Thursday, June 21, 2007

A Culture of Atrocity Posted on Jun 18, 2007 By Chris Hedges
child in coffin
AP Photo / Karim Kadim

Mohammed Saleem, 18 months old, and four family members were killed when U.S. forces opened fire on their vehicle in Baghdad’s Sadr City neighborhood in June 2004 during fighting between Americans and followers of a radical cleric.

All troops, when they occupy and battle insurgent forces, as in Iraq, or Gaza or Vietnam, are swiftly placed in what the psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton terms “atrocity-producing situations.” In this environment, surrounded by a hostile population, simple acts such as going to a store to buy a can of Coke or driving down a street means you can be killed. This constant fear and stress leads troops to view everyone around them as the enemy. The hostility is compounded when the enemy, as in Iraq, is elusive, shadowy and hard to find. The rage that soldiers feel after a roadside bomb explodes, killing or maiming their comrades, is one that is easily directed over time to innocent civilians who are seen as supporting the insurgents. It is a short psychological leap, but a massive moral one. It is a leap from killing—the shooting of someone who has the capacity to do you harm—to murder—the deadly assault against someone who cannot harm you. The war in Iraq is now primarily about murder. There is very little killing. American Marines and soldiers have become, after four years of war, acclimated to atrocity.

Read more

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Break Time Is Over: Building Nonviolent Resistance to the 2008 Iraq War Supplemental

By Jeff Leys Voices for Creative Nonviolence June 18, 2007

On August 6, Congress begins its month long recess. August 6 also marks the start of Year 62 After Hiroshima-when the U.S. initiated its nuclear first strike policy against the people of Hiroshima. And it marks Year 17 After Iraq Sanctions, when the brutal economic sanctions regime against Iraq was first imposed by the international community.

On August 6, the Occupation Project will launch a reinvigorated campaign of sustained nonviolent civil disobedience / civil resistance to end Iraq war funding. Office occupations-both legal and extralegal-will commence at the offices of Representatives and Senators who refuse to publicly pledge to vote against any additional funding of the Iraq war. Occupations will continue at least through the end of September. The Occupation Project will work in conjunction with campaigns organized by Declaration of Peace, National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance, CODEPINK, Veterans for Peace, Grassroots America for Us and others.

Read more

Monday, June 18, 2007

Iraqi Unionists in Washington, D.C., to Protest U.S. Oil Drain from Iraq

by James Parks, Jun 6, 2007 afl-cio now blog news

Photo Credit: General Federation of Iraqi Workers
Hashmeya Muhsin Hussein, president of Iraq’s Electrical Utility Workers Union (in light scarf) leads a May Day march in Basra.

The U.S.-backed government has proposed a new law in Iraq that would permit what the oil industry calls “production-sharing agreements” that could put 70 percent of the profits from oil sales in the hands of rich oil companies and leave the Iraqi people with little to run their country.

The plan, which was supported by the U.S. State Department as early as 2003, also has the backing of the International Monetary Fund and some powerful Iraqi political leaders. In fact, the rapid opening up of Iraqi oil for “private investment” is one of the benchmarks in the Iraq funding bill, which Congress passed and President Bush signed recently.

Hashmeya Muhsin Hussein, president of the Electrical Utility Workers Union, General Federation of Iraqi Workers, made it clear workers are fighting the law:

The oil law is a bad for the Iraqi people. It is not fair or equitable. It’s just another name for privatization. Read more

Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Pentagon v. Peak Oil: How Wars of the Future May Be Fought Just to Run the Machines T.hat Fight Them

By Michael T. Klare. June 14, 2007.

Sixteen gallons of oil. That's how much the average American soldier in Iraq and Afghanistan consumes on a daily basis -- either directly, through the use of Humvees, tanks, trucks, and helicopters, or indirectly, by calling in air strikes. Multiply this figure by 162,000 soldiers in Iraq, 24,000 in Afghanistan, and 30,000 in the surrounding region (including sailors aboard U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf) and you arrive at approximately 3.5 million gallons of oil: the daily petroleum tab for U.S. combat operations in the Middle East war zone.

Multiply that daily tab by 365 and you get 1.3 billion gallons: the estimated annual oil expenditure for U.S. combat operations in Southwest Asia. That's greater than the total annual oil usage of Bangladesh, population 150 million -- and yet it's a gross underestimate of the Pentagon's wartime consumption. Read more

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Iraqi Lawmakers Pass Resolution That May Force End to Occupation

By Raed Jarrar and Joshua Holland, AlterNet. Posted June 5, 2007.

While Washington lawmakers play procedural games with an out-of-control executive branch, Iraqi legislators are working to bring an end to the occupation of their country.

While most observers are focused on the U.S. Congress as it continues to issue new rubber stamps to legitimize Bush's permanent designs on Iraq, nationalists in the Iraqi parliament -- now representing a majority of the body -- continue to make progress toward bringing an end to their country's occupation.

The parliament today passed a binding resolution that will guarantee lawmakers an opportunity to block the extension of the U.N. mandate under which coalition troops now remain in Iraq when it comes up for renewal in December. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, whose cabinet is dominated by Iraqi separatists, may veto the measure.

Read article