May 24, 2011

Create an outdoor billboard in Washington, DC supporting Bradley Manning, accused WikiLeaks whistle-blower

Pearl Jam: Masters of War


Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build all the bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks.

You that never done nothin'
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it's your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly.

Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain.

You fasten all the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you set back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion'
As young people's blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud.

Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul.

How much do I know
To talk out of turn
You might say that I'm young
You might say I'm unlearned
But there's one thing I know
Though I'm younger than you
That even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do.

And I hope that you die
And your death'll come soon
I will follow your casket
In the pale afternoon
And I'll watch while you're lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I'll stand over your grave
'Til I'm sure that you're dead.

-thanks to the Stop the War Coalition (this was posted last fall)

May 20, 2011

Immediate Action: Tell your member of Congress to vote "yes" on amendments that will help end the U.S. war in Afghanistan. AFGHANISTAN

MAY 18, 2011
Immediate Action: Tell your member of Congress to vote "yes" on amendments that will help end the U.S. war in Afghanistan.


Week of Action

May 23-27, 2011

Veterans For Peace is joining groups around the country in mobilizing our members to demand that Congress end the war in Afghanistan. The National Defense Authorization Act is scheduled to be on the floor in the House the week of May 23; we expect that several key amendments that could help end the U.S. war in Afghanistan will come up. We believe that two of these amendments are extremely critical: Rep. McGovern/Jones’ Exit Strategy Bill, H.R. 1735 and Rep. Garamendi’s troop withdrawal amendment. While it is not yet clear if both will be brought to the floor, we must ensure our members of Congress know that this war is unacceptable.

Take Action: Tell your member of Congress to vote “yes” on amendments that will help end the U.S. war in Afghanistan.

The U.S. war in Afghanistan was launched only weeks after 9/11, presumably to get the perpetrators of that terrible attack. Now, almost ten years later, it is the longest war in U.S. history, has cost half a trillion dollars, killed 1,580 Americans and tens of thousands of Afghans. Although Osama bin Laden is dead and there are less than 100 members of al Qaeda left in Afghanistan—not enough to make up a decent marching band—the war goes on. Administration officials openly talk about continuing military operations through 2014 and beyond. President Obama has said that the upcoming July withdrawal will not be a “token gesture,” but the Pentagon is pushing back hard, advocating withdrawing as few as 10,000, mostly “non-combat”, troops. We will not be fooled by a symbolic withdrawal.

Veterans For Peace has known from the beginning that Afghanistan was not “the good war,” and has been opposed to this illegal, immoral, and unwinnable war from the outset. The majority of Americans now understand what we have known all along and are demanding that Congress end this horrible waste of lives and treasure. Our push for withdrawal is gaining momentum.

TAKE ACTION: This week we need you to add your personal voice to that call; Tell your member of Congress a token withdraw is unacceptable.

Here’s what you can do:

1. Call your representative today at 1-800-427-8619. Ask your Representative to support the legislation that will help end the war. The more members of Congress that go on the record to end the war in Afghanistan, the more pressure there will be on the administration to end the war.

2. Write a Letter to the Editor. The Letters to the Editor section is one of the most widely read sections of the newspaper, and can help shape the opinions of both the public and policy makers. Congressional staffers search newspapers looking for their boss’ name so it is a good idea to include your representative’s name in the body of the letter.

3. Use Social Media. Use Facebook and twitter to help us to send this message to the White House: Facebook: “President Obama: It's time to exit Afghanistan. Time is money ($10 billion/month) and it's time to stop wasting it. It's time to bring the troops home.”
1. Post the above message and these instructions as your Facebook status
2. Change your profile picture to this:

Twitter: @BarackObama: This is the year. #Time2exit #Afghanistan. $10 billion a month for an endless war?

Thank you for taking action!

Obamacide - Afghan Guantanamo Detainee 'Commits Suicide'

Published on Thursday, May 19, 2011 by Al Jazeera English

The inmate was found unconscious while an investigation is under way to determine the exact cause of the death.

An Afghan detainee at the US prison facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba has died in an apparent suicide, the US military said.

The prisoner, identified as Inayatullah, a 37-year-old accused of being a member of al-Qaeda, was found dead by guards conducting routine checks at the facility on Wednesday.

