Military Spending - Arms Industry

Drones: a humane approach to war? Or a special form of inhumanity?

Dirk Kurbjuweit says Germany should not allow itself to be seduced by the idea that an unmanned aircraft is a humane weapon.
A SUICIDE BOMBER needs to be 100 percent willing to sacrifice his life. With a drone pilot, on the other hand, the risk of pilot death drops to zero percent.

The West's war on Islamist terror is currently being waged between these two conflicting priorities. Nothing is more indicative of the asymmetry of the war, and nothing is as symbolic of the cultures that are waging it.

It's a war between those who are willing to sacrifice everything and those who are unwilling to give up anything -- a war of sacrifice versus convenience, bodies versus technology and risk versus safety.

Like no other weapon, the drone stems from the needs and strengths of the West. Aside from convenience, technology and safety, it also represents a moral claim. In the world of weapons, the drone is a good weapon, at least at first glance. It claims no victims on one side and relatively few on the other, because it fires precision missiles.

The German Defense Ministry recently confirmed that the German military, the Bundeswehr, is currently reviewing the question of whether it should buy combat drones. (At the moment, it only uses unarmed drones for reconnaissance purposes.) Because Germany is relatively scrupulous in matters of war, the unmanned aircraft seems to be the ideal weapon for the country.

But is it really true that the drone is a good weapon? In reality, it raises a number of ethical questions related to pride, humanity and the law.

Keeping Their Distance

In the history of war, close-quarters combat is considered especially noble. It requires strength and courage. Those who are weaker and more cautious prefer to keep their distance. In the Bible, David was able to defeat Goliath because his slingshot enabled him to stay far away from the giant.

America's global empire of military bases grows to over 1000

David Vine - TomDispatch.com

YOU MIGHT think that the US military is in the process of shrinking, rather than expanding, its little-noticed but enormous collection of bases abroad.

After all, it was forced to close the full panoply of 505 bases, mega to micro, that it built in Iraq, and it’s now beginning the process of drawing down forces in Afghanistan.

In Europe, the Pentagon is continuing to close its massive bases in Germany and will soon remove two combat brigades from that country. Global troop numbers are set to shrink by around 100,000.

Yet Washington still easily maintains the largest collection of foreign bases in world history: more than 1,000 military installations outside the 50 states and Washington, D.C. They include everything from decades-old bases in Germany and Japan to brand-new drone bases in Ethiopia and the Seychelles islands in the Indian Ocean and even resorts for military vacationers in Italy and South Korea.

In Afghanistan, the US-led international force still occupies more than 450 bases. In total, the US military has some form of troop presence in approximately 150 foreign countries, not to mention 11 aircraft carrier task forces — essentially floating bases — and a significant, and growing, military presence in space. The United States currently spends an estimated $250 billion annually maintaining bases and troops overseas.

Some bases, like Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, date to the late 19th century. Most were built or occupied during or just after World War II on every continent, including Antarctica. Although the US military vacated around 60% of its foreign bases following the Soviet Union’s collapse, the Cold War base infrastructure remained relatively intact, with 60,000 American troops remaining in Germany alone, despite the absence of a superpower adversary.

Lindsey German: The anti-war movement won't let Tony Blair forget about Iraq

LINDSEY GERMAN - THE GUARDIAN

FIVE YEARS after he left Downing Street, Tony Blair's attempted comeback to political life shows how little he understands about what went wrong with his career, and about the level of opposition to him that still remains.

He has planned a series of fundraising events to facilitate his return to grace, including an "in conversation" with Tessa Jowell and a £500-a-head dinner alongside Ed Miliband tomorrow. Jowell had to hastily cancel her appearance for fear of demonstrations.
Tonight's Blair event at Arsenal's Emirates stadium in north London will be met by protests organised by the Stop the War coalition over his role in the Iraq war.

It appears that his old friend and partner in crime, Alastair Campbell, will be there. While we have to assume that those attending will not choke on their dinners, many Labour members and voters will find all this too much to stomach.

Blair was determined to follow George Bush into war, regardless of the evidence of its necessity or the consequences. He and Campbell, along with head of MI6 John Scarlett, constructed a dossier that claimed Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction that posed a direct threat to Britain. It was a lie.

He refused to put the full and balanced advice on the legality of the war to his cabinet, let alone to parliament or to the public. Instead he insisted that it was legal, a fact disputed by many international lawyers.

Blair ignored public opinion, which repeatedly showed majorities against the war, and the largest peace demonstration ever in British history.

He bullied and bribed many Labour MPs into voting for war in March 2003, against their better instincts and the wishes of their constituents.

Julian Assange has done us all a service. He needs support

EAMON MCCANN - BELFAST TELEGRAPH

Sympathy seems in short supply for Julian Assange, the Australian-born founder of WikiLeaks currently holed up in the Ecuadorean embassy in London.

Swedish authorities want to talk to Assange about allegations of sexual assault in Stockholm. He says he fears that, if he travels to Sweden, he might be extradited to the US on charges of espionage arising from WikiLeaks' publication of 250,000 classified diplomatic documents.

Assange's supporters insist the allegations are spurious. The robust feminist and anti-war campaigner Naomi Klein says: "Rape is being used in the Assange prosecution in the same way that women's freedom was used to invade Afghanistan. Wake up."

Whatever the truth of what happened in Stockholm, Assange's apprehensions about what might happen in the US are far from fanciful.

The head of the US Senate's intelligence oversight committee, California Democrat Dianne Feinstein, told the Sydney Morning Herald last weekend that, "I believe that Julian Assange has knowingly obtained and disseminated classified information which could cause injury to the United States ... He has caused serious harm to US national security and should be prosecuted accordingly."

In light of that, and given seemingly permanently heightened US anxieties about 'homeland security', Assange's nightmare glimpse of himself shuffling in a jump-suit in Guantanamo Bay can hardly be dismissed as an invented ploy for evading the Swedish police. So it's puzzling that few in the mainstream media seem concerned about his plight.

Assange's team worked for almost a year, with others, sifting through and annotating the leaked archive prior to launching publication in November 2010.

His partners were the New York Times, the Guardian, Le Monde, El Pais and Der Spiegel - publications held in the highest esteem, not least by themselves. (Hundreds of the leaked State Department cables have since been published in the Belfast Telegraph.)

Israel deploys nuclear weapons on german submarines.

Der Spiegel has reported that German-built submarines for Israel are capable of carrying nuclear weapons.
Why did the German government not forbid this?

Why is there no call for sanctions against Israel, which has been stockpiling nuclear weapons for decades, as there has been against Iran? 
We all know the answer!
Another question is: will the Irish government make a protest to both Germany and Israel over these dangerous new developments?

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/israel-deploys-nuclear-weapons-on-german-submarines-a-836671.html

What NATO can't hide: everyone but US and UK wants to jump Afghanistan ship now

What NATO can't hide: everyone but US and UK wants to jump Afghanistan ship now

The NATO conference will be nothing but spin to hide the facts: the war in Afghanistan is lost, the only purpose now is to save the face of the warmongers who started it.



Nigel Morris
The Independent
19 May 2012

NATO soldier killed by uniformed Afghan army recruit.

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