Follow the Soapbox
 
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By Cindy Sheehan and David Swanson
03/28/2015

 The U.S. government is toying with a war with nuclear Russia while already waging wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, having done severe damage to Libya, Yemen, Pakistan, and Somalia. Military spending is climbing ever higher. Presidential war powers are ever more extreme. The proliferation of nuclear technology is combining with the ease and secrecy of drone wars to raise the risk of a Dr. Strangelove finish to the human species. And, let's face it, you had more time to give a damn when the president was a Republican.

 The top means by which war kills is the diversion of unfathomable piles of money away from life-saving initiatives. That spending continues without pause. President Obama and most of Congress want it increased even more next year. The Congressional Progressive Caucus just put out a budget that made no mention of military spending but -- if you searched through the numbers -- was proposing to cut it by 1% ($13 billion of $1.3 trillion in spending across several departments). We're talking about the single item that takes up over half of discretionary spending. One or two percent of it could make U.S. college education free, or end starvation on earth. A bigger slice could take on climate protection. Everyone across the inch-wide chasm of the political divide in Washington prefers to see the militarism continue. Of 100 senators, 100 favor sanctions on Iran. Bipartisanship is alive and well when it comes to war promotion.

The top risk from war is nuclear holocaust. That danger continues to grow with active U.S. assistance. The second worst thing a U.S. president can do about war is grab more war powers and pass them on to all future presidents. In that regard, President Obama has outdone President Bush. Lying to Congress is now totally routine: Congress and the United Nations can simply be ignored. Secrecy has mushroomed. President Obama picks out men, women, and children to murder from a list on Tuesdays. The public, the Congress, and the courts have no say and often no knowledge. President Obama has dramatically increased U.S. weapons sales abroad -- the U.S. being far and away the top supplier of weapons to regions that the U.S. public thinks of as inherently violent. 

While Obama's body count doesn't yet begin to approach Bush's in terms of people directly and violently killed, that's not a standard that will get us to survival, much less peace and prosperity.

Why do so many people think of the political party that lied the United States into two world wars, the Korean war, the war on Vietnam, the Kosovo war, the Libya war, and the war on ISIS -- the party that dropped the nukes on Japan -- as a party for peace?

Why do longtime war advocates like Charles Schumer and Hillary Clinton get a pass? What benefit from making Hillary president could outweigh shutting down the peace movement for 4 or 8 years?

Hillary was instrumental in persuading her husband to bomb the former Yugoslavia against the will of Congress. She pushed for the 2003 attack on Iraq and the 2011 attack on Libya. She tried to get a U.S. war on Syria going in 2013. She pushed for the Obama-era escalation in Afghanistan -- a war that is now more Obama's than Bush's by every measure.

Hillary has urged Iran to be aware that she could "obliterate" it. She has giggled with pleasure at having killed Muamar Gadaffi. She's hawkish on Ukraine.

What can be done?

Tell people you know what warmaking has become, because someday the president will be a Republican and they'll grow outraged.

Give up on the idea of bestowing royal tokenism on every deserving demographic before the planet's trashed. We don't have that kind of time to work with.

Oregon has just made voter registration automatic, and California is proposing the same. Devote yourself to making sure that your state does likewise, and refuse to any longer think of registering people to vote as useful activism or to waste your time doing it.

Rather than giving a blank check to war mongering for the next nearly two years and then possibly beginning to object, save us all the suffering and pretend the president right now is Dick Cheney. Protest accordingly.

Cindy Sheehan is the mother of Spc Casey Sheehan who was murdered in Iraq on 04/04/04 by the US Empire and has become a non-flinching and uncompromising peace activist and host of her own podcast: Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox and Editor in Chief of the Soapbox People's Network.

Contact Email: CindySheehansSoapbox@gmail.com

David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of WorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. Swanson's books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee.

Contact email: david@davidswanson.org



 


Comments

03/29/2015 11:17am

I heartily agree with Cindy & David's assessment of the dangers of supporting the Democrats -- the war party for most of our lives. When it comes to marauding the world under the U.S. empire, the Democrats are not second to the Republicans. BUT especially, I unite with the sentiment to protest accordingly. Thanks for staying true to the principles you displayed in fighting the Bush regime's wars.

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03/29/2015 12:29pm

I wish also to express my support for Cindy and David's wise words on the dilemma we face of having, people who see war as a way to a sustainable future as holding and unwisely exercising monumental powers. A sustainable future will only come via a path of peace, not one of aggressive endless war.

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Veda Flick
03/29/2015 4:42pm

' Cindy, God Bless YOU..for hanging in there..Fighting The System For All of Our Benefit... You are A stanch Patriot, And We do Need Your Voice ..and Activism In our Corner Always. As you so well Know, GWB and All of His Henchmen Are Still Lurking around In every Dark Corner they Can Find... Busy pushing wars in any corner that appears to be peaceful ! Peace is A commodity None of The bush-boys can tolerate, and b Obama is only following orders. It appears moreso each day...that if There Are a few Good Candidates for The Presidency...They are Staying in Hiding until The Night before ! For Safety`s sake ? You Bet ! Keep up the Great Work you are Doing..To insure that the True Facts keep right on Flowing ! Stay Well !