"An investigation is under way to determine the exact circumstances of what happened," Navy Commander Tamsen Reese, a spokeswoman at the Guantanamo Bay US naval base, said.

The prisoner was not conscious or breathing when guards checked on him in the morning, and they immediately tried to resuscitate him, US Southern Command said in a statement.

"After extensive lifesaving measures had been exhausted, the detainee was pronounced dead by a physician," the statement said.

Inayatullah is the eighth prisoner to die at the detention centre since the United States began sending foreign captives with alleged al-Qaeda or Taliban links to Guantanamo Bay in January 2002.

Five others died of apparent suicides and two died of natural causes.


Last year, a US federal judge dismissed a complaint by the families of two Guantanamo detainees who claimed that their deaths in 2006 had been covered up when the Pentagon ruled them suicides.

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service will conduct an investigation after an autopsy by a military pathologist, the military said. Inayatullah's body will then be prepared for repatriation to Afghanistan.

Inayatullah had been held without charge at Guantanamo since September 2007. The military said he was an admitted planner for al-Qaeda operations, and acknowledged facilitating the movement of foreign fighters.

The prison camp, located in Cuba, has held 779 foreign captives since the United States invaded Afghanistan to oust al-Qaeda and its Taliban protectors following the September 11, 2001 attacks. It now holds 171 inmates.

US president Barack Obama had tried and failed to overcome objections by opposition Republicans and some of his fellow Democrats in Congress to transfer some detainees to US prisons.

Last month, the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks released more than 700 leaked classified military files that indicated that the US held dozens of innocent men at the Guantanamo prison for years.

At least 150 people were innocent Afghans or Pakistanis, including drivers, farmers and chefs, who were rounded up as part of frantic intelligence gathering, and then detained at the prison.

© 2011

Aljazeera video from March 2011

-thanks to Aljazeera

May 17, 2011

Remembering the Nakba

MAY 15, 2011
Statement from Israel/Palestine Working Group on Remembering the Al Nakba

Remembering the Nakba

About this time each year, millions of Israelis and Jews around the world celebrate Israel ’s independence in 1948. But what is a time of celebration for Jewish Israelis is a very different kind of anniversary for over one and a half million Palestinians in Israel, over four million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza - 40% of whom live in refugee camps, some 650,000 in refugee camps elsewhere in the middle east, and over 3 million around the world with UN-registered property claims against Israel who are now living in what is known as the Palestinian Diaspora. For them - the largest and longest-standing registered refugee population in the world - March 14 marks the remembrance of their greatest collective tragedy.

Before May 1948, three Zionist militias had carried out a violent and ruthless ethnic cleansing campaign against a third of the Palestinian population. Those groups – the Haganah, Irgun and LEHI (known to the British as the Stern Gang) – were designated as terrorist organizations by the United Nations in a comprehensive report and chronology issued in October 1948.

From March through December 1948 these well-armed Zionist militias, which after May became armed forces of the new state of Israel, completed the violent expulsion of over 750,000 indigenous inhabitants of Palestine and the seizure of their land and properties. Most of these refugees were driven into 59 refugee camps hastily constructed to accommodate them by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).

This is what Palestinians call “al Nakba” – their "catastrophe".

By the end of the ethnic cleansing campaign, the Zionists had destroyed and/or dispossessed the populations of 531 Palestinian villages and eleven urban areas, and had committed 33 documented massacres, which killed some 13,000 largely defenseless Palestinians.

Reports of these massacres terrorized other Palestinian villages into fleeing their homes in the path of approaching Jewish forces. (This has been used by Zionist propagandists to falsely claim that the Palestinians left voluntarily or unnecessarily upon direction by their leaders.)

Recognizing that justice and human rights is a necessary precondition to peace, in December 1948 the UN adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 17 of this declaration states that no one may be arbitrarily deprived of his property, and Article 13 states that everyone may leave and return to his country. In that same month the UN passed Resolution 194 applying that right specifically to the Palestinian refugees, fulfillment of which became a condition of Israel ’s 1949 admission to the UN.

This obligation remains unfulfilled, and the Right of Return originating in the Nakba and refused by Israel has remained the central roadblock to peace for six decades. Consequently, Israel ’s independence celebration is an occasion of mourning for the 20% Palestinian minority in Israel, occupied and blockaded Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, and Palestinians displaced abroad in the diaspora.

