Obama’s War: Why is the Largest Military Machine on the Planet Unable to Defeat the Resistance in Afghanistan By Sara Flounders

2 December, 2009 — Global ResearchWorkers World – 2009-11-15

Just how powerful is the U.S. military today?

Why is the largest military machine on the planet unable to defeat the resistance in Afghanistan, in a war that has lasted longer than World War II or Vietnam ?

Afghanistan ranks among the poorest and most underdeveloped countries in the world today. It has one of the shortest life expectancy rates, highest infant mortality rates and lowest rates of literacy.

The total U.S. military budget has more than doubled from the beginning of this war in 2001 to the $680 billion budget signed by President Barack Obama Oct. 28. The U.S. military budget today is larger than the military budgets of the rest of the world combined. The U.S. arsenal has the most advanced high-tech weapons.

The funds and troop commitment to Afghanistan have grown with every year of occupation. Last January another 20,000 troops were sent; now there is intense pressure on President Obama to add an additional 40,000 troops. But that is only the tip of the iceberg. More than three times as many forces are currently in Afghanistan when NATO forces and military contractors are counted.

Eight years ago, after an initial massive air bombardment and a quick, brutal invasion, every voice in the media was effusive with assurances that Afghanistan would be quickly transformed and modernized, and the women of Afghanistan liberated. There were assurances of schools, roads, potable water, health care, thriving industry and Western-style “democracy.” A new Marshall Plan was in store.

Was it only due to racist and callous disregard that none of this happened?

Continue reading

We Cannot Shop Our Way Out of the Problems John Bellamy Foster Interviewed by Max van Lingen

1 December, 2009 — MRZine-Monthly Review

John Bellamy Foster is the editor of the socialist magazine Monthly Review and teaches sociology at the University of Oregon.  He has written on numerous subjects, from political economy to Marxist theory.  This year Foster published The Ecological Revolution: Making Peace With the Planet.

Max van Lingen is a student of political philosophy and modern history at the University of Amsterdam and a journalist for the Dutch monthly The Socialist.  A shortened version of this interview appeared in Dutch in the December issue of The Socialist.  The entire interview appeared in Dutch on the website of the International Socialists: http://www.socialisme.nu.

Consciousness about climate change has increased enormously; however, it also seems as if there is a lack of criticism of business and government actions.  Instead it appears as if people are thinking: it doesn’t really matter why people act, as long as they act.

I think people on the left often try to be “practical,” which they interpret as somehow trying to accommodate themselves to the status quo, so as to make minor improvements.  Often this is a kind of desperation to effect change.  However, Copenhagen is already a dead deal before it begins.  The United States and the other leading powers have indicated that there will be no binding agreements, no significant changes, and no non-market solutions.

James Hansen, arguably the world’s greatest climate scientist, has called the latest U.S. climate legislation passed by the House “worse than nothing” in that it locks in a “temple of doom.” The changes, if we are to avoid planetary collapse, need to be much more massive and need to come from below.  Hansen himself has called for mass “civil resistance” and has been arrested while protesting mountain top removal coal mining.

The climate justice movement, which tends to be more radical, is where to take one’s stand at present.  The truth is that we need some extremely strong, short-term solutions to be followed by a long-term strategy of ecological and social revolution.  I have written about this in my new book Ecological Revolution and in an article to appear in the January 2010 Monthly Review.

At the same time people are making ‘green’ choices, which are sometimes much more expensive.  There is a lot of criticism from this group towards people who are opposed to environmental measures because they are afraid they are going to lose their jobs.  Does this contradiction stand in the way of a solution?

There is no doubt that the growing need to make lifestyle changes is important and critical.  A great deal is being learned in this process, which could play into an ecological revolution of the whole society — as part of a total revolutionary dialectic.  Seeking to have a smaller ecological footprint is important on an individual as well as a social level.  But divorced from fundamental economic and political change, such individual, voluntaristic changes, primarily in the realm of consumption, are limited.  We cannot shop our way out of these problems.

Continue reading

Only a Few Days Left to Donate to the Gaza Convoy – Find Out How You Can Help

3 December, 2009 — Palestine Solidarity Campaign

CONVOY TO GAZA

With the convoy to Gaza leaving in three days for its three week journey to Gaza, there are still ways YOU can help.

AID: For a list of what is desperately needed please visit:

http://www.palestinecampaign.org/Index5bwide.asp?m_id=1&l1_id=79&l2_id=84

If you live in London and would like to drop off items to take to Gaza, please contact: Riaz at 07956 525 727 (Bethnal Green – close to the tube under St John’s Church)

There are also regional teams across England, Wales and Ireland – to find out who the team leader in your region is contact Viva Palestina.

