Sunday, March 22, 2009

March 22, 2009; The Morning After…Lament From The Counter Culture

March 22, 2009; The Morning After…Lament From The Counter Culture



So You Want To Go To Washington


March On The Pentagon: National Press Club - Part One




March On The Pentagon 1 - Answer Coalition 3/17/07


March On the Pentagon 2 - Answer Coalition 3/17/07


March On The Pentagon 3 - Answer Coalition 3/17/07


Scenes From The "March On The Pentagon" Rally: 1


Anti-War Protests Hit Washington


And So Let’s See What Happened In The Media… all 1,134 news articles »


Beginning with this in the search:  (Hardly an Auspicious Beginning!)


Our must-win war in Afghanistan




Later this month, the Obama administration will unveil a new strategy for the war in Afghanistan. This comes as most important indicators in Afghanistan are pointing in the wrong direction. President Obama's decision last month to deploy an additional 17,000 U.S. troops was an important step in the right direction, but a comprehensive overhaul of our war plan is needed, and quickly.


As the administration finalizes its policy review, we are troubled by calls in some quarters for the president to adopt a ''minimalist'' approach toward Afghanistan. Supporters of this course caution that the American people are tired of war and that an ambitious, long-term commitment to Afghanistan may be politically unfeasible. They warn that Afghanistan has always been a ''graveyard of empires'' and has never been governable. Instead, they suggest, we can protect our vital national interests in Afghanistan even while lowering our objectives and accepting more ''realistic'' goals there -- for instance, by scaling back our long-term commitment to helping the Afghan people build a better future in favor of a short-term focus on fighting terrorists.


The political allure of such a reductionist approach is obvious. But it is also dangerously and fundamentally wrong, and the president should unambiguously reject it. Let there be no doubt: The war in Afghanistan can be won. Success -- a stable, secure, self-governing Afghanistan that is not a terrorist sanctuary -- can be achieved. Just as in Iraq, there is no shortcut to success, no clever ''middle way'' that allows us to achieve more by doing less. A minimalist approach in Afghanistan is a recipe not for winning smarter but for losing slowly at tremendous cost in American lives, treasure and security.


Yes, our vital national interest in Afghanistan is to prevent it from once again becoming a haven for terrorists to plan attacks against America and U.S. allies. But achieving this narrow counterterrorism objective requires us to carry out a far broader set of tasks, the foremost of which are protecting the population, nurturing legitimate and effective governance, and fostering development. In short, we need a comprehensive civil-military counterinsurgency approach backed by greatly increased resources and an unambiguous U.S. political commitment to success in Afghanistan over the long haul.


A narrow, short-term focus on counterterrorism, by contrast, would repeat the mistakes made for years in Iraq before the troop surge, with the same catastrophic consequences. Before 2007 in Iraq, U.S. Special Forces had complete freedom of action to strike at terrorist leaders, backed by more than 120,000 conventional American forces and overwhelming air power. Although we succeeded in killing countless terrorists -- including the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi -- the insurgency continued to grow in strength and violence. It was not until we changed course and applied a new approach -- a counterinsurgency strategy focused on providing basic security for the people and improving their lives -- that the cycle of violence was at last broken.


Those who argue for simply conducting targeted counterterrorist strikes in Afghanistan also fail to grasp that by far the best way to generate the intelligence necessary for such strikes is from Afghan civilians, who will risk their lives to help us only if they believe we are committed to staying and protecting them from the insurgents and helping to improve their lives.

Loose rhetoric about a minimal commitment in Afghanistan is counterproductive for another reason: It exacerbates suspicions, already widespread in South Asia, that the United States will tire of this war and retreat. These doubts about our staying power deter ordinary Afghans from siding with our coalition against the insurgency. Also important is that these suspicions are a major reason some in Pakistan are reluctant to break decisively with insurgent groups, which, in a hedging strategy, they view as integral to positioning Pakistan for influence ''the day after'' the United States gives up and leaves Afghanistan. That is why it is so important for the president to reject the temptations of minimalism in Afghanistan and instead adopt a fully resourced, comprehensive counterinsurgency strategy, backed by an unambiguous American commitment to success over the long term. In doing so, he must invest the political capital to remind Americans why this fight is necessary for our national security, speak openly and frankly to our nation about the difficult path ahead, and -- most of all -- explain clearly to our fellow citizens why he is confident that we can prevail.