Palestinians recognize Nakba Day on May 14, the date Israel declared its statehood. On March 22, 2011, the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) passed a bill to severely penalize any commemoration of Nakba Day in Israel.

Veterans for Peace (VFP) chooses to remember these historic violations of Palestinian human rights and deplores the continuing violations of Palestinian human rights today. Since Israel is the largest recipient of US foreign assistance and the United States routinely protects Israel from international justice through its UN Security Council vetoes, VFP believes the American public has a right to know these facts and encourages VFP members nationwide to use this anniversary to inform their communities.

...Israel/Palestine Working Group

GN’s 2011 Space Conference

June 17-19, 2011

North Andover, Massachusetts

Global Network 19th Annual Space Organizing Conference

Raytheon, Missile Offense, and Endless War

June 17-19
North Andover, Massachusetts

Working together to demilitarize and create a sustainable future

See: Getting to Andover | Events and Program
More on Raytheon |
Raytheon's Andover Facility Named IndustryWeek 'Best Plant'

2011 marks the 19th anniversary of Global Network’s organizing efforts to build an international constituency to Keep Space for Peace. Each year we gather to share the latest international developments on Pentagon and aerospace industry plans for the militarization of space. We approach this conference with clarity that U.S. “missile defense” programs are actually key elements in overall Pentagon first-strike planning. The Raytheon Company, which had 2009 sales of $25 billion, is a leading builder and promoter of the missile “offense” program. Headquartered in Massachusetts, Raytheon has a manufacturing plant in Andover that builds the Patriot (PAC-3) system that is now being used by the Pentagon to help encircle Russia and China.

Vigil: On Friday, June 17 from 3:00 - 5:00 pm a vigil will be held at the gates of the Raytheon production plant as the workers leave for home. Local activists have been holding vigils at the facility for years. (NW corner of Rt 133 and I-93 intersection)

Conference: Saturday, June 18 day-long conference with panel discussions and workshops held at Merrimack College. Key Global Network activists from around the world speaking about current U.S. and allies space weapons technology developments and strategies.

Concert: Tetsu Kitagawa, one of Japan's leading peace and justice singer/songwriters has been described as Japan's Bob Dylan -- early Dylan, the one engaged with people's movements. On tour in the U.S. as part of his 100 consecutive concerts for peace, nuclear abolition, and defense of Japan’s peace constitution, Kitagawa will be joined by Pat Scanlon and other musical friends for a concert on June 18 at 8:15 pm (North Parish Old Center Hall, North Andover). Open to the community, as well as to conference participants, tickets will be available at the conference and at the door for $10.

Cost: Registration for the conference is on a sliding scale. Please pay what you can best afford between $15 - $100. Registration fee includes three meals on June 17-18. (Suggested fee is $50 which covers our basic costs.)

Event Co-Sponsors: AFSC Disarmament Program; Alliance for Peace & Justice, Western Mass.; Essex Unitarian Universalist Church; House of Peace; Maine Campaign to Bring Our War $$ Home; Maine Veterans for Peace (VFP); Merrimack Valley People for Peace; New England Peace Pagoda; New Hampshire Peace Action; North Shore Coalition for Peace and Justice; Office of Mission and Ministry, Merrimack College; Peace Action Maine; Salem Peace Committee United for Justice with Peace (Greater Boston); Veterans for Peace Chapter 9 Smedley Butler Brigade; Veterans for Peace Chapter 45 Samantha Smith; War Resisters League New England.

more information

May 14, 2011

Past president of the National Lawyers Guild, Marjorie Cohn on "The Targeted Assassination of Osama Bin Laden".

by Marjorie Cohn / Published on Tuesday, May 10, 2011 by
When he announced that Osama bin Laden had been killed by a Navy Seal team in Pakistan,
President Barack Obama said, “Justice has been done.” Mr. Obama misused the word, "justice" when he made that statement. He should have said, "Retaliation has been accomplished."
A former professor of constitutional law should know the difference between those two concepts. The word "justice" implies an act of applying or upholding the law.

