"Everything is backwards now, like out there is the true world and in here is the dream..."
-- Jake Sully in "Avatar"
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Just came back from seeing "Avatar" for a second time (this time in 3-D)-- and once again blown away...
What do you think might happen if all who saw "Avatar" called Congress for troops to come home?...
[Cameron wants us to think/act-- http://movies.yahoo.com/feature/hmg-avatar-hidden-messages.html ;
"Avatar" took in more money over Christmas weekend than any other movie in history; see proof here:
You never know; fact is that if everyone who sees "Avatar" this winter is inspired, there WILL be change!
So-- twelve reasons here to call Congress at (800) 828-0498-- for our troops to come home without delay:
[esp. note reason #1-- unfortunately neither Hinchey, Hall, nor Murphy signed on to 12/18 letter-- why?]
1. Rep.'s Lee, McGovern, Jones and Colleagues Ask Speaker for Up-Or-Down Vote re: Afghanistan
http://lee.house.gov/index.cfm?sectionid=57§iontree=35,57&itemid=1839 [12/18 press release]
2. Rep. Mass: "Christmas Eve Is 3,000th Day in Afghanistan and 30th Anniversary of Russian Invasion"
3. "How to Exit Afghanistan" by Selig Harrison
4. "Cause and Effect in the 'Terror War'" by Glenn Greenwald
5. "Are U.S. Wars Fueling Domestic Terror?" by Katrina vanden Heuvel
6. "The Joys of Airstrikes and Anonymity" by Glenn Greenwald
7. "Obama and the Permanent War Budget" by William Hartung
8. "Afghanistan: $57,077.60-- Surging by the Minute" by Jo Comerford
9. "A Lesson on Nonviolence for the President" by Eric Stoner
10. "The U.S. and Afghan Tragedy" by Stephen Zunes and Khushal Arsala
11. You're not alone; join http://www.DutchessPeace.org http://www.UnitedforPeace.org ! (go, Fred N.!):
12. Dutchess taxpayers alone have spent $1.2 billion on war in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2001(!).
[see: http://www.NationalPriorities.org ]
Pass it on...(let's keep Cameron's dream of "Avatar" alive!)...
p.s. Just one more to ponder on this (and hopefully be inspired to action!)...(see Yoko's full-page ad?)...
"War Is Over If You Want It-- John and Yoko, Forty Years Later" by Jon Wiener
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From http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rep-eric-jj-massa/christmas-eve-is-the-3000_b_402074.html ...
Rep. Eric J.J. Massa
U.S. Representative from New York
[again-- why aren't Hinchey, Hall, Murphy, Gillibrand, Schumer writing essays and letters like this?]
Posted: December 23, 2009 01:41 PM
Christmas Eve Is the 3,000th Day in Afghanistan and 30th Anniversary of the Russian Invasion
Christmas Eve is a time to gather with friends and family to reflect on the good things in life. It's a time to share our joys and our hopes for peace on earth and good will towards all.
This year Christmas Eve has a sad and ironic twist to it however.
As we begin our deployment of 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan, this Christmas Eve will also mark the 3,000th day of the war in Afghanistan and the 30th anniversary of the initial Russian invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. Thus far, this war has already cost the American taxpayer a minimum of $300,000,000,000 according to the Congressional Research Service (and that's just the funding that's "on budget").
Sadly, the fact that we're spending about $101 million per day in this war is the good news. The financial cost of this war is nothing compared to the fact that 937 American troops have been killed, and 4,434 have been wounded (and that's not counting the thousands more that will carry the memories of this war for their entire lives).
Exactly 50 days ago from Christmas Eve, because of all of these reasons, I took to the floor of the House and formalized my call for an end to this war of occupation and attrition.
As a 24-year retired military officer and former special assistant to the then Supreme Commander of NATO, General Wesley Clark, I am deeply troubled by the fact that we have yet to even define victory. Having recently witnessed an election where Hamid Karzai "won" despite having about 1/3 of his ballots thrown out for election fraud, I also know that we cannot continue engaging in nation building by partnering with one of the most corrupt narco-governments in the world.
Additionally, being on the House Armed Services Committee and having listened to the testimony of General Stanley McChrystal, Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, there is nothing that convinces me that we can force Democracy on a tribal people through continued military occupation or escalation.
History has shown us what happens when military forces try to occupy Afghanistan, and we can learn a lot from the Russian invasion which began on December 24th, 1979.
Our friends at the Brave New Foundation have been working on an ongoing project called ReThink Afghanistan and today, they released a great piece on the lessons we can learn from the Russian invasion. I HIGHLY recommend watching this video and sharing it with your friends and family:
So what can we do?
Last week, I signed onto a letter with several members of Congress to demand a Congressional debate followed by an up or down vote in the House on the escalation. It has been eight years since Congress has had any sort of meaningful debate on this critical issue and the public deserves to know where their member of Congress stands.
