Military Spending - Arms Industry

Obamas Perpetual War

Micah Zenko - Foreign Policy

"The United States is in a state of perpetual war, spending $633 billion this year on defense, with over 200,000 US servicemembers deployed around the world."

During his second inaugural address on 21 January 2013, President Obama offered two aspirational statements that struck many observers as incongruous with administration policies: "A decade of war is now ending" and "We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war."

We should question these observations, not least because of the string of US government plans and activities that increasingly blur the conventional definition of war.

My own list of war-like activities since Obama's inaugural would include:
four drone strikes that killed 16 people (all in Yemen);
the acknowledgement by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta regarding drones, "We've done that in Pakistan. We're doing it in Yemen and elsewhere. I think the reality is its going to be a continuing tool of national defense in the future";

the announcement that the US military would provide intelligence, transportation, and refueling support for the French intervention in Mali;
the signing of a US-Niger status of forces agreement that will likely include a drone base for surveillance missions, although US officials "have not ruled out conducting missile strikes at some point";
the forthcoming expansion (perhaps quintupling) of US Cyber Command, including "combat mission forces" for offensive cyberattacks;
the executive branch's secret legal review determining that Obama "has the broad power to order a pre-emptive strike if the United States detects credible evidence of a major digital attack looming from abroad";
the Marine commandant's announcement of a new "crisis response unit" that would be "rapidly employable" to "address crises";

Owen Jones: The War 10 Years On

Owen Jones: After The Iraq War - Never Again

Owen Jones - The Independent [UK]

"The hawks were wrong on every count. Wrong about the weapons; wrong about being greeted with flowers; wrong about the human cost; wrong about Iraq becoming a flourishing democracy."

Almost exactly a decade ago, on a bitingly cold February day, we marched in our hundreds of thousands to stop a catastrophe.

The historic demonstration against the Iraq war was more of a shuffle than a march: the streets were too crammed to walk very fast. The coach to London was packed full of car workers. Lollipop ladies, firefighters, supermarket shelf stackers, lecturers, shopkeepers marched: there was a euphoria that people power brings.

When we left for our pick-up points, placards scattering the street, chants still echoing in the evening air, we thought we had won. How could the greatest mass of demonstrators to have ever swarmed through Britain’s streets be tossed aside?

It is a memory now punctured with bitterness. Yes, we helped trigger one of the greatest parliamentary rebellions in history as 139 Labour MPs defied the Whip, but the largely united Tories came to Tony Blair’s rescue.

When I visit schools, students who were six, seven or eight years old when we marched ask how they can change anything if up to two million demonstrators couldn’t. And forget the expenses scandal: it was Iraq that exploded what trust millions had in our political establishment.

But the real anguish lies elsewhere. The consequences of the Iraq obscenity were far worse than those of us who yelled “Not In Our Name” imagined. Years of blood and chaos followed. There can be no sense of triumphalism or vindication.

UN vote calls on Israel - open nuclear programme to inspectors

A vote by the United Nations general assembly has called on Israel to open its nuclear programme to weapons inspectors. The UN general assembly has overwhelmingly approved a resolution calling on Israel to open its nuclear programme for inspection.

The resolution, approved by a vote of 174 to 6 with six abstentions, calls on Israel to join the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) "without further delay" and open its nuclear facilities to inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Those voting against were Israel, the US, Canada, Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau.

Resolutions adopted by the 193-member general assembly are not legally binding but they do reflect world opinion and carry moral and political weight. And the resolution adds to pressure on Israel as it faces criticism over plans to increase settlement in the West Bank, a move seen as retaliation for the assembly recognising Palestinian statehood.

Israel refuses to confirm or deny possessing nuclear bombs though it is widely believed to have them. It has refused to join the non-proliferation treaty along with three nuclear weapon states: India, Pakistan and North Korea.

Israel insists there must first be a Middle East peace agreement before the establishment of a proposed regional zone free of weapons of mass destruction. Its rivals in the region argue that Israel's undeclared nuclear arsenal presents the greatest threat to peace in the region.

British arms deals: a tale of quick death, dirty money and fast profits 06 November 2012 Colin Todhunter United Kingdom

British arms deals: a tale of quick death, dirty money and fast profits
06 November 2012 Colin Todhunter United Kingdom

The UK arms trade receives about £852m a year in subsidies, much of it going to BAE, a company with a track record of bribery, espionage and arms deals with oppressive regimes.

By Colin Todhunter
www.globalresearch
6 November 2012

Saudi Arabian troops enter Bahrain in 2011, no doubt armed with weapons supplied by Britain, to help crush the democracy movement which threatened to overthrow the dictatorship that has ruled the country for centuries.

BRITISH PM CAMERON is often quite keen to stand in front of the TV cameras and lecture the public on the values of peace and democracy in an unstable world.

With his public school accent and an air of authority and respectability afforded by the trappings of state, Cameron words may carry a good deal of weight to the casual observer.

But what better way to evaluate his commitment to such high-minded principles by highlighting his actions.

Let’s cast our eyes towards the Arab world. Under Cameron, Britain is not only involved in stoking conflict in Syria right now, but also helped destroy Libya by supporting and taking part in an illegal NATO bombing campaign.

Moreover, Britain not only exported weapons and crowd control equipment to Gaddafi months before attacking him, but also to dictator Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and to the regime in Bahrain, a clique which last year carried out the fiercest of crackdowns on protesters.

And this week, David Cameron is accompanying representatives of British weapons manufacturers to Saudi Arabia and the UAE in an attempt to win further lucrative defence contracts for UK firms.

Time to ask on anniversary of 9/11: who pays and who profits from endless US wars?

JOHNNY BARBER - COUNTERPUNCH

On average, one US soldier dies everyday. Not an enormous sum, unless it is your mother, father, son or daughter that has perished. Few Americans notice. Afghan loses are not reported.

ELEVEN YEARS LATER, we are still at war. Bullets, mortars and drones are still extracting payment. Thousands, tens of thousands, millions have paid in full. Children and even those yet to be born will continue to pay for decades to come.

On a single day in Iraq last week there were 29 bombing attacks in 19 cities, killing 111 civilians and wounding another 235. On Sept 9th, reports indicate 88 people were killed and another 270 injured in 30 attacks all across the country. Iraq continues in a seemingly endless death spiral into chaos. In his acceptance speech for the Democratic nomination for President, Obama claimed he ended the war in Iraq, well… not quite.

The city of Fallujah remains under siege. Not from US troops, but from a deluge of birth defects that have plagued families since the use of depleted uranium and white phosphorus by US forces in 2004. No government studies have provided a direct link to the use of these weapons because no government studies have been undertaken, and none are contemplated.

Dr. Samira Alani, a pediatric specialist at Fallujah General Hospital, told Al Jazeera,

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