News Release

Obama West Point Speech — Myths on Afghanistan, Syria, Honduras

MATT HOWARD, media at ivaw.org, @ivaw
Howard is communications director for Iraq Veterans Against the War. On Memorial Day they released “Fort Hood Testimonies Report,” summarized in their statement “Fort Hood Soldiers Treated As Disposable.” Howard said today: “The trauma and abuse outlined in this Fort Hood report are the product of 13 consecutive years of war we never should have fought in the first place. The traumas, toxic legacies, and torn social fabric in Iraq and Afghanistan continue to spread harm to these countries and destabilize and militarize the region, and we continue to bring our invisible wounds back home and spread them to our families and loved ones. The real way to end this tragedy is to stop the U.S. policies responsible. This means stop arms shipments to Iraq and immediately withdraw all troops from Afghanistan. Leaving 10,000 troops behind is not a real end to that war.” See from the media watch group FAIR: “Crediting Obama for Bringing Troops Home — Without Noting He Sent Them Abroad.

ANAND GOPAL, via Brooke Parsons, brooke.parsons at hholt.com, @Anand_Gopal_
A fellow at the New America Foundation, Gopal just wrote the piece “How the U.S. Created the Afghan War — and Then Lost It, The Unreported Story of How the Harqqani Network Became America’s Greatest Enemy.” Gopal is author of the new book No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War through Afghan Eyes. He said today: “Well, it wasn’t really a surprise because the Pentagon had been asking for around that number of troops and this is what he delivered. But it’s important to realize that the war’s not going to end, even after 2016, because the U.S. is allied with power brokers, warlords also the Afghan army who are going to be continuing to fight the ‘war on terror’ on the U.S.’s behalf. For the next two years it’ll be special operations forces, when he says ‘counterterrorism operations,’ what he means is night raids, targeted killings and allying with these warlords. When I say warlords, I mean private contractors because the U.S. is paying for them essentially, they are mercenaries, they’re paramilitary forces, there’s hundreds of thousands of them around the country.”

FRANCIS BOYLE, fboyle at illinois.edu
Boyle is a professor at the University of Illinois College of Law and author of Tackling America’s Toughest Questions. He said today: “The World Court ruled in the case Nicaragua brought against the U.S. in Nicaragua’s favor, condemning the U.S.’s ‘indirect form of support for subversive or terrorist armed activities within another State. … These forms of action are therefore wrongful in the light of both the principle of non-use of force, and that of non-intervention’ Thus, the U.S. and other states arming groups in Syria is illegal.”

ROBERT NAIMAN, naiman at justforeignpolicy.org, @naiman
Policy director of Just Foreign Policy, Naiman recently wrote the article “The New York Times: Everybody Who’s Anybody Wants to Bomb Syria.” A petition Naiman initiated has over 13,000 signers in the last 24 hours. It backs an anti-establishment left-right alliance in Congress on Syria: “President Obama and Congress should resist pressure for deeper U.S. military involvement in Syria’s sectarian civil war. Members of Congress should sign the Welch-Jones-Mulvaney-Conyers letter to President Obama urging him to stand firm in his opposition to supplying Syrian insurgents with manpads.”

KATHY KELLY, kathy at vcnv.org, @voiceinwild
Kelly is co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence. Her recent articles include “Afghan Street Children Beg for Change.” She said today: “Superpower exceptionalism is a self-defeating strategy. What we need is not a pivot to Asia, but rather a pivot toward pragmatic balance of power politics, away from exceptionalism of the superpower, and toward a balance of power politics in which the major powers, (U.S., China, Russia, Germany, Brazil, India, Britain, etc.) work cooperatively through international institutions. Major tasks ahead involve conserving the resources of earth and sharing them in an agreed system that is reasonably equitable, rather than wasting resources in weapons competition, and then destroying resources and economies in periodic warfare. Countries should get together in the U.N. and work cooperatively so that we don’t exhaust ourselves in military competition.”

Largely ignored in assessments of U.S. policy is the backing of the coup in Honduras in 2009 and the resulting havoc in that country.

DANA FRANK, danafrank at ucsc.edu
Available for a limited number of interviews with larger media outlets, Frank is professor of history at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her writings on post-2009 coup Honduras have appeared in the New York Times, ForeignAffairs.com, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Politico, The Nation (regularly) and many other publications.

She said today: “Once again, and now in even greater numbers, members of the U.S. Congress are challenging the State Department’s ongoing support for the brutal regime in Honduras, which continues to attack its own citizens, run roughshod over the rule of law, and send in the military to take over the country bit by bit — rather than clean up the police which it admits are overwhelmingly corrupt. Rep. Schakowksy and over 100 other representatives are asking loud and clear about the militarization, the November election marked by widespread fraud and violence against the opposition, and, most recently, the bald beating by the new Military Police of opposition congress members right inside the main hall of the Honduras Congress. How long will Obama and Kerry keep ignoring Congress, and enthusiastically funding and celebrating the Honduran thugs who are more dangerous than ever?”