Tag: Jeremy Scahill

Drones: How America Kills

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

How America kills using drones has been a hot topic for many on the left who feel that the Obama administration has gone too far with the ubiquitous “Global War on Terror” (GWOT) when the president ordered the assassination of Anwar Al Awlaki and two weeks later his 16 year old son. The disagreement over this policy became even more heated when the Justice Department released an undated White Paper that outlined the memos that allegedly justifies extrajudicial executions by the Executive branch without due process. Constitutional lawyer and columnist at The Guardian, Glenn Greenwald observed that the memo has forced many Democrats “out of the closet as overtly unprincipled hacks:”

Illustrating this odd phenomenon was a much-discussed New York Times article on Sunday by Peter Baker which explained that these events “underscored the degree to which Mr. Obama has embraced some of Mr. Bush’s approach to counterterrorism, right down to a secret legal memo authorizing presidential action unfettered by outside forces.” [..]

Baker also noticed this: “Some liberals acknowledged in recent days that they were willing to accept policies they once would have deplored as long as they were in Mr. Obama’s hands, not Mr. Bush’s.” As but one example, the article quoted Jennifer Granholm, the former Michigan governor and fervent Obama supporter, as admitting without any apparent shame that “if this was Bush, I think that we would all be more up in arms” because, she said “we trust the president“. Thus did we have – while some media liberals objected – scores of progressives and conservatives uniting to overtly embrace the once-controversial Bush/Cheney premises of the War on Terror (it’s a global war! the whole world is a battlefield! the president has authority to do whatever he wants to The Terrorists without interference from courts!) in order to defend the war’s most radical power yet (the president’s power to assassinate even his own citizens in secret, without charges, and without checks). [..]

What this DOJ “white paper” did was to force people to confront Obama’s assassination program without emotionally manipulative appeal to some cartoon Bad Guy Terrorist (Awlaki). That document never once mentioned Awlaki. Instead – using the same creepily clinical, sanitized, legalistic language used by the Bush DOJ to justify torture, renditions and warrantless eavesdropping – it set forth the theoretical framework for empowering not just Obama, but any and all presidents, to assassinate not just Anwar Awlaki, but any citizens declared in secret by the president to be worthy of execution. Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee wrote that the DOJ memo “should shake the American people to the core”, while Harvard Law Professor Noah Feldman explained “the revolutionary and shocking transformation of the meaning of due process” ushered in by this memo and said it constituted a repudiation of the Magna Carta.

In doing so, this document helpfully underscored the critical point that is otherwise difficult to convey: when you endorse the application of a radical state power because the specific target happens to be someone you dislike and think deserves it, you’re necessarily institutionalizing that power in general. That’s why political leaders, when they want to seize extremist powers or abridge core liberties, always choose in the first instance to target the most marginalized figures: because they know many people will acquiesce not because they support that power in theory but because they hate the person targeted. But if you cheer when that power is first invoked based on that mentality – I’m glad Obama assassinated Awlaki without charges because he was a Bad Man! – then you lose the ability to object when the power is used in the future in ways you dislike (or by leaders you distrust), because you’ve let it become institutionalized. [..]

What’s most remarkable about this willingness to endorse extremist policies because you “trust” the current leader exercising them is how painfully illogical it is, and how violently contrary it is to everything Americans are taught from childhood about their country. It should not be difficult to comprehend that there is no such thing as vesting a Democratic President with Power X but not vesting a GOP President with the same power. To endorse a power in the hands of a leader you like is, necessarily, to endorse the power in the hands of a leader you dislike.

Like Bob Herbert’s statement – “policies that were wrong under George W. Bush are no less wrong because Barack Obama is in the White House” – this is so obvious it should not need to be argued. As former Bush and Obama aide Douglas Ollivant told the NYT yesterday about the “trust” argument coming from some progressives: “That’s not how we make policy. We make policy assuming that people in power might abuse it. To do otherwise is foolish.

Hypocrisy thy name is Obama loyalists.

This weekend on Up with Chris Hayes, host Chris Hayes and his guest examined he government’s use of drone strikes and its “targeted killing” program in light of the release of the White Paper and the confirmation hearing for John Brennan, President Obama’s nominee to head the CIA. They discussed what the law allows, what the constitution allows, what American’s think should be allowed and the what are the moral and ethical implications.

