Thursday, July 17, 2008

Hope in Iraq, according to Eli Pariser

From: "Eli Pariser, Political Action"
Tue, 15 Jul 2008 10:35:38 -0700
Subject: Iraq: The beginning of the end?
Dear MoveOn member,

Three big things happened on Iraq this week. They could mean the beginning of the end of the war.

But since the media have mostly ignored them, I wanted to make sure you saw what's going on.
Here's the scoop:

Iraqis want U.S. Troops out. No one was expecting Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to speak up in favor of withdrawal—after all, he's close with the Bush administration. But with elections in Iraq coming up, and a great majority of Iraqis opposed to a prolonged U.S. occupation, Maliki can't afford to toe the Bush line. So he's surprised everyone by standing up this week for a timetable for troop withdrawals and a date certain to end the war. The LA Times headline reads, "Iraqi prime minister advocates withdrawal timeline."1

As a result, the "endless war agreement" Bush has been pushing fell through. Since January, hundreds of thousands of us pushed Congress to stand up to President Bush's proposed treaty with Iraq, which would have tied the next President's hands and made it much harder to get out. This week, the Washington Post reported that that agreement has fallen through—Iraqi leaders are putting their feet down and demanding a much shorter agreement.2

And now even the Pentagon is considering faster timelines. According to reporter Michael Hirsh at Newsweek, "a forthcoming Pentagon-sponsored report" will recommend a big drawdown of troops—suggesting "that U.S. forces be reduced to as few as 50,000 by the spring of 2009, down from about 150,000 now."3

In other words, it's now clear: Most Americans are for a timeline, and so are most Iraqis. And even experts in the Pentagon agree.

For his part, Barack Obama is using these developments to hammer home the point that John McCain and President Bush are now isolated in their resistance to any kind of timeline for withdrawal. He wrote an Op-Ed in the New York Times yesterday that reaffirmed his commitment to a timeline that would have all combat troops out of Iraq in 16 months.
It concludes, "Unlike Senator McCain, I would make it absolutely clear that we seek no presence in Iraq similar to our permanent bases in South Korea. . . [F]or far too long, those responsible for the greatest strategic blunder in the recent history of American foreign policy have ignored useful debate in favor of making false charges about flip-flops and surrender. It's not going to work this time. It's time to end this war."4

It's important that we all work to get the word out about these developments. You can even start by just forwarding this email. Most Americans still don't know that the Iraqis want us out. And that may be the single most important fact to share at this point in time.
I'm always shocked when someone points out that it's been six years since we first started working together to prevent an Iraq war. This week, we're turning a corner in that fight. Bush's permanent war agreement has fallen through. The Iraqi politicians are speaking up. And if we keep working together, we just might see the remaining holdouts in Washington coming around as well.

Thanks for all you do,

–Eli PariserPS. Minutes ago, Barack Obama finished making a major speech on Iraq and foreign policy. Here's how he described the Bush-McCain approach:
George Bush and John McCain don't have a strategy for success in Iraq—they have a strategy for staying in Iraq. They said we couldn't leave when violence was up, they say we can't leave when violence is down. They refuse to press the Iraqis to make tough choices, and they label any timetable to redeploy our troops "surrender," even though we would be turning Iraq over to a sovereign Iraqi government—not to a terrorist enemy. Theirs is an endless focus on tactics inside Iraq, with no consideration of our strategy to face threats beyond Iraq's borders. You can read the speech here:

1. "Iraqi prime minister advocates withdrawal timetable," Los Angeles Times, July 8, 2008.
2. "U.S., Iraq Scale Down Negotiations Over Forces," Washington Post, July 13, 2008.
3. "Who Says Less Troops?," Newsweek, July 21, 2008.
4. "My Plan for Iraq," Barack Obama, New York Times, July 14, 2008.
Want to support our work? We're entirely funded by our 3.2 million members—no corporate contributions, no big checks from CEOs. And our tiny staff ensures that small contributions go a long way. Chip in here.

Monday, July 14, 2008

A Department of Peace by Jim Ramelis

All thoughts and ideas are ultimately based on love or fear. All the world's great religions teach love, but so few of us operate out of the love mind set. Some people even find words like love or peace, displeasing, upsetting, and irritating. Those who speak of peace in a dog eat dog world are called impractical dreamers.

Yet at some level, we all understand that our society and our world have to stop operating out of fear. We all know at some level of consciousness that something is wrong. We know there must be a better way.

There is a movement to establish a U. S. cabinet level Department of Peace. This Department would address and study peaceful and non-violent solutions to problems ranging from school yard bullying, domestic violence, prison violence and our ever expanding correctional system, gang violence and the violence that occurs on a global international scale. It would be a Department just like the Department of Defense, Treasury, Agriculture, etc. It would ask for 1% of the budget. The bill to establish the department is H.R. 808 and is before the House now. It will probably be re-introduced in the next Congress.

It is time for the next step in human evolution. We have to stop killing and hurting each other. Ours is a culture of fear and violence, as are some other countries in the world. The other countries that are fear based usually aren't Western style democracies, though. They are third world dictatorships.

We are the world's leader in so many things, let's be the world's leader on non-violent solutions to problems. Let us have a Peace Academy that trains peace leaders just as we have Military Academies that train military leaders. The Academy would be part of the Department of Peace. After 4 years of attending the Peace Academy, the graduates would have an obligation to serve in peace keeping roles after graduation.

Now is the time to start developing a culture of peace and non-violent solution making as opposed to a culture of violence of fear and harsh reactive measures to deal with our problems. Let's be proactive. Support the movement to establish a cabinet level Department of Peace. For more information visit

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

6 Months Left to Start a War


Dick Cheney and George Bush have just secured $400 million additional dollars for a major escalation of US special forces covert operations inside Iran. This includes engaging our special forces inside Iranian territory against Cheney’s hit list of “high value targets” – in other words assassinating or kidnapping key Iranian leaders. The escalation also includes US funding for Al Qaeda-sympathetic Sunni terrorist groups inside Iran. To what aim? To wreak havoc against the Iranian government and cause them to retaliate in a very public fashion. Bush and Cheney know they have just 6 months left to provoke a war, and they consider it their duty to do this before they leave office. The situation seems especially urgent to them given the possibility of an Obama presidency.

Several top level leaders in the Pentagon and Joint Chiefs of staff think this administration is crazy, in private calling their policies dangerous and stupid.

Bush’s own Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, warned Democrats in Congress privately of the consequences if the Bush Administration staged a preĆ«mptive strike on Iran, saying, as one senator recalled, “We’ll create generations of jihadists, and our grandchildren will be battling our enemies here in America.”

The Joint Chiefs of Staff, whose chairman is Admiral Mike Mullen, were “pushing back very hard” against White House pressure to undertake a military strike against Iran . . . The most outspoken officer was Admiral William Fallon, who until recently was the head of U.S. Central Command, and thus in charge of American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. In March, Fallon resigned under pressure from the Bush administration, after publicly stating his reservations about an armed attack on Iran. Admiral Fallon warned: “Let’s get serious. Eighty million people live there, and everyone’s an individual. The idea that they’re only one way or another is nonsense.” Fallon went on to criticize the Bush administration’s military policies: “Did I bitch about some of the things that were being proposed? You bet. Some of them were very stupid.”
The full story of this insanity is covered in Pulitzer prize investigative journalist’s Seymour Hersh’s current article in the New Yorker entitled “PREPARING THE BATTLEFIED.” Click on the link below for the article.

Click on:

Seamus Norgaard