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JFP 10/5: Hoh: in our national interest to set a deadline for withdrawal

Just Foreign Policy News
October 5, 2010

Virtual Brown Bag with Andrew Bacevich
The video recording of our Virtual Brown Bag with Andrew Bacevich is now online. We've also made available an audio-only version and a full transcript.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/bacevichtalk

Why Can't Haitians Get a Fair Election?
On November 28, Haitians are expected to participate in an election from which Haiti's largest political party has been arbitrarily excluded, an election paid for by U.S. tax dollars. Shouldn't it be a no-brainer that the U.S. shouldn't pay for an election in Haiti that is profoundly anti-democratic? Representative Maxine Waters appears to think so. She is circulating a letter to Secretary of State Clinton urging that the U.S. not pay for an election in Haiti from which Haiti's largest political party has been excluded. If you agree, ask your Representative to sign the Waters letter for fair elections in Haiti.
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/10/05-7

Al Jazeera Video: Settlers blamed for mosque blaze
Prayer rugs and Quran copies burnt in a West Bank mosque, in the village of Beit Fajjar near the Gush Etzion settlement, in fire said to have been started by Israeli settlers.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ocrCzco0Z5g&

60 Minutes/Vanity Fair Poll
"Only 2 in 10 Americans would go to war with Iran if they either tested a bomb or attacked Israel."
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/09/30/60minutes/main6915819.shtml

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Why Can't Haitians Get a Fair Election?

On November 2, Americans will have the opportunity to vote for their representatives in Congress, an election likely to affect whether the "normal" retirement age is raised for Social Security and how decisively President Obama moves to end the war in Afghanistan. There are many legitimate criticisms to be made of the electoral system in the United States as we know it. But it could be much worse. We could be confronted with the electoral system that Haitians are currently facing in elections scheduled for November 28.

In Haiti, as things are currently run, political parties are completely excluded from participation if the people currently in power don't like them, including Haiti's largest political party, the Fanmi Lavalas party of deposed and exiled former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

It is a telling fact of our political-media culture that while American newspapers regularly carry articles, op-eds and editorials raising the alarm about democracy and human rights in countries where the U.S. has little influence, the major U.S. media are virtually silent about extreme violations of democratic rights in Haiti, a country where the U.S. has tremendous influence. (Two rare, praiseworthy exceptions have been the Miami Herald, which last month published this op-ed by Ira Kurzban, and the reporting of the AP's Jonathan Katz.)

In particular, the unfair elections that Haitians are expected to endure are expected to be paid for by foreign donors, including the U.S. There is no serious question whether the U.S. has influence it can use. Indeed, in Afghanistan, the U.S. and other Western donors, who pay for Afghan elections, told the Afghan government, unless you implement certain reforms, we're not paying for the election.

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JFP 10/4: Rep. Waters presses Admin for fair elections in Haiti

Just Foreign Policy News
October 4, 2010

IJDH: Help Rep. Waters stop US tax dollars from supporting unfair elections in Haiti
The Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti is supporting a Congressional letter initiated by Rep. Waters to Secretary of State Clinton urging her to use U.S. influence to demand that all Haitian political parties be allowed to compete in the upcoming elections. Urge your Rep. to sign the Waters letter for fair elections in Haiti by calling the Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121, and asking to be transferred to your Rep's office.
More info:
http://ijdh.org/archives/14798
Rep. Waters letter:
http://ijdh.org/archives/14792

Harry Belafonte: Iraq & Afghanistan Wars Are "Immoral, Unconscionable and Unwinnable"
Democracy Now leads its coverage of the "One Nation" rally with Harry Belafonte's denunciation of the war in Afghanistan.
http://www.democracynow.org/2010/10/4/harry_belafonte_iraq_afghanistan_wars_are

Jon Stewart/Democracy Now: Sen. Tom Coburn [R-OK] holds up Haiti reconstruction aid
http://www.democracynow.org/blog/2010/10/1/watch_jon_stewart_gets_haiti_news_from_democracy_now

Venezuelan Ambassador responds to the Washington Post on Venezuela's election
Bernardo Álvarez corrects the lies and distortions of the Washington Post's editorial.
http://bit.ly/cLq3RP

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JFP 10/1: "Ecuador under a state of siege"

Just Foreign Policy News
October 1, 2010

Urge President Obama to Oppose Any Attempted Coup in Ecuador
Urge President Obama to make a clear, personal, and unequivocal statement of support for democracy in Ecuador, affirming that the democratically-elected government of President Rafael Correa is the only government that the U.S. will recognize.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/ecuador

vanden Heuvel: Midterm elections - build or retreat?
The Nation's Katrina vanden Heuvel argues that those seeking reform must not sit out the midterm elections.
http://www.thenation.com/blog/155017/eat-pray-and-vote

Iraq Veterans Against the War: Operation Recovery
A campaign to stop the deployment of traumatized troops.
http://www.ivaw.org/operation-recovery

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U.S./Top News
1) Ecuador was under a state of siege Friday, after soldiers rescued President Correa from a hospital where he'd been surrounded by police who roughed him up and tear-gassed him, AP reports. Correa and his ministers called the events - in which insurgents also paralyzed the nation with airport shutdowns and highway blockades - an attempt to overthrow him. The region's presidents quickly showed their support for Correa, rushing to a meeting in Buenos Aires early Friday and condemning what many called a coup attempt.

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JFP 9/30: President Correa denounces "coup attempt" in Ecuador

Just Foreign Policy News
September 30, 2010

Weisbrot: Obama Administration Should Oppose Any Attempted Coup in Ecuador
Mark Weisbrot, Co-Director of the Center For Economic and Policy Research and President of Just Foreign Policy, called upon President Obama to state unequivocally that the United States will not recognize any government other than the democratically elected government of President Rafael Correa.
http://www.cepr.net/index.php/press-releases/press-releases/obama-should-oppose-attempted-coup-in-ecuador

October 2: One Nation For Peace - Get on the Bus

Hundreds of thousands of Americans are expected to converge on the Mall in Washington on Saturday, demanding jobs, justice, education, and peace. There are buses coming from all over the country which still have empty seats.
http://www.onenationforpeace.org/
http://www.onenationworkingtogether.org/content/main

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

For Peace, It Matters if the Republicans Take Congress
If Republicans take over Congress, reforming U.S. foreign policy will become much more difficult.

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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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Your donation helps us educate Americans and create opportunities to advocate for a just foreign policy.
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U.S./Top News

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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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Your donation helps us educate Americans and create opportunities to advocate for a just foreign policy.
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U.S./Top News

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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

Help Support Our Work
Your donation helps us educate Americans and create opportunities to advocate for a just foreign policy.
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Summary:
U.S./Top News
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.