To discuss “How America Kills,” Chris was joined by Jeremy Scahill, national security correspondent for The Nation magazine; Jennifer Draskal, Associate law professor at Georgetown University and fellow at the school’s Center on National Security; Richard Epstein, senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, professor of law at New York University Law School; and Hina Shamsi, director of the National Security Project for the ACLU.

Drone Wars & War Crimes Will Continue

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

A major topic that was never mentioned during any of the campaign speeches or debates from either of the two major party candidates was the continued, and escalating, use of drones in the eternally, nebulous war on terror. During the election night coverage at Democracy Now!, investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill and Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich discuss the expansion of the drone war and the targeted assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen struck by a U.S. drone strike in Yemen last year.

In Obama’s 2nd Term, Will Dems Challenge U.S. Drones, Killings?

The transcript can be read here.

Libya: Not Quite Mission Accomplished Or Legal

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

While the world will not miss Mommar Gadaffi, there are some very serious questions about how this was achieved, particularly for Americans who were opposed to Pres. George W. Bush military intervention policies while excusing Obama’s violation of the law.

Glenn Greenwald makes two salient points in his critique of an article by Michael Tomasky in the Daily Beast that argues “the war in Libya highlights how “one can see how he (Obama) might become not just a good but a great foreign-policy president” and how some intellectual progressives conceive of the Obama presidency”.

First, this is not “mission accomplished” by any means:

No matter how moved you are by joyous Libyans (just as one was presumably moved by joyous Iraqis); no matter how heinous you believe Gadaffi was (he certainly wasn’t worse than Saddam); no matter how vast you believe the differences are between Libya and Iraq (and there are significant differences), this specific Iraq lesson cannot be evaded.  When foreign powers use military force to help remove a tyrannical regime that has ruled for decades, all sorts of chaos, violence, instability, and suffering — along with a slew of unpredictable outcomes — are inevitable.

Greenwald’s second point is the illegality:

The Atlantic‘s Conor Freidersdorf argues that no matter how great the outcome proves to be, Libya must be considered a “Phyrrhic victory for America” because:

   Obama has violated the Constitution; he willfully broke a law that he believes to be constitutional; he undermined his own professed beliefs about executive power, and made it more likely that future presidents will undermine convictions that he purports to hold; in all this, he undermined the rule of law and the balance of powers as set forth by the framers.


The New Yorker‘s Amy Davidson warns of the serious precedential dangers not only from Obama’s law-breaking but from our collective willingness to overlook it.  Honestly: can anyone claim that if George Bush had waged an optional war without Congressional approval — and continued to wage it even after a Democratic Congress voted against its authorization — that progressives would be lightly and parenthetically calling it “ridiculous” on their way to praising the war?  No, they’d be screaming — rightfully so — about lawlessness and the shredding of the Constitution; that this identical contempt for the law by Obama has become nothing more than a cursory progressive caveat (at most) on the way to hailing the glorious war is astounding.

(emphasis mine)

The Nation’s Jeremy Scahill appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe discussing Libya setting Gov. Howard Dean and Newsweek‘s Tina Brown straight. He says what’s happening in the country is essentially “a NATO enforced regime change” and that President Obama is “implementing the Bush domino agenda in the Middle East”. Scahill also expresses concern that the US is making future enemies across the Middle East.

This article was a tough call for me to write because like so many I would rejoice to see Gadaffi in shackles at The Hague and that this revolution was initiated by the Libyan people. That said and as Glenn also points out in his article:

Does anyone know how many civilians have died in the NATO bombing of Tripoli and the ensuing battle?  Does anyone know who will dominate the subsequent regime? Does it matter?


But my, how soon some have forgotten the Bush regime’s policies.

Destroy, Destroy, Destroy: the Obama War Against Pakistan

I want to start with great interview with Webster Tarpley  on Bonnie Faulkner’s show on KPFA. First a few things about Webster. He’s one of the more interesting minds (if you pardon that expression) writing and speaking about politics in the world. I’m impressed with erudition and he travels and knows the world very well. His flaw is that he builds a theory and then fits the facts to it. However, the theory he builds are very good and connect with the facts enough to make him very useful. He and Peter Dale Scott seem to understand what is going on as well as anyone. And Tarpley, who I disagree on a number of matters, did call the Obama fraud a fraud before anyone and thus I’m inclined to believe him — plus he wrote the definitive books on the Bush family and has put 9/11 in a firm historical context in his book 9/11 Synthetic Terror: Made in USA.

