Posts tagged us foreign policy

Part 1 of 2: Breaking down thepoliticalnotebook’s ‘This Week In War’

She just does such a great service for all of us on tumblr.

Some of the links are difficult to click through because the content shakes us, disturbs us, and we’re left unsettled. In my opinion there were at least 3 posts (1 post not part of my series) from her weekly round up that warrant a further breakdown for anyone to disturbed to click through or looking for the ‘meat and veg’ of it.

Part 1:from thepoliticalnotebook

IAVA released its annual survey of members this Monday. Veterans listed as their top concerns in this order: employment, mental health, disability benefits, health care, education, suicide and families.

Here are some of the findings from the report I think are essential to break down:

  • "17 percent said they were unemployed when they took the survey in January, a higher rate than was documented by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which put the veterans’ unemployment rate for January at 9 percent." (Source: NY Times; all quotes below from same source) ...I’ve said this time and time again, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics might as well pull their numbers out of hat. Also, 9% are disabled and unable to work.
  • 'More than one in three respondents, 37 percent, said they knew someone who had committed suicide, down slightly from last year’s result. Asked if the person who committed suicide was serving or had separated from the military, respondents were almost evenly divided: 30 percent said the person had separated when the act occurred; 27 percent said the person was serving but not deployed; 25 percent said the person was serving and deployed. Another 11 percent said the person was in the National Guard and not deployed.'
  • 'Two-thirds said they think troops and veterans are not getting the mental health care they need.'
  • 'Asked about their relationships, nearly 80 percent said they were married or in a long-term relationship during a deployment. Nearly two-thirds said the deployment strained their relationships, and 6 in 10 said readjustment was difficult.'
  • Nearly 9 in 10 of those surveyed were men
  • 6 in 10 were Army veterans
  • More than 8 in 10 had served in Iraq.
  • Almost half, 45 percent, were 36 years or older.
  • Nine in 10 said they were registered to vote.
  • When asked, ‘The President listens enough to service members
    and Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.’ (Source: IAVA), 23% Agree or Strongly Agree; 16% No Opinion, and 61% Disagree or Strongly Disagree
  • When asked, ‘Congress listens enough to service members and
    Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.’ (ibid), 13% Agree or Strongly Agree; 13% No Opinion, and 75% Disagree or Strongly Disagree
  • When asked, ‘Corporate America supports service members and
    Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.’ (ibid), 32% Agree or Strongly Agree; 22% No Opinion, and 46% Disagree or Strongly Disagree (the most variant across the 5 questions asked on public opinion)

These are just some pieces I pulled from the article and corresponding report (available for download at the IAVA link above) that I found interesting/alarming/disturbing.

Thoughts?

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After going through thepoliticalnotebook's Friday links, (especially the one on the US solider(s)’ 17 March killing of Afghan civilians from the first Western journalist to cover the story on the ground) I was left remembering the patches that went around tumblr a few weeks ago. Here were a few others I found while surfing.
…apparently these patches originate with Benjamin Franklin’s 1751 symbolism during the independence of the United States from Great Britain.
Tell me why/if/how these patches affect you?

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I thought I was going to throw up. I thought I was going to be sent to Guantanamo Bay.

Pascal Abidor, an American PhD candidate in Islamic Studies at McGill, who was detained and interrogated last year crossing from Montreal to New York because of his choice of academic study and his travels overseas to Jordan and Lebanon. This is your read of the day (via thepoliticalnotebook)

this post is for my father; this is why i had to leave to undertake my PhD … and why I will not return to the best of my ability.

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“If it is used selectively,” it can help both the U.S. and Pakistan by taking out “key leadership” of al-Qaeda and other groups such as Tehrik-i-Taliban of Pakistan, which poses a greater threat to Pakistan than it does to the U.S., said Jones, a former representative of the U.S. Special Operations Command at the Pentagon.

Pakistan has told the White House it no longer will permit U.S. drones to use its airspace to attack militants and collect intelligence on al-Qaeda and other groups, according to officials involved in the talks.” from Bloomberg.

…the problem is, they AREN’T and HAVEN’T BEEN used selectively, and this is why there is controversy.

nationalpost:

Drug cartel death threats force police in Mexico’s most violent city into hidingSome 2,000 police are hunkering down in hotels in Mexico’s most violent city of Ciudad Juarez after a drug gang threatened to kill an officer per day if their chief refused to resign.Eleven police officers, including four commanders, have already been killed in the city across from El Paso, Texas, since the start of the year.The city’s mayor this week ordered police to use several local hotels as temporary barracks to protect themselves from attacks on the way home from work in the city at the heart of Mexican drug violence that has left 50,000 dead in five years. (Photo: Jesus Alcazar/AFP/Getty Images)

nationalpost:

Drug cartel death threats force police in Mexico’s most violent city into hiding
Some 2,000 police are hunkering down in hotels in Mexico’s most violent city of Ciudad Juarez after a drug gang threatened to kill an officer per day if their chief refused to resign.