As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama called Afghanistan ''the war we must win.'' He was absolutely right. Now it is time to win it -- and we and many other members of both political parties stand ready to give him our full support in this crucial fight.


John McCain, a Republican senator from Arizona, was the 2008 Republican nominee for president. Joseph Lieberman, an Independent Democratic senator from Connecticut, was the Democratic nominee for vice president in 2000.


SF Chron Reports 'Massive' Anti-War Protest, Completely Ignored ..

Back on March 15, Noel Sheppard noted that the San Francisco Chronicle completely ignored the thousands of average Americans that came together in Cincinnati, Ohio to protest Obama's unprecedented take over of the US economy. The Cincinnati Tea Party truly was massive but is just one of the many dozens of Tea Party protests that have occurred -- and are continuing to occur -- all across the country in the last two months. Still, the SF Chronicle didn't see any reason to cover the rally.


But never fear for the Chronicle does enjoy a good protest, nonetheless. As long as it's of a leftist, anti-war flavor, of course. Witness the Chron's coverage of the "Massive anti-war, anti-Wall Street protest in San Francisco" from this weekend, March 21.


This rally was no bigger (and arguably smaller) than the anti-Obama protests in Cincinnati, yet the Chronicle reserves the word "massive" for the anti-war/anti-Wall Street protest while offering no coverage at all for the one in Cincy. If size was the key here, as the Chronicle's headline seems to note, then why ignore the likely bigger protest in Ohio only a week ago?


Crowds in SF protest Iraq war, bank bailouts

San Francisco Chronicle - 17 hours ago

(03-21) 14:25 PDT SAN FRANCISCO -- Umbrellas mixed with protest signs Saturday in San Francisco, where demonstrators marked the sixth anniversary of the war ...


March 21st 2009 Anti-War Protest In San Francisco

Bay Area Indymedia - 12 hours ago

by Z On Saturday, March 21st, protest marches took place across the US and around the world on the sixth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. ...


Massive Protest in San Francisco? The Chronicle gets it wrong again.

Bay Area Indymedia - 13 hours ago

by Robert B. Livingston ( confetti [at] ) The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting via its web presence, sfgate that a "massive anti-war, ...



CBS 5 

Five protesters were arrested during the second part of an otherwise peaceful anti-war demonstration in San Francisco today, San Francisco police said. ...


5 Arrests At SF Anti-War Demonstration

CBS 5 

The information you provide will be used only to send the requested e-mail and will not be used to send any other e-mail communications. ...


Protesters Mark Milestone

By Donna St. George

Washington Post Staff Writer 
Sunday, March 22, 2009; Page A16


Thousands of demonstrators marked the sixth anniversary of the war in Iraq with an impassioned protest of the nation's military policies yesterday, demanding that President Obama bring U.S. troops home.


The demonstration was the first in Washington of the Obama presidency, replete with many of the same messages of protests during the Bush era. Placards read "War Is Not the Answer," "Troops Out Now" and "We Need Jobs and Schools, Not War."


As marchers made their way from the Mall toward the Pentagon and a hub of defense contractors in Crystal City, they chanted: "Hey, Obama, yes, we can. Troops out of Afghanistan." Activist Dave Cahill, 25, of New Jersey proclaimed from a megaphone, "Obama wants to continue the war."


Some protesters hoisted mock coffins draped with flags -- about 100 in all -- to represent casualties in Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries where U.S. actions have claimed lives in the war on terror.


"I came from Pittsburgh today because I think the war in Iraq was a disastrous mistake, and I really hope this administration doesn't make a similar mistake in Afghanistan," said Robin Alexander, 55, who works for a labor union.


"He's really on the wrong track with not getting out of Iraq more quickly and escalating in Afghanistan," said Pennsylvanian Al Hart, 58. "I think this is going to be his Vietnam if he doesn't change course."


Many activists said they had volunteered with or supported the Obama presidential campaign. Organizers estimated yesterday's crowd at 10,000, but Arlington County police said the crowd was between 2,500 and 3,000.


