get the book
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/buywashingtonrules

Help Support Our Work
Your donation helps us educate Americans and create opportunities to advocate for a just foreign policy.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/donate

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