Targeted assassinations violate well-established principles of international law. Also called political assassinations, they are extrajudicial executions. These are unlawful and deliberate killings carried out by order of, or with the acquiescence of, a government, outside any judicial framework.

Extrajudicial executions are unlawful, even in armed conflict. In a 1998 report, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions noted that
“extrajudicial executions can never be justified under any circumstances, not even in time of war.”
The U.N. General Assembly and Human Rights Commission, as well as Amnesty International, have all condemned extrajudicial executions.

In spite of its illegality, the Obama administration frequently uses targeted assassinations to accomplish its goals. Five days after executing Osama bin Laden, Mr. Obama tried to bring “justice” to U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki, who has not been charged with any crime in the United States. The unmanned drone attack in Yemen missed al-Awlaki and killed two people “believed to be al Qaeda militants,” according to a CBS/AP bulletin.

Two days before the Yemen attack, U.S. drones killed 15 people in Pakistan and wounded four. Since the March 17 drone attack that killed 44 people, also in Pakistan, there have been four drone strikes. In 2010, American drones carried out 111 strikes. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan says that 957 civilians were killed in 2010.

The United States disavowed the use of extrajudicial killings under President Gerald Ford. After the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence disclosed in 1975 that the CIA had been involved in several murders or attempted murders of foreign leaders, President Ford issued an executive order banning assassinations. Every succeeding president until George W. Bush renewed that order. However, the Clinton administration targeted Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, but narrowly missed him.

In July 2001, the U.S. Ambassador to Israel denounced Israel’s policy of targeted killings, or “preemptive operations.” He said “the United States government is very clearly on the record as against targeted assassinations. They are extrajudicial killings, and we do not support that.”

Yet after September 11, 2001, former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer invited the killing of Saddam Hussein: “The cost of one bullet, if the Iraqi people take it on themselves, is substantially less” than the cost of war. Shortly thereafter, Bush issued a secret directive, which authorized the CIA to target suspected terrorists for assassination when it would be impractical to capture them and when large-scale civilian casualties could be avoided.

In November 2002, Bush reportedly authorized the CIA to assassinate a suspected Al Qaeda leader in Yemen. He and five traveling companions were killed in the hit, which Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz described as a “very successful tactical operation.”

After the Holocaust, Winston Churchill wanted to execute the Nazi leaders without trials. But the U.S. government opposed the extrajudicial executions of Nazi officials who had committed genocide against millions of people. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson, who served as chief prosecutor at the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal, told President Harry Truman: “We could execute or otherwise punish [the Nazi leaders] without a hearing. But undiscriminating executions or punishments without definite findings of guilt, fairly arrived at, would … not set easily on the American conscience or be remembered by children with pride.”

Osama bin Laden and the “suspected militants” targeted in drone attacks should have been arrested and tried in U.S. courts or an international tribunal. Obama cannot serve as judge, jury and executioner. These assassinations are not only illegal; they create a dangerous precedent, which could be used to justify the targeted killings of U.S. leaders.
Marjorie Cohn, a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and past President of the National Lawyers Guild, is the deputy secretary general for external communications of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, and the U.S. representative to the executive committee of the American Association of Jurists.. She is the author of Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law and co-author of Rules of Disengagement: The Politics and Honor of Military Dissent (with Kathleen Gilberd). Her anthology, The U
nited States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration and Abuse, is now available. Her articles are archived at

May 13, 2011

Iraq veteran and subject of "Poster Girl" Robynn Murray supports U.S. Iraq War resisters in Canada

I've seen Robynn speaking at a couple of venues. She has so much to share and covers so many aspects of what is wrong with the military, the occupations and the treatment of soldiers and veterans. I appreciate that such a dynamic and courageous woman would address the courage of the GI war resisters in Canada. Thank you for being with them, Robynn.