If you listen to the interview you will see, as most of us here suspect, that we are not in Afghanistan to save Aghani women from harm or to bring democracy or even defeat the Taliban or even “get” Bin Laden and Al-qaida. It is much more interesting and complex than that.

BOMBSHELL! Blackwater’s secret war in Pakistan exposed

Crossposted at Daily Kos

    Can anybody explain why Bush/Cheney Accountability is NOT happening?

    Jeremy Scahill blows the lid off “Blackwater’s Secret War in Pakistan” in an article just published in The Nation. This story brings together an amazing array of bad actors: Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Stanley McChrystal and Blackwater. It should come as no surprise, then, that the outcome of this team working together is a jaw-dropping tale of war crimes that continue to be carried out.

The entire story should be read . . . .

Jim White at Firedoglake.com

Bold text added by the diarist

     Quotes from Scahill’s article, commentary and more below the fold, but I SERIOUSLY urge you to read Scahill’s article in it’s entirety first.

Yet another scandal; yet another way Obama is just like Bush

You may have heard about the enormous, bigger-than-the-Vatican American Embassy that’s been under construction in Iraq for, like, forever, a temple being erected to the Balls of Bush, the man who invaded Iraq and liberated its oil.

You may have even heard about how it was built with what amounted to slave labor.   You may have heard about lots of problems with the construction, and how the contractor who built it, who wasn’t even American, skimped and cheated and lied.

Well, you probably didn’t realize what a huge scandal this actually is.   Because the media doesn’t report this stuff.   But Jeremy Scahill does.  He’s one of the only real journalists out there.    And it turns out that the cheating and corruption was so bad, from this Kuwaiti contractor, that he’s gonna have to probably pay back $130 million dollars to the U.S. government for this boondoggle.

Iraq Embassy Scandal Expands: Contractor May Have to Repay $130 Million

The Baghdad embassy-the largest of any nation on planet earth and ten times bigger than any other US embassy-is striking evidence indicating a continued US presence in the country for many years to come. The structure cost more than $700 million and is the size of 80 football fields. It is bigger than the Vatican, six times larger than the United Nations compound in New York and is about two thirds the size of the National Mall in Washington. It has space for 1,000 employees who are guarded by scores of paramilitary mercenary forces. In other words it is the perfect structure for a nation that claims to be leaving Iraq very soon.

The embassy is more like a fortress and hardly sends a message of warm diplomacy. “What kind of embassy is it when everybody lives inside and it’s blast-proof, and people are running around with helmets and crouching behind sandbags?” said Edward Peck, the former US ambassador to Iraq when the embassy was first being constructed.

Yup, it’s a grand monument to the stupidity that is George W. Bush.   It’s about as big as he is stupid.  

And you may have a WTF moment when you think “wait a minute, why was the company hired to build this monstrosity not American, but Kuwait?”   Well, Scahill answers that for you:

In 2006, David Phinney reported: “Several other contractors that competed for the embassy contracts… believe that a high-level decision at the State Department was made to favor a Kuwait-based firm in appreciation for Kuwait’s support of the invasion and occupation of Iraq. ‘It was political,’ said one contractor.”

And if you thought American slavery ended with the Civil War, you were wrong:

FKIT has been plagued by allegations from whistleblowers who worked on the embassy that say the company “brought workers, mostly South Asians and Filipinos, to Baghdad under false pretenses, then abused and threatened them while there.” The company, predictably, denies those charges.

Rory Mayberry, who first worked with First Kuwaiti in March 200 as a medic on the embassy construction site, “alleges that when he showed up at the Kuwait airport for his flight into Baghdad, there were 51 Filipino employees of First Kuwaiti also waiting for the same flight – except the Filipinos believed they were going to Dubai,” reported NBC News. “He says the Filipinos were told to proceed to “GATE 26″ at the Kuwait airport – but no Gate 26 existed. There was only a door to a staircase that led to a white plane on the tarmac:”

Mayberry says even he was given a boarding pass that was marked for Dubai, though he knew he was going to Baghdad.

“The steward was having problems keeping guys in their seats because they were so upset, wanted to get off the airplane,” says Mayberry. “They were upset they weren’t headed to Dubai where they were promised they were working.”

He says when he arrived in Baghdad he notified the State Department official in charge of the embassy project about what had happened on his flight and she replied “that’s the way they do it.”

Ah, yes, just like the good old days, when a fellow could pass out drunk on the streets of a European city and wake up in a ship bound for the New World!  

