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This Easter, Religious Leaders Join Forces to Denounce U.S. Drone Policy

2:28 pm in Uncategorized by Robert Greenwald

Today, Brave New Foundation released a short video documenting religious leaders coming out against the use of Just War Theory to defend President Obama’s drone policy.

Franciscan Friar Joe Nangle said it well:

“How can we hold our heads high when remote-controlled, killer aircraft like drones are raining death and destruction on populations half a world away from our borders, on women, men and children who pose no threat to our safety and well-being.”

Rev. Dr. Paul F.M. Zahl said “The use of remote-controlled drones to assassinate targeted persons without charge, trial, or even at least the chance to surrender is about as un-Christian a maneuver as I can imagine.”

Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, Rev. Graylan, Bishop Gumbleton, Franciscan Friar Joe Nangle, Rev. Dr. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, and Rev. Dr. Paul F. M. Zahl come together to explain that Just War Theory cannot be used to justify the use of drones.

Rev. Dr. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, Professor of Theology at the Chicago Theological Seminary said:

“There are too many questions concerning the continuing authority for a ‘War on Terror,’ to the protection of civilians, to the lack of transparency about the program, to call this Just War. Drones are particularly dangerous as they tempt us, as well as other nations, to consider war ‘easy’ and ‘cheap.’ The age of drones, unless checked, will be an age of permanent war.”

During this time of rebirth and renewal, these religious leaders remind us that we must strongly consider how our government conducts itself on behalf of our nation at home and abroad.

You Can Be A Patriot or a Profiteer…But You Can’t Be Both.

1:51 pm in Uncategorized by Robert Greenwald

Co-authored by Derrick Crowe

This week, the three military contractors that do the most business with the Pentagon announced their quarterly profits for 2012. Their profits continue to grow while they push Washington, D.C. to protect their budgets at the expense of the rest of us.

Here’s the breakdown so far for this year:

This week’s announcement raises a fundamental question: Should people and companies be allowed to make huge profits from war? Even raising this question in today’s environment may seem trite, but we used to have different answers than those that prevail in modern-day Washington, D.C.

Read the rest of this entry →

Would a Koch Takeover of Cato Make War with Iran More Likely?

5:49 pm in Uncategorized by Robert Greenwald

Co-Authored by Jesse Lava

The drumbeat for war in Iran is getting louder, but opposition is coming from a seemingly unlikely source: the Cato Institute. This libertarian think tank generally sides with the Right, but it has long shown an independent streak, sometimes bucking conservative orthodoxy on civil liberties, the war on drugs, and U.S. militarism.

Will that change if Charles and David Koch succeed in their efforts to take over Cato?

The group is locked in a legal battle with the billionaire brothers, who have filed a lawsuit to appoint two-thirds of Cato’s board of directors. Today, Cato chairman Bob Levy has released a letter accusing the Kochs of trying to steer the group in a more partisan direction and compromise its independence. As detailed in Brave New Foundation’s upcoming film Koch Brothers Exposed, the Kochs are indeed notoriously partisan, funding Republican politicians in each election cycle and now allegedly promising to devote more than $200 million to defeating President Obama in 2012. Although they have long been financial backers of Cato–the group was originally named the Charles Koch Foundation–this move would put the organization entirely under their control.

That’s scary. For now, several thinkers at Cato are opposing the rush to war with Iran and refusing to shy away from criticizing Republicans. Senior fellow Doug Bandow writes, “The consequences of any war with Iran would be extraordinary. Probably far worse than resulted from the invasion of Iraq.” He assails Republican presidential candidates for their “reflexive war-mongering against Iran” because “every additional threat to attack Iran only more clearly demonstrates to Tehran the necessity of developing nuclear weapons.”

Malou Innocent, another foreign policy expert at Cato, says America should “ignore the hawks on Iran,” including those at the more reliably right-wing American Enterprise Institute. She is also calling for a quick end to the “waste of money, effort, and, most importantly, lives” resulting from the war in Afghanistan. Read the rest of this entry →

Obama’s War, One Year Later: 195 Million Say No to War

10:29 am in Uncategorized by Robert Greenwald

Next month will mark the one-year anniversary of the launch of President Obama’s escalated military campaign in Afghanistan. One year later, violence is still getting worse and costs are skyrocketing. After more than nine years, it’s time to end this war.

Take a strong public stand against the war by posting your picture and comment on Rethink Afghanistan’s new “Because It’s Time” feature.

Rethink Afghanistan Because It's Time

On February 13, 2010, NATO troops launched Operation Moshtarak in the Marjah district of Helmand Province. It was the first major military action enabled by President Obama’s 30,000-troop escalation, and was supposed to be proof-of-concept for Generals McChrystal’s and Petraeus’ counterinsurgency doctrine. The military hype said Afghan forces would be in the lead as coalition forces invaded Taliban-controlled areas. They’d deliver “government in a box, ready to roll.” Over and over, military officials repeated their mantra that the new troops would enable them to “protect the population.”

What followed was a fiasco that still hasn’t ended.

In Marjah, “government in a box” turned out to be “government with a rap sheet,” as it turned out the U.S.-backed district governor was a convicted felon. (He did, however, fit in just fine in the corrupt Karzai regime.) A misfired munition from a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) killed a house full of civilians in the first few days of the offensive. Afghan troops trained by the Americans proved often unreliable and inept. All throughout 2010, Marjah remained a danger zone for U.S. troops as the Taliban forces who seemed to flee revealed themselves to be competent guerrillas, melting away before superior firepower only to slowly filter back in to plant roadside bombs and take potshots at troops. Eventually, military officials had to admit that they’d over-promised and under-delivered.

The pattern of hype and embarrassment repeated itself across Afghanistan all throughout 2010, as U.S. military officials repeatedly asserted that an influx of troops would bring security and protect the population, only to see those areas remain violent hot-spots where civilians were rarely safe. NATO similarly invaded Kandahar in force later in the year, and that area remains hotly contested and violent. In fact, violence in Kandahar and Helmand account for more than half of insurgent-initiated attacks for all of Afghanistan. Worse, areas that were previously relatively secure suddenly saw a spike in the number of insurgent attacks at the Taliban continued their relentless expansion across the country.

So. President Obama has had a full year now to prove that his new strategy is worth the costs. What are the results?

While we were wasting $100 billion on this war per year, Americans fought to stay above water in a horrible economy. Unemployment has now topped 9 percent for 20 months straight. Groups like the Salvation Army are reporting an alarming shortfall in resources to help the hungry. And state budgets all across the country are considering huge draconian cuts to their public structures and social safety nets that millions of people rely upon. Not only do most Americans oppose the war, but they rightly worry that it’s making it harder for us to fix these problems here at home.

After a year of escalated fighting across the country–after more than nine years of this war!–it’s absolutely clear that military solutions won’t work in Afghanistan, and they’re certainly not worth the cost. More than 195 million Americans want this war to end, yet their faces don’t seem to be reflected among elected officials to timid to take the morally courageous action of forcing this war to a close. So we’re giving people a chance to put their face and their opposition to the war in full public view.

Today, we’re launching “Because It’s Time” on Rethink Afghanistan to help Americans who oppose this war to make their voices heard. On this page, you can post your photo and a reason why it’s time to bring troops home.

Starting next Wednesday, you’ll have the chance to vote on your favorite comments. Those who get the most votes will get to star in an upcoming Rethink Afghanistan video.

As the one-year anniversary of “Obama’s War” approaches, please take a moment to call for our troops to come home–because it’s time.

To keep up with all the latest on Rethink Afghanistan, follow Robert Greenwald on Twitter. Click here!