Iran – the Imperial Congress versus the President, the American people and a common good

by Alan Gilbert

Obama’s negotiation with Iran avoids following the blind Netanyahu/neocon attack, attack, attack syndrome. Having fostered three losing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq – now four counting the new war against IS – and with no troops to send, they nonetheless want to bomb Iran. The result – a larger Middle East War, chaotic, throwing, over the next 15 years, nuclear armed and racist Israel into more isolation and desperation – is likely to be very dangerous.


In the modern era, the American Congress never balances Executive Power to stop aggression. With individual exceptions like Wayne Morse and Barbara Lee, Senators are ever new fools for Presidential aggression in Vietnam or Iraq (including Senator Hillary Clinton). Looking backwards, their caution/cowardice and corruption are nakedly visible.


This pattern is so stark that it is called, even by students of American politics, the “Imperial Presidency”. But irony of ironies, as Peter Beinart suggests below, suddenly, in a gesture of constitutional awareness about the balance of powers, the Right, including feckless Democrats like Charles Schumer and every single other one on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is baying for war in chorus with Netanyahu.

*** Continue reading

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Some thoughts on Obama’s direction away from war and the neocon alliance with ISIL

By Alan Gilbert

Some thoughts on Obama’s direction away from war and the neocon alliance with ISIL

Neocon foreign policy, far into the “establishment” including Democratic “humanitarian interventionists” (neo-neo cons) in the Obama administration, has played a murderous and, for the US, self-destructive  role.  It is based on militarism (over a trillion dollars a year spent on the military and “intelligence,” 1280 military bases abroad kept secret from the American people by a “bipartisan consensus” in Congress and the corporate press, and a war complex (a military-industrial-congressional-media-academic-think tank-foreign military clients and the like complex); it spawns unending and losing wars.  Militarism breeds enmity toward the United States through its endless slaughters.  There is, here, a dialectical interplay of capitalist interests in predatory expansion and ideas.  But Straussian/neo-con ideas – see here for chapter 13  ” Segregation, Aggression and Executive Power: Leo Strauss and the ‘Boys'” in Sanford Levinson and Melissa Williams, eds.,American Conservatism  (New York University Press, 2015) – set/consolidated the foreign policy elite on the path of militarism, conquest, torture. Though with a different etiology,  Democrats in the foreign policy elite (Samantha Power, Anne-Marie Slaughter, Jane Harman), often echo this.  For they have been taken seriously by the media if and only if they plump for war. Continue reading

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The Invasion of the Dominican Republic: 50 years On

The Invasion of the Dominican Republic: 50 years On

by Veterans For Peace Latin America/School of the Americas Working Group

Obviously, the Vietnam War was one of the defining events of US policy in the 1960s. A lesser-known US invasion occurred on April 28, 1965 in the sunny Caribbean when Lyndon Johnson ordered the invasion of the Dominican Republic against the backdrop of stopping communism. Few Americans today are aware that the invasion even occurred, nor do they understand its ramifications then and now. It was the second largest use of force by the US in the 1960s and worthy of our study.

History 1866-1924

From 1866-1870, attempts were initiated both in the US and in the Dominican Republic (DR) to admit the DR into the Union.

In the era of coal-powered ships, the US Navy needed a coaling station in the Caribbean and the DR was strategically located. Another reason President Grant wanted DR annexation was to give newly-freed slaves a place to migrate where race relations were better than in the American South. Frederick Douglass supported the DR annexation.

From the DR’s prospective, they saw joining the Union as a means of acheiving a degree of political stability that had eluded the country since independence in 1844. Even though the US had just emerged from the bloodiest civil war in world history, by 1870, it was the largest economy in the world. This market position would have helped the DR economically.

The attempt to annex the DR into the Union failed for a variety of reasons. Senator Charles Sumner saw it as an imperialistic expansion into the Caribbean. Another reason, as one might suspect, was racism. Enough US senators deemed that the country had too many people of mixed-race ancestry to be part of the Union.