Why, you might ask, were they shipping in laborers when the Iraqi workforce was completely out of work?   Why didn’t they hire Iraqis for this job?   I mean, the unemployment rate was only in the 70 – 80% range.    Oh, come on, that’s a rhetorical question, right?   Ha!   I mean, how were the Kuwatis suposed to make any REAL money if they had to pay Baghdad workers Baghdad wages!   Everybody knows what a bunch of spoiled Union goons those guys are!

You can get more details of the contractor’s failings in the article, but what I really wanted to pass along to you was the most disheartening part of this entire sickening story.

Because you might think this was just an aberration, right?  One more of countless Bush administration scandals, and thank god we got rid of him, right?   And those days are over, right?   And this kind of stuff isn’t going to happen again, right?


Obama has decided that we’re gonna do this all over again, this time in Pakistan!   Yessir, it worked out so well in Baghdad that we need more of these Monster Embassies to carry out our friendly activities.

Iraq redux? Obama seeks funds for Pakistan super-embassy

ISLAMABAD – The U.S. is embarking on a $1 billion crash program to expand its diplomatic presence in Pakistan and neighboring Afghanistan, another sign that the Obama administration is making a costly, long-term commitment to war-torn South Asia, U.S. officials said Wednesday.

The White House has asked Congress for – and seems likely to receive – $736 million to build a new U.S. embassy in Islamabad, along with permanent housing for U.S. government civilians and new office space in the Pakistani capital.

The scale of the projects rivals the giant U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, which was completed last year after construction delays at a cost of $740 million.

Hm, must be part of the economic stimulus program.  Oh wait, this is in a foreign country?   How the fuck are Americans supposed to benefit from this massive government spending?   Oh wait, we’re NOT.   It’s another FUCK YOU from Team Obama.  

And here’s the really telling part:

A senior Pakistani official said the expansion has been under discussion for three years.

Three years!   Waiddaminute, three years ago ….. Bush was in power!   This is Bush’s idea, Bush’s plan, Bush’s boondoggle.  Brought to you by …. Obama!    

There really is no difference.    Bush/Obama.   Bushbama.   ObamBush.   Bush’s third term is what it should really be called.

Scahill says it better than anyone, calling it a “colonial fortress”:

Ah, good thing the US quest for violent global domination was brought to a screeching halt with the November presidential election. Without Obama’s election, we’d still have an occupation of Iraq, mercenaries on the US payroll, torture of prisoners, an unending and worsening war that kills civilians in Afghanistan, regular airstrikes in Pakistan, killing civilians and an embassy the size of Vatican city in Baghdad, which was built in part on slave labor. Not to mention those crazy “Bush/Cheney” neocons running around trying to become the “CEOs” of foreign nations. Wow, glad that’s all over. Whew! And, it’s a really good thing Bush is no longer in power or else the US would come up with some crazy idea like building a colonial fortress in Pakistan to defend “US interests” in the region.

I love this guy.

The pure hypocrisy of our pols on Acorn

Jeremy Scahill is, to my mind, the finest journalist working today.   There are very few real journalists left, I could probably count them on one hand, and Scahill is simply on fire.  

I wanted to share his latest, from his website where he simply destroys the whole notion of ACORN being any kind of a real scandal.

Here is the jist of his article:

How could any sane person put even the wildest allegations against ACORN up against the systematic misconduct and criminality of war corporations and gigantic multi-nationals?

This, considering the way the media has covered this, the way our politicians have such a terrible, palpable fear of any real Democracy that they all, including our complicit Democrats, have decided that Acorn is the real enemy and worthy of being punished, to the point where they are trying to pass legislation called “The Defund Acorn Act”.

If you just put ACORN up against Blackwater, the charges are absolutely ludicrous.   Acorn received $53 million over 15 years, most of which went to support housing for low-income people.   Blackwater has received over a BILLION in government contracts in the last few.  

And check this out:

The GOP smear machine tries to link ACORN to prostitution. Beyond the hypocrisy of Republicans denouncing prostitutes (long history of using them), do they really want talk of prostitution? One former Blackwater employee recently stated in a sworn declaration that Blackwater owner Erik Prince “failed to stop the ongoing use of prostitutes, including child prostitutes, by his men.” Another former employee described “having young girls provide oral sex to Enterprise members in the ‘Blackwater Man Camp’ (in Iraq) in exchange for one American dollar.” (PDF links to these affidavits are here) Even if ACORN did provide inappropriate tax advice to a prostitute, is that really on the same level as this conduct being conducted on a huge US government contract? If you think these are just the allegations of disgruntled employees, read the Justice Department’s perspective on Blackwater’s crimes and how its men “specifically intended to kill” Iraqi civilians as “payback for 9/11.”

