Archive | July, 2009

Three Good Reasons To Liquidate Our Empire

And Ten Steps to Take to Do So

By Chalmers Johnson

However ambitious President Barack Obama’s domestic plans, one unacknowledged issue has the potential to destroy any reform efforts he might launch. Think of it as the 800-pound gorilla in the American living room: our longstanding reliance on imperialism and militarism in our relations with other countries and the vast, potentially ruinous global empire of bases that goes with it. The failure to begin to deal with our bloated military establishment and the profligate use of it in missions for which it is hopelessly inappropriate will, sooner rather than later, condemn the United States to a devastating trio of consequences: imperial overstretch, perpetual war, and insolvency, leading to a likely collapse similar to that of the former Soviet Union.

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Iraq as “Actor and Stakeholder”

An Iraqi soldier guards Shiite pilgrims in Baghdad. (Photo: AP)

An Iraqi soldier guards Shiite pilgrims in Baghdad. (Photo: AP)

“If the Iraqi forces require further training and further support, we shall examine this then at that time, based on the needs of Iraq,” Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki recently informed President Barak Obama in Washington. While Iraqi and US government officials continue to insist the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq is currently on schedule, only a few thousand US troops have left Iraq since Obama took office, and few, if any, are expected to be withdrawn through the beginning of 2010. From his recent statement, Maliki appears to be willing to accept a long-term stay.

The timeline in the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) says that US “combat troops” were to withdraw from Iraqi cities and villages no later than June 30, 2009, and all troops are to be out by December 31, 2011. Continue Reading →

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“Be Bold”

US Army Specialist Victor Agosto, who publicly refused to deploy with his unit to Afghanistan, was to receive the harshest court-martial possible for his decision – one that would land him in jail for up to one year, followed by a dishonorable discharge. However, within hours of the publication of a Truthout report about his story, Agosto received word from the military that his court-martial had been reduced.

The military had at first agreed to a less punitive court-martial for Agosto, but then, in a move that surprised both he and his lawyer, opted to push for a more stringent court-martial.

Agosto’s lawyer, James Branum, who is also the legal adviser to the GI Rights Hotline and co-chair of the Military Law Task Force, was in negotiations with the Army in efforts to seek a lower-level court-martial, so that Agosto would suffer the minimum penalties possible.

“We were working with the Army’s Trial Defense Services (TDS), and Victor has a military lawyer on his side as well, which I recommended he have,” Branum told Truthout during a July 10 phone interview.

“TDS had communicated to the prosecution for me that we were willing to accept an Article 15 and do a month of extra duty, then if he [Agosto] got a summary court-martial we’d take it – which would mean Victor would serve a maximum of 30 days in jail, and receive an Other Than Honorable discharge,” Branum explained, “So TDS said they took this offer to the CG [Commanding General] who was to sign off on it, but they said he made a mistake and wrote ‘special’ rather than ‘summary’ on the court-martial and sent it back down.”

Branum explained that “a summary court martial is little more than an Article 15. Supposedly there was an ‘honest’ mistake made by them handing down this special court martial, but I think they are playing games with us.” Continue Reading →

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