Important note: All donations must be in clear plastic storage boxes and content of the box should be clearly labelled. If possible, take pictures of the aid If you know the recipient, please put their details on the box – this will make the distribution in Gaza much easier.

Support the convoy volunteers by donating:

• CAMPING SUPPLIES – Tents, sleeping bags, camping stoves, etc.
• LAPTOP COMPUTERS
• INTERNATIONALLY COMPATIBLE MOBILE PHONES
• GPS NAVIGATION SYSTEMS – Uploaded with international maps
• CB RADIOS – To install in our vehicles
• POWER CONVERTERS – Especially vehicle-to-household power outlet converters
• MEDICAL KITS

All of these items will be used, if needed, on the journey and will be left in Gaza as donations to the medical community there. Not only will they help convert our vehicles into ones that will be most efficiently used for medical purposes in Gaza, but all that can given to our medical NGO’s for use in clinics and hospitals, will be donated directly to them.

Plans for Sunday:
Due to logistical difficulties, not all of the vehicles going to Gaza will be coming into Central London for a send off on Sunday morning. Those driving the 15 ambulances dedicated to the memory of those killed during Israel’s assault on Gaza last December/January whilst on duty will attend a photo call and mini send off for supporters, families, and media outlets. This will take place on the Embankment between Westminster Bridge and Hungerford Bridge at 10am.

(For press enquiries contact: alice@vivapalestina.org or ring 07944 512 469)

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) aims to raise public awareness about the occupation of Palestine and the struggle of the Palestinian people. PSC seek to bring pressure on both the British and Israeli government to bring their policies in line with international law. PSC is an independent, non-governmental and non-party political organisation with members from communities across the UK. Join PSC today!

Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Box BM PSA
London
WC1N 3XX
Tel: 020 7700 6192
Fax: 020 7609 7779
Email: info@palestinecampaign.org
Web: www.palestinecampaign.org

Victor Grossman, “SPD — Buridan’s Ass?”

25 November, 2009 — MRZine-Monthly Review

It recalled ancient Greek tragedies. The Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), founded in the 19th Century, is the country’s oldest party, and now its saddest one. On September 27th it suffered its worst election defeat since 1897, losing six million former voters and ending up with only 23 percent of the vote. It had been in government office for eleven years, as boss with the Greens under Gerhard Schroeder and as junior partner under Angela Merkel since 2005. Now it must share the less glorious opposition seats in the Bundestag with the Greens and the frequently despised and feared Left party. What a disastrous comedown for a once proud party!

What caused this loss and how does the SPD plan to stem the hemorrhage of members and voters? The first question is easy to answer. It betrayed its traditional base, the working people and the underprivileged. Cutting deep gashes in a once exemplary health system, pushing the retirement age up to 67, passing Draconian measures against the millions who lose their jobs, raising consumer taxes while cutting taxes on the wealthy and spending billions on weapon systems and armed expeditions to the Mediterranean, the Horn of Africa, and Afghanistan, it either initiated such measures as government leader or continued them as Merkel’s junior partner. Any timid doubts by its rickety left wing were dispatched with Schroeder’s fabled ‘Basta’ — ‘Enough of that’ — and threats to withdraw needed support in the next elections. The habit of many SPD cabinet ministers, including Schroeder, to get top positions in big companies when they left office added additional color to the picture. Even a political imbecile could predict the backlash, if not its magnitude. In September it was the voters’ turn to say ‘Basta’!

Continue reading

Global Warming: "Fixing the Climate Data around the Policy" By Michel Chossudovsky

2 December, 2009 – Global Research

More than 15,000 people will be gathering in Copenhagen for COP 15: the 15th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Official delegations from 192 nations will mingle with the representatives of  major multinational corporations, including Royal Dutch Shell, British Petroleum, The representatives of environmental and civil society organizations will also be in attendance. Parties & Observers

Heads of state and heads of government are slated to be in appearance in the later part of the Summit event. (See The essentials in Copenhagen – COP15 United Nations Climate Change Conference Copenhagen 2009)

It is worth noting that key decisions and orientations on COP15 had already been wrapped up at the World Business Summit on Climate Change (WBSCC) held in May in Copenhagen, six months ahead of COP15.

The WBSCC brought together some of the World’s most prominent business executives and World leaders including Al Gore and UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. (The World Business Summit on Climate Change, includes webcast)

Continue reading