May 3, 2011

People killed in Iraq & Afghanistan

Total coalition military fatalities through April, 2011

In Iraq:

4452 US
318 Others

In Afghanistan:
1567 US
876 Others

Those killed in Iraq from April 24 to 30:

Spc Andrew Lara 25 Albany Oregon
Pvt Robert Friese 21 Chesterfield MI

112 Iraqi sisters and brothers were killed.

In Afghanistan were killed:

Sgt David Day 26 Gaylord MI
Sgt Bradley Hughes 41 Newark OH
Cpl Joe Jackson 22 White Swan WA
Cap Charles Ransom 31 Midlothian VA
Cap Nathan Nylander 35 Hockley TX
Maj Raymond Estelle II 40 New Haven CT
Col Frank Bryant JR 37 Knoxville TN
Sgt Tara Brown Deltona FL
Maj David Brodeur 34 Auburn MA
Maj Jeffrey Ausborn 41 Gladsen AL
Maj Philip Ambard 44 Edmonds WA
Pvt Jonathan Villanueva 19 Jacksonville FL
Cpl Adam Jones 29 Germantown OH
Sgt Matthew Hermanson 22 Appleton WI
Spc Preston Dennis 23 Redding CA

57 Afghani and Pakistani people were killed.

-thanks to Gaston Cadieux &

Chris Hedges Speaks on Osama bin Laden’s Death

Posted on May 1, 2011

AP / Pablo Martinez Monsivais
Chris Hedges, speaking at a Truthdig fundraising event in Los Angeles on Sunday evening, made these remarks about Osama bin Laden’s death.

I know that because of this announcement, that reportedly Osama bin Laden was killed, Bob [Truthdig Editor Robert Scheer] wanted me to say a few words about it … about al-Qaida. I spent a year of my life covering al-Qaida for The New York Times. It was the work in which I, and other investigative reporters, won the Pulitzer Prize. And I spent seven years of my life in the Middle East. I was the Middle East bureau chief for The New York Times. I’m an Arabic speaker. And when someone came over and told ... me the news, my stomach sank. I’m not in any way naive about what al-Qaida is. It’s an organization that terrifies me. I know it intimately.

But I’m also intimately familiar with the collective humiliation that we have imposed on the Muslim world. The expansion of military occupation that took place throughout, in particular the Arab world, following 9/11—and that this presence of American imperial bases, dotted, not just in Iraq and Afghanistan, but in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Doha—is one that has done more to engender hatred and acts of terror than anything ever orchestrated by Osama bin Laden.

And the killing of bin Laden, who has absolutely no operational role in al-Qaida—that’s clear—he’s kind of a spiritual mentor, a kind of guide … he functions in many of the ways that Hitler functioned for the Nazi Party. We were just talking with Warren [Beatty] about [Ian] Kershaw’s great biography of Hitler, which I read a few months ago, where you hold up a particular ideological ideal and strive for it. That was bin Laden’s role. But all actual acts of terror, which he may have signed off on, he no way planned.

I think that one of the most interesting aspects of the whole rise of al-Qaida is that when Saddam Hussein … I covered the first Gulf War, went into Kuwait with the 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, was in Basra during the Shiite uprising until I was captured and taken prisoner by the Iraqi Republican Guard. I like to say I was embedded with the Iraqi Republican Guard. Within that initial assault and occupation of Kuwait, bin Laden appealed to the Saudi government to come back and help organize the defense of his country. And he was turned down. And American troops came in and implanted themselves on Muslim soil.


When I was in New York, as some of you were, on 9/11, I was in Times Square when the second plane hit. I walked into The New York Times, I stuffed notebooks in my pocket and walked down the West Side Highway and was at Ground Zero four hours later. I was there when Building 7 collapsed. And I watched as a nation drank deep from that very dark elixir of American nationalism … the flip side of nationalism is always racism, it’s about self-exaltation and the denigration of the other.
And it’s about forgetting that terrorism is a tactic. You can’t make war on terror. Terrorism has been with us since Sallust wrote about it in the Jugurthine wars. And the only way to successfully fight terrorist groups is to isolate [them], isolate those groups, within their own societies. And I was in the immediate days after 9/11 assigned to go out to Jersey City and the places where the hijackers had lived and begin to piece together their lives. I was then very soon transferred to Paris, where I covered all of al-Qaida’s operations in the Middle East and Europe.

So I was in the Middle East in the days after 9/11. And we had garnered the empathy of not only most of the world, but the Muslim world who were appalled at what had been done in the name of their religion. And we had major religious figures like Sheikh Tantawi, the head of al-Azhar—who died recently—who after the attacks of 9/11 not only denounced them as a crime against humanity, which they were, but denounced Osama bin Laden as a fraud … someone who had no right to issue fatwas or religious edicts, no religious legitimacy, no religious training. And the tragedy was that if we had the courage to be vulnerable, if we had built on that empathy, we would be far safer and more secure today than we are.