As Scahill notes in his previous work on the website, Where is the “Defund Blackwater Act”?     Where, indeed?    Supposedly Democratic and supposedly liberal and supposedly “for the people” Barack Hussein Obama has decided to keep using Blackwater until, well, god only knows how long.   Yet what do we hear about in the press?   How bad and terrible and corrupt Acorn is.  

Nobody talks about defunding the real criminals, others of which are mentioned here:

Beyond the question of innocent until proven guilty, these questions must be asked of Democratic lawmakers who support this punitive legislation against ACORN: Where is your legislation to defund the companies whose men are indicted by actual, real life prosecutors for manslaughter; who are accused by the IRS of tax fraud and whose North Carolina compound has been raided by the ATF for possessing unauthorized, automatic weapons? What about the move to defund KBR, which has provided polluted drinking water to US troops and installed faulty electrical wiring that has resulted in the electrocution deaths of US soldiers? What about the move to defund the massive US-funded mercenary force DynCorp in Iraq, Colombia and Afghanistan? A company whistleblower alleged that in Bosnia he “witnessed coworkers and supervisors literally buying and selling women for their own personal enjoyment, and employees would brag about the various ages and talents of the individual slaves they had purchased.” What about defunding Armor Group, which employed security guards at the US embassy in Kabul who were throwing fraternity-style parties, complete with disgusting hazing of new recruits in the form of alcohol shots off of butt cracks and the fondling of genitals?

You really just need to read the whole thing.   I can’t possibly do it justice in lame attempts to paraphrase.    And read the rest of his stuff, too, give his site a visit.   He’s amazing.   We need hundreds of Jeremy Scahills in the world, sadly there is just one.

Barack Obama, war criminal

Barack Obama bombed this baby.  This baby is one of the lucky ones, seeing as how it’s not dead.

Why did Obama maim this baby, when General Petraus has told us that there are ‘No more Al Queda in Afghanistan’?

I guess we just like to bomb babies for the sheer rollicking hell of it.   Gotta use all those weapons we bought for something.  You know, so we can order more, and keep the economy moving.  Keep the Corporate Welfare money going out to Raytheon and the other War Profiteers, no?

I’m becoming a huge fan of Jeremy Scahill.  The man speaks truth to power better than anyone I’ve seen in a good long time.  

Seeing some of these people online turning their profile pictures green “for Iran” makes me want to create a Facebook and Twitter application that turns profile pictures blood red, in solidarity with all of the Afghans and Iraqis and Pakistanis being killed by US wars today; wars that people in the US failed to stop and whose representatives continue to fund to the tune of $100s of billions.-Jeremy Scahill

Here is Scahill in an interview:

What people, I think, misunderstand about Barack Obama is that this is a man who is a brilliant supporter of empire–who has figured out a way to essentially trick a lot of people into believing they’re supporting radical change, when in effect what they’re doing is supporting a radical expansion of the U.S. empire.


What we see with Obama’s policies in Iraq, Afghanistan and the broader Arab and Muslim world, as well as his global economic policies, are a continuation of the most devastating and violent policies of the Bush administration–while placing a face on it that makes it easier to expand the iron fist of U.S. militarism and the hidden hand of the free market in a way that Republicans, I think, would have been unable to do at this point in history.

That, in so many words, is why Barack Obama is President.

Scahill has a blog, here:


Gotta love this one:

“The Responsible Left:” Funding Obama’s Expanding Wars $100 Billion a Vote

The cowardly Democrats who checked their spines at the door to Congress when they voted Tuesday try to defend their flip-flop on war funding. Frankly, it is embarrassing.

On Bill Moyers Journal tonight: Jeremy Scahill

On Bill Moyers Journal tonight, Jeremy Scahill, author of Blackwater, will be interviewed.

Link http://www.pbs.org/moyers/jour…

Scahill wants the United States to back up and examine its entire approach to foreign policy and, rather than analyze the number of troops to send to Afghanistan or replace the commander, ask whether the U.S. should have any troops there at all.