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Jeff and Karen Hay
03/29/2015 8:14pm

Aloha Cindy and David,

We think of Hillary Clinton as Dick Cheney in a dress and "Democrack" is the perfect word for what too many are still smoking. Veteran Black Panther, Larry Pinkney puts it this way

"The constant fake battles between the Democratic and Republican parties [i.e. the Republicrats] are meant to distract, dis-empower, and manipulate everyday people, keeping us in a perpetual state of dependence and servitude to these corporate political parties.

While some "liberals" can see through the coded rhetoric of the right-wing, they utterly fail to recognize the convoluted and misleading rhetoric of their own "liberal" leadership. They repeatedly buy into the 'lesser of the evils' mythology, which in turn,fosters the continuation and perpetuation of systemic control and manipulation by both the Democratic and Republican parties [i.e. the Republicrats]. This too, is pathological."

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Jorge I. Gomez
03/30/2015 6:40am

Once, during the Ronald Reagan years, I was a republican and voted for him twice, but on my defense, I didn't know how much of a cuckoo he was.
He "predicted" that if Medicare was enacted , America would become communist and look what actually happened, this frail democracy of ours became more elitist, if that could be possible.
I also had a selfish reason for voting for Reagan: he gave me the largest pay raise ever, a whopping 17%. That said and knowing then what I know now, I would have willingly given up that pay raise to stop trickle down economics and its massacre of we the people. I also regret, as one of my biggest mistakes, not voting for Jimmy Carter, the only, I think, honest president.
Now, the warmongering. Why is it that many times, the most cowards love to send minorities to die, while they sit in their A.C. offices living la vida loca and planning their next foray?
GWB hided in the ANG during the Viet Nam war, another boondoggle of epic proportions and as politicians have it, this one was also based on lies, damn lies and statistics and the worst part, w/o any accountabilities and nobody paying for the 58K G.I.s that gave their lives for nothing. Of course, the Vietnamese didn't fare any better, quite the contrary, they lost four million innocent civilians with an extra added bonus: War crimes to match.
Has anybody noticed, talking about war crimes, how they have been as wars progess and no one seems to notice?
In Korea, this "Christian and democratic" nation started, for what I know, with No Gun Ri. I tried to find out how many more incidents, accusations of war crimes were committed by U.S. troops, but I only found one.
Can we believe that only one massacre really happened?, well as with beauty, it depends whom you ask. If you ask the perpetrators they might accept No Gun Ri only. If you ask the victims, the North Koreans, they have put the numbers a lot higher. Of course, and as with criminals go, they don't want the truth, the whole truth to be known, and for obvious reasons, specially if you want to peddle, snake oil peddling, those togas ripping when other nations are criticized for, get a load of this, human rights violations. The worst violator of human rights criticizing others for their "abuses" has to be the epitome of hypocrisy. I think I hear the Pharisees turning on their graves.
Enter Viet Nam and the one war crime or many in the Korean war were not match for the atrocities committed trying to prevent that domino theory that never came to be. We have become BFF with the Vietnamese, minus war reparations.
The establishment, higher ups acknowledge, as with Korea, some war crimes, but not all war crimes. Here what one source says about the many war crimes committed by U.S. troops. First, on the basis of impartiality, what the perpetrators, the war criminals say about their non war crimes, except the most widely known: "The Army then and since maintained that My Lai was an aberration and that, while other atrocities occurred, they were “isolated incidents” not indicative of a systemic problem." Now what the facts, just the facts ma'am, just the facts say: "Our research found that Army investigators had secretly confirmed cases involving 300 or more incidents, including massacres, murders, torture, mutilation of corpses, indiscriminate fire in civilian areas, wanton destruction of property and cover-ups. Yet the public was not told of the findings."
Heck, even before the My Lai massacre, there had been a previous of more things to come and one of those happened "on February 8, 1968, a month before the My Lai massacre. A company from the 35th Infantry Regiment entered a tiny rural hamlet in Quang Nam province, gathered 19 civilians – babies, children, women and an elderly man – and executed them."
The list is too long to list, but let's say that My Lai was not the only war crime, there were many. Again, accountability was nowhere to be found. Maybe it was in the good old USA hiding in plain sight with that future appointed president in 2000 by a partisan supreme court
Enter 9/11, which BTW could have been stopped, if not by special interests and lies getting in the way to, again, the truth, the facts.
These new wars, Afghanistan and Iraq, left the gates open to war crimes galore. So many in fact, that if the few o many war crimes committed during the Korean, Vietnamese wars were just a stroll in the park, as John McShame used to distort the facts to fit his agenda about how things were "so peaceful" in Iraq.
What WWIII will bring? I'm not a seer, but if this "Christian and democratic" nation behaves any worse, which it will, these wars will be seen in the annals of history as just skirmishes fighting for human rights, not oil, not special interests and there is the possibility that then, the world will see Stalin as the epitome of democracy in action. Two wrongs trying to pass as gifts to humanity, minus the facts, the truth. O tempora, o m

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Jorge I. Gomez
03/30/2015 6:44am

Oops, how they have been in the increase as wars progress and no one seems to notice?

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Jorge I. Gomez
03/30/2015 6:49am

Oops, another typo: there had been a preview...

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