We responded exactly as these terrorist organizations wanted us to respond. They wanted us to speak the language of violence. What were the explosions that hit the World Trade Center, huge explosions and death above a city skyline? It was straight out of Hollywood. When Robert McNamara in 1965 began the massive bombing campaign of North Vietnam, he did it because he said he wanted to “send a message” to the North Vietnamese—a message that left hundreds of thousands of civilians dead.

These groups learned to speak the language we taught them. And our response was to speak in kind. The language of violence, the language of occupation—the occupation of the Middle East, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—has been the best recruiting tool al-Qaida has been handed. If it is correct that Osama bin Laden is dead, then it will spiral upwards with acts of suicidal vengeance. And I expect most probably on American soil. The tragedy of the Middle East is one where we proved incapable of communicating in any other language than the brute and brutal force of empire.

And empire finally, as Thucydides understood, is a disease. As Thucydides wrote, the tyranny that the Athenian empire imposed on others it finally imposed on itself. The disease of empire, according to Thucydides, would finally kill Athenian democracy. And the disease of empire, the disease of nationalism … these of course are mirrored in the anarchic violence of these groups, but one that locks us in a kind of frightening death spiral. So while I certainly fear al-Qaida, I know its intentions. I know how it works. I spent months of my life reconstructing every step Mohamed Atta took. While I don’t in any way minimize their danger, I despair. I despair that we as a country, as Nietzsche understood, have become the monster that we are attempting to fight.

Thank you.

-thanks to Truthdig

Democracy Now: Jeremy Scahill on Killing of Bin Laden: Obama Has “Doubled Down on Bush Administration Policy of Targeted Assassination”

Jeremy Scahill on Killing of Bin Laden
Obama Has “Doubled Down on Bush Administration Policy of Targeted Assassination”

May 2, 2011

War Resister League: Not Justice, Not Victory: Just Another Murder in the Name of Peace

May 2, 2011

"I keep thinking of how awful it was to hear that there were peopleactually celebrating on 9-11. Now I look at the TV and see the same thing."
-Family member of a man killed in the World Trade Center of September 11, 2001.

The reported killing of Osama bin Laden by a CIA operation in Pakistan represents neither justice nor victory, and should be no cause for celebration.

It has been nearly ten years since September 11th, 2001.
Hundreds of thousands of civilians have been killed. More than six thousand members of the United States military have been killed. Trillions of dollars have been wasted. Tens of thousands of men, women, and children have been detained and imprisoned in the “war on terror.” Torture is now an acceptable component of U.S. foreign policy. Racism is more deeply entrenched in our culture.

Eight years to the day (May 1, 2003) after President George W. Bush declared "
Mission Accomplished" aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, he called the killing of bin Laden a "victory for America." Heads of State around the world added to a chorus of congratulations to President Barack Obama and the United States. Crowds gathered in New York City, Washington DC, and other places around the country waving American flags, singing patriotic songs, and chanting “USA, USA.”

This hateful euphoria demonstrates a nation bent on revenge, not justice.

Originally sponsored by the U.S. and now on lists of U.S. military targets, supporters of Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda will be emboldened by these events. Our call for an end to violence applies to all sides of the so-called "Global War on Terror," and echoes responses recently posted on independent Afghan Facebook pages.

In his Nobel Peace Prize
acceptance speech in 1964, Martin Luther King said:

"Sooner or later all the people of the world will have to discover a way to live together in peace.....If this is to be achieved, man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation."

If we are to move beyond revenge, aggression, and retaliation, we must end the wars, declared and undeclared, which are currently being waged by the United States.

It is beyond time to bring the troops home. The White House must begin a swift withdrawal of U.S. forces abroad.

We must not celebrate the death of one accused of mass murder while justifying or ignoring the death of hundreds of thousands due to our own violence.

In the barbarism of war, what had been unthinkable at one moment becomes routine the next. We must end the cycle of violence now.