‘Black Shirts’: The Guantanamo Bay ‘Extreme Repression Force’

Crossposted from Antemedius

The picture at left,  from The First Statement of David Hicks,  at  the UC Davis Center for the Study of Human Rights in the Americas, depicts an Immediate (or Initial)  Reaction Force (IRF) training exercise, demonstrating the manner and formation in which an IRF team would rush at a detainee, slamming the detainee to the ground. Normally, however, members of the team would be wearing body armour, helmets and shin guards,  and would be accompanied by dogs.

‘Soon after arriving at Guantanamo Bay, it became apparent that physical force would be used against the detainees. This was done most openly by the Initial Reaction Force (“IRF”), which consisted of a group of approximately half a dozen soldiers, wearing body armour, helmets and shin guards, and carrying shields and accompanied by dogs. The IRF team would rush in to a cell and slam the detainee to the ground, at which point, in the majority of cases, the soldiers would also strike or kick the detainee”, said Hicks in his opening statements taken from an affidavit filed in the United Kingdom in support of his efforts to retain his British citizenship, in that article.

The remainder of David Hicks  ‘first statement’ goes on to describe much worse treatment of Guantanamo detainees.

I also witnessed many other types of physical abuse of the detainees. I witnessed a Saudi detainee being beaten by an Army guard while at Camp X-Ray. The Saudi, whose name is Jumma, was arguing with a guard by the name of Smith, who was a member of the IRF team and wore kneepads and IRF gear. This incident happened close to when I was transferred from X-Ray to Camp Delta. Jumma was ordered to lie on his stomach in his cell. Jumma lay down as ordered, but continued to argue with Smith, who became very angry, jumped up and came down with his knees on Jumma’s back. Smith then grabbed Jumma by the head and slammed his face into the concrete 10 to 20 times.

“True Crimes: The Untold Story Behind the Devastation of Iraq.”

Join many others online, or if in New York city at the event, tomorrow evening:

On Tuesday, June 3, join the Center for Constitutional Rights for an exciting live webcast of the event “True Crimes: The Untold Story Behind the Devastation of Iraq.”

Iraq, the Candidates, and the Netroots

One of the reasons I have a hard time getting enthused about either of the Democratic candidates is that I find both of their Iraq withdrawal plans lacking. I am enthused about ending the Bush era, and I’m enthused about preventing the election of another Republican who doesn’t even seem to realize we have a problem in Iraq, but neither of the Democrats offers a plan that I consider to be complete.

Reading such is usually particularly galling to Obama supporters, because he gave such a pretty speech in 2002, and is therefore supposed to be vastly superior to Clinton, on Iraq. Some of the more deranged Obama supporters even go so far as to try to pin the war on Clinton, as if her having voted no on the AUMF would have changed anything other than her present political fortunes. It was a terrible vote, but she is demonized for it even by many of the same people who now lionize John Kerry, because he supports Obama, and despite his having made the same terrible vote made by Clinton. And, of course, most of these Obama supporters ignore the reality that despite the very pretty speech, when Obama was not in the position of actually having to vote on the resolution, his voting record has been nearly identical to Clinton’s, since he has been in the position of having to vote. That’s one of the reasons I find this particular argument for Obama and against Clinton to be, at best, specious. But the main reason is their withdrawal plans. I have said it many times: what happened in 2002 and 2003 is now irrelevant; the only thing that matters is what begins to happen in 2009. Which candidate will do the best job of most expeditiously getting us out of Iraq? And that doesn’t even begin to address the question of reparations, which isn’t even a topic of discussion.

Naomi Klein recently published what I consider to be the best book on politics in at least a generation. I’ve mentioned it in previous posts, and I will undoubtedly do so again. Many times. It should be required reading for anyone who claims to be politically informed. So, I also want everyone to click over to Huffington Post, and read her new article, with Jeremy Scahill:

Sixty-four per cent of Americans tell pollsters they oppose the war, but you’d never know it from the thin turnout at recent anniversary rallies and vigils.

When asked why they aren’t expressing their anti-war opinions through the anti-war movement, many say they have simply lost faith in the power of protest. They marched against the war before it began, marched on the first, second and third anniversaries. And yet five years on, U.S. leaders are still shrugging: “So?”

There is no question that the Bush administration has proven impervious to public pressure. That’s why it’s time for the anti-war movement to change tactics. We should direct our energy where it can still have an impact: the leading Democratic contenders.

Because Klein and Scahill also understand that although both Democratic candidates are much more honest and realistic than John McCain, when discussing Iraq, neither is coming close to being honest and realistic enough.

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