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Posts Tagged ‘drones’

America’s foreign policy; promoting ‘Peace on Earth?’

In foreign policy, war and peace on December 10, 2009 at 5:05 am

The holiday season is upon us once again. The time of year where everyone runs around with Merry Christmas on their lips and tidings of comfort and joy. The time of year when all Americans, not just Charlie Brown, ponder the true meaning of Christmas. It’s a peaceful time of year — or, at least it’s supposed to be.

This is the irony that is America. A self-declared peaceful nation, where 80 percent of the population professes to be Christian. Whether or not American is a Christian nation is debatable. Whether or not it is a peaceful nation is not debatable.

With troops in 70 percent of the world’s countries and current conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, the United States seems to be in a perpetual state of war — never satisfied with the extent of its empire. However, the American people, unlike their government, appear to be growing weary of the violence.

A recent poll shows a slim majority of Americans support the troop surge in Afghanistan and 49 percent of Americans now say the United States should “mind its own business in the world.” And, in hopes of stemming that tide of violence and war, they went to the polls on Nov. 4, 2008 and voted for Barack Obama. Hoping he was the “anti-Bush” as Reginald Dale, senior fellow for the European program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, puts it. But alas, President Obama turned out to be just a more charming version of President Bush.

Not only has President Obama not withdrawn troops as promised, he’s instead escalated the wars, sending 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan and increasing drone attacks in Pakistan. And today, as President Obama receives the Nobel Peace Prize, he will give a speech on America’s desire to seek peace “in a world where sometimes to won’t be able to avoid a war,” said Jon Favreau, Obama’s chief speechwriter. Surely Mother Teresa is rolling over in her grave.

To be sure, there are those that argue that by waging wars and overthrowing other nation’s tyrannical regimes, America is promoting peace in the world. After all, it’s our duty as leader of the free world to promote democracy; even if it’s at the end of a gun. Such a concept is not only incorrect, it’s completely illogical.

How can one promote peace through violence? How can one decrease pain and suffering through waging war? How can one force democracy and freedom on a people?

But such is the rational of the American government.

Perhaps it was the Vietnam war, perhaps it was Nixon, but the American people seem to be waking up to the reality that America’s foreign policy is costly. Unlike their blindly patriotic predecessors, today’s generation questions its government’s intent for going to war — and with good reason.

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Blackwater and the war on Pakistan

In foreign policy, war and peace on December 1, 2009 at 2:07 am

According to freelance journalist Jeremy Scahill, Blackwater security forces are operating within Pakistan. Scahill is a sort of expert on the mercenary outfit and its operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2007, he wrote The New York Times bestseller, “Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army.”

In an article last week in The Nation, Scahill says that members of an elite division of Blackwater are working at a covert base in Pakistan that is run by the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). Blackwater and JSOC’s purpose in Pakistan is to plan and carry out assassinations against “suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives.”

Blackwater, who recently changed its name to Xe Services and U.S. Training Center, denies such claims.

In 2007, Blackwater security contractors faced much criticism for allegedly killing 17 Iraqi civilians. Today in an article for The Dawn Media Group, writer Huma Yusuf says that Pakistanis look unfavorably at Blackwater’s presence in Pakistan.

“Pakistanis are also enraged at the idea that Blackwater employees — who operate outside any legal framework — are running around their country, taking pot shots at anyone who seems suspicious, or is deemed problematic by the US.”

Pakistan has repeatedly asked the United States to respect its sovereignty and borders. But this administration, like its predecessor, is ignoring such requests. Instead, it is expanding America’s reach in the pursuit of suspected terrorists with little regard for the rule of law.