Friday 30 October 2009

"War Made Easy" & Speaking Out Against the Afghanistan Quagmire We're Into

For powerful insights into the contributions of mainstream media in America, and those it serves in promoting militarism and war, you might consider watching the video "War Made Easy" online (the last link in the list below.)

War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death - Featuring Norman Solomon and narrated by Sean Penn - Media Education Foundation 73 minutes 2007

Home Page and Trailer

Synopsis

About Norman Solomon

* Don't miss checking out this video copy on the web!

Re: "War Made Easy," below find Harvey Wasserman's take on the New York Times and Pentagon's attempts to sell an escalation of troops in Afghanistan to the public:

Beware a Times/Pentagon 'Virtual Coup' on Afghanistan - Harvey Wasserman - CommonDreams 10/25/09

And this is Wasserman's take on Tom Friedman's recent reversal of support for an escalation in Afghanistan:

Is This Tom Friedman's 'Walter Cronkite Moment' on Afghanistan? - Harvey Wasserman - CommonDreams 10/29/09


So, what can people of conscience be doing and saying right now? Well, here are a couple of good examples:

Below find a link to Ann Wright's excellent article on "government employees who have the strength of character and courage to tell [the public and] their Presidents and Prime Ministers when they and their policies have no clothes.

"An American Diplomat and a British Soldier Tell Their Leaders They Have No Clothes: No to the Afghanistan War Strategy" - Ann Wright - CommonDreams 10/28/09

More Schools, Not Troops - Nicholas Kristof - Op-Ed, New York Times 10/29/09

A brief excerpt from Kristof provides a taste:

[Dispatching more troops to Afghanistan would be a monumental bet and probably a bad one, most likely a waste of lives and resources that might simply empower the Taliban. In particular, one of the most compelling arguments against more troops rests on this stunning trade-off: For the cost of a single additional soldier stationed in Afghanistan for one year, we could build roughly 20 schools there.

It’s hard to do the calculation precisely, but for the cost of 40,000 troops over a few years — well, we could just about turn every Afghan into a Ph.D.

The hawks respond: It’s na├»ve to think that you can sprinkle a bit of education on a war-torn society. It’s impossible to build schools now because the Taliban will blow them up.

In fact, it’s still quite possible to operate schools in Afghanistan — particularly when there’s a strong “buy-in” from the local community.Greg Mortenson, author of “Three Cups of Tea,” has now built 39 schools in Afghanistan and 92 in Pakistan — and not one has been burned down or closed.

The aid organization CARE has 295 schools educating 50,000 girls in Afghanistan, and not a single one has been closed or burned by the Taliban.

The Afghan Institute of Learning, another aid group, has 32 schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan, with none closed by the Taliban (although local communities have temporarily suspended three for security reasons).

In short, there is still vast scope for greater investment in education, health and agriculture in Afghanistan. These are extraordinarily cheap and have a better record at stabilizing societies than military solutions, which, in fact, have a pretty dismal record.]


(I do want to provide attribution to friend and professor at St. Mary's in South Bend, Indiana - Joseph Miller - for alerting me to all this "good stuff" which I deem is quite important for us to be passing along to our own networks of communication and circles of friends.)

It all gives me great pause and wonderment: Who is doing the parallel work, offering critique in the Australian context and especially within op-ed columns of this nation's newspapers as witness to the Rudd administration -- giving prophetic warning to NOT following the leader (America) straight into this quagmire? (If you know of good examples - and especially if you can provide some good links - please post them in the comments section below.)

Australia got out of Iraq early, and it can and should get out of Afghanistan on its own, as well.

-Clair

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