"I do support him, but I'm also critical, and I think the escalation in Afghanistan is a mistake," said Alice Sturm Sutter, 61, a nurse practitioner who campaigned for Obama and took a bus from the Washington Heights area of New York. After six years in Iraq, she said, "we need to pressure the government to work for peace and bring all the troops home."


A particular point of contention was Obama's speech late last month to Marines at Camp Lejeune, N.C., in which he announced a timetable that would leave about a third of the current U.S. force of 142,000 in Iraq until the end of 2011. And his wording left open the possibility of a longer military presence, protest leaders said.


"He's basically guaranteeing that it will go on for three more years," said Brian Becker, national coordinator of ANSWER, or Act Now to Stop War & Racism, which sponsored the day's events.


"Obama won, Bush is gone, but the occupation of Iraq continues," Becker said. "The movement is finding its feet again, recognizing that the solution was not through the electoral arena."


Protesters marched past the Pentagon, streaming into Crystal City and standing at the steps of defense contractors, including Boeing, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics and KBR, leaving the mock coffins near each location. The message for all, Becker said, was that "they're not just making airplanes, they're making coffins. They are a company that benefits directly from war and occupation."


Organizers said that later there was a tense standoff with police, near General Dynamics, but no one was arrested.


Cynthia Benjamin, 56, a registered nurse from Upstate New York and a Code Pink activist, said the march seemed smaller than others she had been part of in Washington. She wondered whether tough economic times kept some people away and whether "a lot of them are thinking, Barack in, problem solved."


Benjamin sees it differently. "It's not over until every last soldier is home from foreign soil."


Sheehan, Walker speak at anti-war rally in Hillcrest

By Susan Shroder (Contact) Union-Tribune Staff Writer

7:13 p.m. March 21, 2009


SAN DIEGO – Activist mom Cindy Sheehan and former San Diego TV news anchor Bree Walker were keynote speakers Saturday at an anti-war rally marking the sixth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.


In 2007, Sheehan sold Walker the 5-acre site near former President George W. Bush's Crawford, Texas, ranch that she had used as a staging site for war protests. Sheehan's son was killed in Iraq.


Sheehan, who received a warm reception from the crowd, urged San Diegans to keep the heat on President Barack Obama to end the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.


“From what I understand, Barack Obama likes to vacation in Hawaii,” she said. “We'll have a much nicer place to protest now than Crawford, Texas.”


San Diego police estimated that about 150 people took part in a street march before the rally. The march, with a police motorcycle escort, began at Fifth and University avenues in Hillcrest and concluded at the War Memorial Building near the San Diego Zoo in Balboa Park, where the rally was held.


The event was organized by the San Diego Coalition for Peace and Justice, which estimated the rally crowd at more than 200.


Signs were prevalent at the event, where most people sat on the grass to listen to a band and the speakers, including a Marine Vietnam veteran who said that people should support the troops by bringing them home.


Sheehan criticized the billions of dollars that the U.S. government is spending fighting the conflicts overseas while the country is in economic turmoil.


One person held a sign that echoed her thought. It said: “Stop throwing away lives and money on occupations and wars in the Middle East.”


Another sign said: “Six long years of war for what noble cause?”


Sheehan, who has said that Bush misled the country into a protracted Iraq conflict, told the crowd: “George W. Bush never told me what noble cause he killed my son for.”


Susan Shroder: (619) 293-1876; (Contact)


Protesters in St. Paul mark Iraq war anniversary

Minneapolis Star Tribune - 10 hours ago

Vietnam veteran Dick Foley was among the marchers Saturday. The 64-year-old from Eden Prairie served in the Army from 1967 to 1968 and said he opposes the ...


Demonstrators Call for End to Iraq War

The Associated Press - 12 hours ago

Hundreds of demonstrators from across the US gathered in Washington Saturday to mark the sixth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, and to urge an immediate ...


Boulderites protest six years of Iraq war

BOULDER, Colo. — Saturday marked two days after the six-year anniversary from when the United States went to war against Iraq. To acknowledge the day and raise awareness, a couple dozen demonstrators gathered on street corners Friday and Saturday in Boulder with signs in protest of the war.