This is where you can help
If you agree that the American people deserve an up or down vote on the escalation in Afghanistan, then I urge you to call your member of Congress and Senators to tell them to support an Up or Down vote on this issue.
Nothing gets the attention of a member of Congress quite like returning from the holidays to discover 500 voicemails demanding action.
You can find your Congressman or Congresswoman by visiting http://house.gov .
You can find your Senators by visiting http://senate.gov .
Let's declare that enough is enough on this 3,000th day of the war in Afghanistan. It's time to bring our troops home.
P.S. Don't forget to recommend this post and send an email to your friends and family to recruit their help.
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>From http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/12/29-1 ...
Published on Tuesday, December 29, 2009 by Salon.com
Cause and Effect in the 'Terror War'
by Glenn Greenwald
"In all their alleged allegedness, this Administration has an allergy to the concept of war, and thus to the tools of war, including strategy and war aims" -- Supreme Tough Guy Warrior Mark Steyn, National Review, yesterday.
"The White House has authorized an expansion of the C.I.A.'s drone program in Pakistan's lawless tribal areas, officials said this week, to parallel the president's decision, announced Tuesday, to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan" -- New York Times, December 4, 2009.
"In the midst of two unfinished major wars, the United States has quietly opened a third, largely covert front against Al Qaeda in Yemen" -- New York Times, yesterday.
Actually, if you count our occupation of Iraq, our twice-escalated war in Afghanistan, our rapidly escalating bombing campaigns in Pakistan and Yemen, and various forms of covert war involvement in Somalia, one could reasonably say that we're fighting five different wars in Muslim countries -- or, to use the NYT's jargon, "five fronts" in the "Terror War" (Obama yesterday specifically mentioned Somalia and Yemen as places where, euphemistically, "we will continue to use every element of our national power"). Add to those five fronts the "crippling" sanctions on Iran many Democratic Party luminaries are now advocating, combined with the chest-besting threats from our Middle East client state that the next wars they fight against Muslims will be even "harsher" than the prior ones, and it's almost easier to count the Muslim countries we're not attacking or threatning than to count the ones we are. Yet this still isn't enough for America's right-wing super-warriors, who accuse the five-front-war-President of "an allergy to the concept of war."
In the wake of the latest failed terrorist attack on Northwest Airlines, one can smell the excitement in the air -- that all-too-familiar, giddy, bipartisan climate that emerges in American media discourse whenever there's a new country we get to learn about so that we can explain why we're morally and strategically justified in bombing it some more. "Yemen" is suddenly on every Serious Person's lips. We spent the last month centrally involved to some secret degree in waging air attacks on that country -- including some that resulted in numerous civilian deaths -- but everyone now knows that this isn't enough and it's time to Get Really Serious and Do More.
For all the endless, exciting talk about the latest Terrorist attack, one issue is, as usual, conspicuously absent: motive. Why would a young Nigerian from a wealthy, well-connected family want to blow himself on one of our airplanes along with 300 innocent people, and why would Saudi and Yemeni extremists want to enable him to do so? When it comes to Terrorism, discussions of motive have been declared more or less taboo from the start because of the dishonest equation of motive discussions with justification -- as though understanding the reasons why X happens is to posit that X is legitimate and justifiable. Causation simply is; it has nothing to do with issues of morality, blame, or justification. Yet all that is generally permitted to be said in such situations is that Terrorists try to harm us because they're Evil, and we (of course) are not, and that's generally the end of the discussion.
Despite that taboo, evidence always ends up emerging on this question. As numerous reports have indicated, the Al Qaeda group in the Arabian Peninsula has said that this attempted attack is in "retaliation" for the multiple, recent missile attacks on Yemen in which numerous innocent Muslim civilians were killed, as well as for the U.S.'s multi-faceted support for the not-exactly-democratic Yemeni government. That is similar to reports that Nidal Hasan was motivated to attack Fort Hood because "he was upset at the killing of Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan." And one finds this quote from an anonymous Yemeni official tacked on to the end of this week's NYT article announcing the "widening terror war" in Yemen -- as though it's just an afterthought:
"The problem is that the involvement of the United States creates sympathy for Al Qaeda. The cooperation is necessary -- but there is no doubt that it has an effect for the common man. He sympathizes with Al Qaeda."
As always, the most confounding aspect of the reaction to the latest attempted terrorist episode is the professed confusion and self-righteous innocence that is universally expressed. Whether justified or not, we are constantly delivering death to the Muslim world. We do not see it very much, but they certainly do. Again, independent of justification, what do we think is going to happen if we continuously invade, occupy and bomb Muslim countries and arm and enable others to do so? Isn't it obvious that our five-front actions are going to cause at least some Muslims -- subjected to constant images of American troops in their world and dead Muslim civilians at our hands, even if unintended -- to want to return the violence? Just look at the bloodthirsty sentiments unleashed among Americans even from a failed Terrorist attempt. What sentiments do we think we're unleashing from a decade-long (and counting and increasing) multi-front "war" in the Muslim war?