Political instability continued in the DR after the failed attempt at annexation, and the US saw fit to intervene twice (1905 and 1916). Continue reading

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How Animals Fare in War [excerpt]

by , April 04, 2015


The L.A. Times recently reported on the U.S. Navy’s training of dolphins and sea lions as part of its seemingly limitless global war strategy. The Navy hopes that these animals’ biological capabilities will allow them to find underwater enemy mines and swimmers in “restricted areas”, on whom the sea lions would attach “bite plates“. While the Navy trainers claim to feed, care for, and interact with the marine mammals, they are nonetheless captured and removed from their native habitats and conscripted into dangerous and potentially deadly situations. For all of the counterclaims that the animals enjoy and are naturally inclined to undertake these tasks, it’s clear that they would not be inclined to involve themselves in activities that would kill them. It’s yet another sad example in the long history of governments endangering unknowing animals as part of their lethal activities.

The 2011 Steven Spielberg film War Horse brought the issue of animals in wartime to a wider audience. But it turns out that War Horse (Joey) wasn’t the only animal sold into battle during WWI. According to a 2014 report, some 9 million animals perished in WWI. Even more upsetting is that many of them were forced into battle as part of the war effort on both sides. Among them were homing pigeons, hawks, canaries, dogs, horses, mules, donkeys, and cats. When Allied powers discovered that homing pigeons could relay enemy positions to distant bases, Germans enlisted hawks to kill the valuable pigeons. Some of the other four-legged creatures were given different tasks, such as carrying mail, sniffing out bombs, transporting supplies, and clearing rats from trenches and ships. Numerous accounts of the role played by animals in WWI portray them as unwitting heroes, but few cast a critical eye on the barbaric practice.

. . .

Read the rest here:

Chad Nelson is an assistant editor for Follow him on Twitter.

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IRAN NUKES DEAL: What Are They Trying to Tell Us?

April 3, 2015: Iran Nuclear Deal Reached

By Joe Scarry, via Scarry Thoughts

The headlines today are about the deal that has been reached with Iran on their nuclear program.

Pundits will wear themselves out for days and weeks talking about what this means for Iran, and “how close the world came to a nuclear Iran.”

But years from now, people will talk about this for what it really was: an intervention by Iran (and the rest of the world) to try to wake the US up to its own responsibility to eliminate its own nuclear arsenal.

Simply stated: Iran has carried the negotiations about this agreement under the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) right up to the threshold of the every-five-year global review of the NPT, or “RevCon,” which will take place for a month beginning at the end of April at the United Nations. The Iran deal is a detail. The US deal is the main event.

That’s because the US (and the other nuclear “haves”) has an ironclad obligation under the NPT to get rid of their own nuclear weapons. (The relevant section is Article VI.) Really, the only question is what it will take to compel them to comply. (And that’s no small question.)

So what is Iran trying to tell us? Through this negotiation process, Iran has forced our entire society to say it over and over again: the NPT matters … getting rid of nuclear weapons matters ….

Iran could have made a deal a long time ago. The stakes for them in having or not having nuclear capabilities are trivial – relative to their larger purpose.

What they have accomplished is putting the issue of nuclear disarmament — by everybody — front and center in the public discourse at the most important possible moment.

What happens next? It will be practically impossible for the US to waltz into the NPT RevCon without being prepared to talk about its own obligations under the NPT.

But bringing US nuclear disarmament to fruition will require the pressure from all of us . . . .


April 2015: Join all the Peace and Planet

nuclear disarmament activities.


Every Tuesday: spread the word about

the need for nuclear disarmament with

#NoNukesTuesday on social media.


Non-stop: find your member of Congress

and tell them you want nuclear disarmament NOW!

(See sample letter.)

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An Antiwar Message Set in Stone

Irish stone sculptor James Horan created an antiwar series that takes on “man’s obsession with power, control, weapons . . .” The stone and marble golem figures grip outsize guns, straddle drones, and sit gaping at the imagined aftermath of throwing a grenade.

“Behold Man: Apes with Guns” will be on display in Pearse Museum Dublin May and June 2015.

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16 Articles That Expose How They Lied Us Into War in Iraq

Scott Horton, host of foreign policy radio show that boasts over 3500 interviews, tweeted a list of articles to mark for the anniversary of the start of the Iraq War:

For the full list, Dan Sanchez compiled all the links in this Medium post.




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