"Every day this war goes on, innocent people are dying," said Joanne Cowan, holding an anti-war sign. "It was immoral from the beginning and we should bring our troops home."


In the morning, demonstrators held signs on streets around Boulder, and then converged at the corner of Canyon Boulevard and Broadway at noon. People stood on the corners with their signs, eliciting honks from some cars, and questions from pedestrians. One man played the flute over the din of traffic.


With six years of war, there have also been six years of subsequent protests, but the message from demonstrators has evolved over time.


"As the situation got worse and worse, we try to emphasize the civilian casualties," said Carolyn Bninski, an organizer for the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center. "It's a tremendous loss of people and infrastructure."


But others support the war and say that the positive aspects of troops' presence there has been overlooked. Reached at the Broomfield Veterans of Foreign Wars post, 25-year-old Elizabeth Ball said she helped build up Iraq's infrastructure when she served there during the initial years of war.


"I came back and heard people saying how horrible the war was," she said. "But people didn't take into consideration that we did things like rebuilding schools and roads -- it was hard to hear people say that."


Seven out of 10 Americans say they support President Barack Obama's announced plan to remove most U.S. troops from Iraq by summer 2010 but keep a force of 35,000 to 50,000 in the country, according to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation released Thursday.


Bninski thinks that's too many troops to leave in Iraq, saying "50,000 non-combative troops can immediately become combative troops -- by leaving 50,000 troops, we're continuing our occupation."


As the end of one war may be in sight, demonstrators were also protesting the rise of another.


"Obama wants to move 30,000 troops into Afghanistan," said protester George Newell, a Marine veteran, "but that country has been called a 'graveyard of empires.'"


Afghanistan has repelled invasions from Persia, Alexander the Great, three attempts by the British, and the Soviets, Newell said.


"You think we'd learn from 2,000 years of history," he said.


Editorial: War anniversary presents new challenges

by The Muskegon Chronicle

Friday March 20, 2009, 8:30 AM


This week marks the sixth anniversary of the war in Iraq, a date that demands reflection.


The war numbers remain sobering:


Deaths: 4,259 U.S. military deaths, including 13 soldiers with West Michigan ties, 1,264 U.S. contractor deaths, 318 coalition deaths, 100,000 or more Iraqi deaths.

Wounded: 31,089 or more U.S. troops.

U.S. troops currently stationed in Iraq: 130,000.

Dollars spent: $606 billion.


This anniversary also marks a change in the tone of the war. Now, largely due to the troop surge, there are more ordinary moments in this volatile region. Iraqi citizens are returning to their country, going to school and to work.


U.S. casualties have dropped sharply since Iraqi soldiers and police have taken a greater role in security. And President Obama has said he will withdraw all but 50,000 troops by August 2010.


Which will bring a new challenge to our nation.


"The homecoming we face over the next year and a half will be the true test of this commitment: whether we will stand with our veterans as they face new challenges -- physical, psychological and economic -- here at home," Obama recently told Veterans Administration workers.


Muskegon area residents have remained strong in their support of the troops and of the families who have experienced the loss of a loved one. Numerous and ongoing efforts in schools, by veterans groups and citizen committees have resulted in care packages and other reminders of home for troops stationed in Iraq.


Area residents also remained strong in the search for peace.


Although this area, like the rest of the country, remains divided over whether we should have fought this war, it is important that we come together to support our returning troops.


Citizens can learn more by attending a seminar, "Healing the Wounds of War," 12:30-6:30 p.m. Saturday at Bethany Reformed Church. 1105 Terrace. The 1 p.m. keynote address will be given by Dave Eling, director of the Muskegon County Department of Veterans Affairs.


It's a good place to start the healing process.


After six years and more than 4,000 U.S. casualties, the Iraq war has at last moved -- judging by its virtual disappearance from the national conversation -- into America's outbox of national problems.


A USA Today/Gallup poll taken March 18 finds 51 percent of Americans give a positive assessment of the Iraq war, up from 28 percent in January 2007. And 64 percent now believe the United States can win the war, with 42 percent believing it will do so. Both are the best assessments that Gallup has measured since June 2006.


Such opinions lag behind the actual performance on the ground in Iraq. Senior U.S. officials say the Iraqi government has quietly met 17 of 18 political, economic, and security benchmarks set for it more than two years ago. 