Eleven police officers, including four commanders, have already been killed in the city across from El Paso, Texas, since the start of the year.

The city’s mayor this week ordered police to use several local hotels as temporary barracks to protect themselves from attacks on the way home from work in the city at the heart of Mexican drug violence that has left 50,000 dead in five years. (Photo: Jesus Alcazar/AFP/Getty Images)

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Our sky is our sky, not the U.S.A.’s sky.
A month after the last American troops left Iraq, the State Department is operating a small fleet of surveillance drones here to help protect the United States Embassy and consulates, as well as American personnel. Some senior Iraqi officials, including the acting minister of interior, Adnan al-Asadi, expressed outrage at the program, saying the unarmed aircraft are an affront to Iraqi sovereignty. (More at NYT)

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He said the family regarded him as having been “executed” without having committed any crime. “We now wish to be left alone and grieve for our son.”

Two young British men have been killed in US drone strikes against suspected militants in Pakistan's tribal belt, according to reports from the country. The pair, both Muslims from London, are reported to have been killed in separate drone strikes two weeks apart in South Waziristan.

Text and Source: the Guardian

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How close is the US and Israel to starting war with Iran?

the IAEA, one of the less powerful international orgs, needs to put this in the hands of a more powerful org to prevent the US an Israel from going to war with Iran. that USED to be the UN in the Cold War days. Who is it now? … yeah, I know.

iheartchaos:

Last week, the IAEA issued stern warnings to Iran that it needs to stop building nuclear weapons or it’s going to get really, really mad and pull this car over and maybe even write another very sternly worded letter next week. It seems eerily similar to the actions taken before the US invasion of Iraq, but are there parallels?

Read More

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…and so the international institutions have been marginalized on the political front… But you’re aware that what counts is what the United States is gong to do, and what the United States is going to do is probably as much conditioned by their desire to pacify things for a moment in Palestine, so they can attack Iraq. You know, it’s not thinking through the long-term solution of the Israeli/Palestine situation, … I may sound bitter, or cynical, but I think one does acquire a certain reflective judgement of some of these things over the years.

Robert Cox nailing it.

Dale, R. and Robertson, S., “Interview with Robert W. Cox” in Globalisation, Societies, and Education, Vol.1, No. 1, 2003.

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MUST SEE OF THE DAY

thepoliticalnotebook:

Aalu Anday, a new, and now viral, pop song by Lahore-based musical group Beygairat Brigade is probably the only pop song that mentions Blackwater. Written in response to the death of Salman Taseer, the song (sung in Punjabi) challenges Pakistani politics and extremism, taking on notable politicians. It’s also unbelievably catchy: it’s been stuck in my head since yesterday.

Read stories on the group and the song at Dawn and the New York Times.

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motherjones:

Inmates in stateside federal prisons only cost 3 percent of that.

Hey, Congress: Still looking for budget cuts?

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Of course, nobody inside the U.S. Government is objecting on the ground that it is wrong to blow people up without having any knowledge of who they are and without any evidence they have done anything wrong. Rather, the internal dissent is grounded in the concern that these drone attacks undermine U.S. objectives by increasing anti-American sentiment in the region (there’s that primitive, inscrutable Muslim culture rearing its head again: they strangely seem to get very angry when foreign governments send sky robots over their countries and blow up their neighbors, teenagers and children). But whatever else is true, huge numbers of Americans — Democrats and Republicans alike — defend Obama’s massive escalation of drone attacks on the ground that he’s killing Terrorists even though they — and, according to the Wall Street Journal, Obama himself — usually don’t even know whose lives they’re snuffing out. Remember, though: we have to kill The Muslim Terrorists because they have no regard for human life.

Glenn Greenwald, “The Drone Mentality” (via andrewfm)

HA! that right there is why i wouldn’t vote for him again.

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Partners, allies do not talk to each other through the public. This is something that we took up, we have taken up with the US and if this continues the only way we have to interpret this is that this is the policy decision of the US. Then we have the right to be able to take our own policy decisions. We want to partner with the US. We have said this repeatedly. This is a complex problem. Looking for scapegoats, blame-games will not help. I just hope that we’ll be given a chance to be able to cooperate with each other and the doors will remain open because statements like this are pretty much close to shutting those doors.

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