Resources for more information:

Rethink Afghanistan: Osama bin Laden is Dead: Bring the Troops Home

Justice or Vengeance: by Phyllis Bennis

On Osama Bin Laden’s Death: by Chris Hedges

The New Yorker’s coverage and commentary

Death of Osama Bin Laden 'pretty irrelevant': Robert Fisk

Other Fisk writings:

Pro-democracy Afghan Facebook page, "Love Afghanistan"

“What Happens if We Stay in Afghanistan?” by the South Asia Solidarity Initiative

War Resisters League Statement on September 11, 2001

-thanks to the
War Resister League

David Swanson: Killing Resolves Nothing

Monday 2 May 2011

by: David Swanson, War Is A Crime

The plane I was on landed in Washington, DC, Sunday night, and the pilot came on the intercom to tell everyone to celebrate: our government had killed Osama bin Laden. This was better than winning the Super Bowl, he said.

Set aside for a moment the morality of cheering for the killing of a human being -- which despite the pilot's prompting nobody on the plane did. In purely Realpolitik terms, killing foreign leaders whom we've previously supported has been an ongoing disaster.

Our killing of Saddam Hussein has been followed by years of war and hundreds of thousands of pointless deaths. Our attempts to kill Muammar Gadaffi have killed his children and grandchildren and will end no war if they eventually succeed. Our attempts to kill Osama bin Laden, including wars justified by that mission, have involved nearly a decade of senseless slaughter in Afghanistan and the rest of the ongoing global "generational" war that is consuming our nation.

The Taliban was willing to turn bin Laden over for trial both before and after September 11, 2001. Instead our government opted for years of bloody warfare. And in the end, it was police action (investigation, a raid, and a summary execution) and not the warfare, that reportedly tracked bin Laden down in Pakistan. After capturing him, our government's representatives did not hold him for trial. They killed him and carried away his dead body.

Killing will lead only to more killing. There will be no review of bin Laden's alleged crimes, as a trial would have provided. There will be no review of earlier US support for bin Laden. There will be no review of US failures to prevent the September 11th attacks. Instead, there will be bitterness, hatred, and more violence, with the message being communicated to all sides that might makes right and murder is the way in which someone is, in President Obama's words, brought to justice.

Nothing is actually resolved, nothing concluded, and nothing to be celebrated in taking away life. If we want something to celebrate here, we should celebrate the end of one of the pieces of war propaganda that has driven the past decade of brutality and death. But I'm not going to celebrate that until appropriate actions follow. Nothing makes for peace like ceasing to wage war. Now would be an ideal time to give that a try.

Our senseless wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and Libya must be ended. Keeping bin Laden alive and threatening, assisted in keeping the war machine churning its bloody way through cities and flesh for years. No wonder President Bush was, as he said, not interested in tracking bin Laden down.

Ending the wars was our moral duty last week exactly as this week. But if the symbolism to be found in the removal of a key propaganda piece can be combined with the recent overwhelming US support for ending the wars, to actually end the wars, then I'll be ready -- with clean hands and with no nasty gleam of revenge in my eye -- to pop open the champagne.

But let's return to the morality of cheering for the killing of a human being. A decade ago that would not have seemed as natural to a US airline pilot. The automatic assumption would not have been that there could be no dissenters to that celebration. A decade ago torture was considered irredeemably evil. A decade ago we believed people should have fair trials before they are declared guilty or killed. A decade ago, if a president had announced his new power to assassinate Americans, at least a few people would have asked where in the world he got the power to assassinate non-Americans.

Is it too late to go back 10 years in time in some particular ways? As we put bin Laden behind us, can we put the degredation of our civil liberties and our representative government, and our honesty, accountability, and the rule of law behind us too? Can we recover the basic moral deceny that we used to at the very least pretend and aspire to?

Not while we're dancing in the street to celebrate death.

Imagine the propaganda that the US media could make of video footage of a foreign country where the primitive brutes are dancing in the streets to celebrate the murder of a tribal enemy. That is the propaganda we've just handed those who will view bin Laden as a martyr. When their revenge comes, we will know exactly what we are supposed to do: exact more revenge in turn to keep the cycle going.

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind, but the blind people think that they still see. The world looks to them like a Hollywood adventure movie. In those stories, killing somone generally causes a happy ending. That misconception is responsible for piles and piles of corpses to which more will now be added.

-thanks to truthout