And by almost any measure -- U.S. and Iraqi casualties, political vibrancy, economic activity -- the "surge" announced by President Bush in January 2007 has worked to produce a safer, more stable Iraq.


Nevertheless, top officials at the Pentagon will not say outright that the war has been won. Maj. Gen. John Kelly, until a month ago the commander of Multinational Forces Iraq in the western part of the country, told FOX News that victory is "right around the corner." 


"We are winning, for sure," he said. But Kelly also recoiled from the word "victory" because of the lopsided nature of asymmetric warfare, in which a superior armed force can be made to appear as though it is losing a conflict due to a single bloody event orchestrated by a handful of terrorists.


"I hesitate to use the word 'win' or 'won' against an ideology," Kelly added in an interview from his new base at Camp Pendleton. "I mean, forty years from now, it's entirely possible that some extremist al-Qaeda type will set off a bomb in central Baghdad or, for that matter, fly another plane into the Sears Tower in Chicago.


"But I would say you could probably declare victory -- if you really felt compelled to do that -- at the point at which the Iraqi security forces, army and police, are shouldering the entire burden and U.S. combat forces are out of the country because they're no longer needed," he said.


Defense Secretary Robert Gates told FOX News America's fighting men and women require no formal declaration of victory. "I don't think they need to be told that they've been successful; they know it," Gates said during a Feb. 27 visit with President Obama to Camp LeJeune, N.C.


"There's reluctance on the part of the secretary and the people who work in this building to use terms such as 'winning' or 'won,'" added Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell this week. "That's just not how we choose to characterize the situation on the ground. That doesn't mean that we are -- that we are deniers of the fact that there is enormous progress being made; but there's still more work to be done."


In the immediate aftermath of the American-led invasion of Iraq, which began with an aerial bombing campaign over Baghdad on March 19, 2003, things seemed to be going the coalition's way. The swift success of the early phase of the campaign -- the Third Infantry Division's largely unimpeded roll into Baghdad, followed by the ouster of Saddam Hussein and his top echelon -- fed the mistaken belief that "regime change," in this case at least, could be accomplished neatly and cleanly, and that Iraqi oil could quickly start flowing again to subsidize the nation's wealth.


But the February 2006 bombing of the al-Askari Mosque, one of the holiest Shi'ite sites in Iraq, ushered in a new and particularly fierce period of sectarian clashes pitting Sunni Muslim Iraqis against Shi'ia. Arab hatred of American occupiers and a number of miscalculations by coalition commanders and American leaders on the ground in Iraq also conspired to produce dire setbacks for the American cause -- and even led Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to declare the war "lost" in April 2007.


The "surge" of U.S. troops into Iraq over the last two years -- overseen by General David Petraeus, now the commander of Central Command -- turned all that around. But some critics of the war remain, for their own reasons, reluctant to acknowledge the improved conditions on the ground. 


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in noting the sixth anniversary of the war, made no mention of the singular accomplishment that the bloodshed produced -- namely, the establishment of a functioning democracy and Arab ally in the heart of the Middle East -- and instead focused on the conflict's coming conclusion.


"Here we are, six years later, in Iraq," Pelosi said at the start of a Capitol Hill news conference. "The good news is that our new president has called for an end to the war and a timetable to bring our troops out of Iraq."


President Obama himself congratulated American troops at Camp Lejeune on Feb. 27, saying they had achieved their central objectives: removing the Hussein regime and enabling the formation of a sovereign government in Baghdad. 


"You got the job done," the president said twice. But in his remarks at the base, Obama also explained why "victory" -- a word he never used that day -- remains out of reach. "Violence will continue to be a part of life in Iraq. Too many fundamental political questions about Iraq's future remain unresolved. Too many Iraqis are still displaced or destitute," he said.


Ultimately, definitions of an American "victory" in Iraq will differ. What will remain clear to all, however, are the displays of honor and heroism by the U.S. forces who fought and died in Iraq.






David Swanson is a Bald Faced Liar (let’s all remember that when ...

 David Swanson; your name is attached to this already ; ..... If you all want to do that it would be worth it for me to make all the ..

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