There very well may be some small number of individuals who are so blinded by religious extremism that they will be devoted to random violence against civilians no matter what we do, but we are constantly maximizing the pool of recruits and sympathy among the population on which they depend. In other words, what we do constantly bolsters their efforts, and when we do, we always seem to move more in the direction of helping them even further. Ultimately, we should ask ourselves: if we drop more bombs on more Muslim countries, will there be fewer or more Muslims who want to blow up our airplanes and are willing to end their lives to do so? That question really answers itself.
Copyright ©2009 Salon Media Group, Inc.
Glenn Greenwald was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator in New York. He is the author of the New York Times Bestselling book "How Would a Patriot Act?," a critique of the Bush administration's use of executive power, released in May 2006. His second book, "A Tragic Legacy", examines the Bush legacy.
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From http://lee.house.gov/index.cfm?sectionid=57§iontree=35,57&itemid=1839 ...
Reps. Lee, McGovern, Jones and Colleagues ask Speaker for Up-Or-Down Vote on Military Escalation in Afghanistan
For Immediate Release
December 18, 2009
Contact: Nicole Y. Williams
Washington, DC - Representatives Barbara Lee (D-CA), James McGovern (D-MA), and Walter Jones (R-NC) joined a bipartisan group of Members in delivering a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi requesting that Members of the House are provided the opportunity for a separate debate and up-or-down vote on the President's proposal to escalate the United States military presence in Afghanistan.
"President Obama spent three months reviewing and deliberating United States strategy in Afghanistan. At the very least, Congress owes our men and women in uniform an honest debate regarding the benefits, costs, affordability, and strategic importance of a military escalation," said Lee. "Our responsibility to ensure the U.S. is most effectively and sustainably combating terrorism around the globe will not be fulfilled by sidestepping this critical debate."
"President Obama's decision is a big deal, and Congress has a role to play," said Rep. McGovern. "We haven't had a full, meaningful debate about this critical issue in 8 years. Now is the time for Congress to act."
"Those of us who have signed this letter have differing views on how to move forward in Afghanistan," said Rep. Jones. "I, for example, do not believe that 'doubling down' on the strategy of propping up the Karzai regime in Afghanistan is the correct strategy, but rather we should work with and through the tribal structures that have existed in the country for centuries. We can all, however, agree that this is an issue that deserves a debate. The American people deserve a debate on something that could so deeply affect their loved ones and their country."
The letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi expressed the urgency of holding such a vote prior to the deployment of additional troops to Afghanistan, or otherwise as soon as possible. It further reiterated the importance of Congress' role and responsibility in overseeing and providing for our nation's commitments while at war.
The text of the letter and list of co-signers follows:
December 18, 2009
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House
U.S. House of Representatives
Room H-232, U.S. Capitol
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Madam Speaker:
We write to urge you to ensure the House will hold a separate debate and floor vote on the President's proposal to escalate the United States military presence in Afghanistan.
President Obama has estimated that the deployment of 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan will increase the military costs of the war by $30 billion a year. Members may agree or disagree with the President's decision in pursuing a military escalation in Afghanistan, but we all appreciate your response to the President's announcement that "The American people and the Congress will now have an opportunity to fully examine this strategy."
At a time when the American economy continues to face enormous challenges and individuals across the country are struggling to get by, these costs are especially worthy of Congressional deliberation.
Congress's consideration of the President's revised policy in Afghanistan will be critical to reasserting the undisputed role and responsibility of the Legislative Branch in overseeing and providing for our nation's commitments while at war. To that end, when the resources required for the proposed troop increase are brought to the floor for consideration, we believe it is vital that the House is provided an opportunity for a robust floor debate and up-or-down vote on the issue of a military escalation. Ideally, this should occur prior to the deployment of any additional troops to Afghanistan, or otherwise as soon as possible.
Thank you for your leadership on this issue. We look forward to working with you to ensure Congress holds an honest and full debate regarding the benefits, costs, affordability, and strategic importance of a military escalation in Afghanistan.
List of Co-signers:
Congresswoman Barbara Lee
Congressman James P. McGovern
Congressman Walter B. Jones
Congresswoman Lynn C. Woolsey
Congressman Eric J. J. Massa
Congressman Fortney Pete Stark
Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva
Congressman Bob Filner
Congressman Keith Ellison
Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin
Congressman Jerrold Nadler
Congressman José E. Serrano
Congressman Michael M. Honda
Congressman James P. Moran
Congressman Michael E. Capuano
Congresswoman Janice D. Schakowsky
Congressman Barney Frank
Congressman Peter A. DeFazio