June 18, 2011
*I am welcoming links from non-US-based commentators, if anyone would like to add them
Wanted: An Anti-War Movement
Medea Benjamin and Charles Davis
“After campaigning as the candidate of change, the man awarded a Nobel Prize for peace has given the world nothing but more war. Yet despite Barack Obama’s continuation – nay, escalation – of the worst aspects of George W. Bush’s foreign policy, including his very own illegal war in Libya, you’d be hard-pressed to find the large-scale protests and outrage from the liberal establishment that characterised his predecessor’s reign (and only seems to pop up when a Republican’s the one dropping the bombs).
That’s not for a lack of things to protest. Since taking office, Obama has doubled the number of troops in Afghanistan and now looks set to break his pledge to begin a significant withdrawal in July. He has unilaterally committed the nation to an unapologetically illegal war in Libya and in two years has authorised more drone strikes in Pakistan than his predecessor authorised in two terms, with one in three of their victims reportedly civilians. In Yemen, he has targeted a US citizen for assassination and approved a cluster bomb strike that, according to Amnesty International, killed 35 innocent women and children.
But these war crimes, which ought to shock the consciences of the president’s liberal supporters, haven’t spurred the sort of popular protest we witnessed under Bush the Lesser. At a recent congressional hearing on the bloated war budget, a handful of CODEPINK activists were the sole dissenters. Thousands poured into the streets to cheer Osama bin Laden’s death, but no Americans were in the streets decrying the drone attack that killed dozens of Pakistani civilians weeks earlier.
While diehard grassroots peace activists continue to bravely protest US militarism, with 52 people arrested last month protesting outside a nuclear weapons factory in Kansas City – if they’d been Tea Partiers protesting Obamacare, you may have heard of them – there’s no denying that the peace movement has taken a beating.”
Libya and the Passive Repeaters: Deploying Depleted Information Warheads
“the video below in part shows how the use of social media to make falsified versions of Libyan reality can go viral–radioactive–(re)producing an intellectually toxic swarm of passive repeaters. Critical questions are like static, they interrupt the clarity of the message: dictator vs. revolutionaries, support the people, implement a no-fly zone right now. But this is so patronizing, it denies “agency”–just like the agency of the consumer who must decide and then boldly act on which colour iPod™ to buy. Have a look at The Guardian‘s “Revealed: US spy operation that manipulates social media: Military’s ‘sock puppet’ software creates fake online identities to spread pro-American propaganda.” The video has many rough edges, but some of the critical questions and points about propaganda deserve some consideration. Also check “‘Post-Qaddafi Libya’: on the Globalist Road,” “Who are the Libyan Freedom Fighters and Their Patrons?” “US-trained [and U.S.-based] economist, Libyan rebels’ new finance minister,” and “New Libyan rebel leader spent much of past 20 years in suburban Virginia.”
I haven’t been seeing a lot of sources that are talking about the impact of the bombing campaign on civilians in urban areas. Most of the sources I have seen have been pro-intervention and it reminds me of the propaganda for the Iraq war, except this time around the usual anti-war left in the US seems confused.
Congressman Kucinich has a petition up: http://www.kucinich.us/libya/