Author Topic: Pro-War Government  (Read 17794 times)


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Pro-War Government
« on: February 26, 2010, 12:09:14 AM »
Military effort is part of a political solution for Afghanistan

Foreign Secretary David Miliband gave evidence to the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC) following their report 'Global Security: Afghanistan and Pakistan' on 24 February. The Government's response to the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC) report was published on 2 October 2009.

Read the report - Command Paper
Cm 7702 [pdf, 223kb]

The Foreign Secretary has welcomed the report:

'Afghanistan and Pakistan remain the Government's top foreign policy priorities. These issues deserve the widest possible engagement and the Committee's report contributes usefully to this debate'.

Afghanistan: The London Conference took place on 28 January 2010. The conference focused on delivering and coordinating support to enable President Karzai to meet the ambitions he set out in his inauguration speech. The conference aimed to move the international effort forward in three key areas - security, governance and development and regional co operation.

Key outcomes from ! the London Conference covered plans for phased transition to Afghan security lead, measures to tackle corruption and supporting the Government of Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Fund. These outcomes were part of the commitment by international community who came together in aligning increased resource – both civilian and military – behind Afghan leadership. The next step to assess delivery against these commitments will be at the proposed Kabul Conference in late spring/early summer. Read full details about outcomes.

David Miliband said the international community is supporting the Afghan Goverment's Kabul conference planning, but stressed the Afghan Government are "in the lead".

Operation Moshtarak (which means Operation Together) is a joint ISAF / Afghan initiative aimed to drive out insurgents from t! heir remaining bases in the populated areas of Helmand and to put the Afghan Government in charge. Civilian planning has been fully integrated into the operation from beginning to end and the Afghan Government with international support is now leading to help reconstruct and stabilise areas such as Nad e Ali.

The Foreign Secretary stressed that there will not be a "military solution" to the conflict, Afghanistan needs a political settlement. The military effort is not an alternative, but rather a crucial part of the ultimate political solution.


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Re: Pro-War Government
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2010, 09:59:08 PM »
Open Letter to the British Foreign Secretary
Stuart Littlewood, December 5, 2008

To Mr David Miliband,

You seem like a clever man – Kennedy scholar, something big in Social Justice, then head of Tony Blair's policy unit, now foreign secretary. Tell us, why do so many western politicians have so much trouble coming to terms with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which their countries are obliged to observe? Is it because they haven’t bothered to read it? Or do they simply not care? Either way, they neglect their duty.
Understanding the Declaration is really no sweat. A glance at the Preamble is enough to grasp the fundamentals:

• Recognition of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.

• Violence against tyranny and oppression is what happens if these rights are not protected by the rule of law.

• Member States (and that includes Britain) have pledged themselves to promote universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

So when you were within home-made rocket range of Gaza recently, Mr Miliband, why didn’t you drop in to see first-hand the deprivation, pain and death your government department has helped inflict on 1.4 million civilians for the last 30 months, tearing up nearly every Article of the Declaration in the process?

Instead, you visited Sderot to "show solidarity" with the people there.

Why is Article 2 such a big problem? This says that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set out in the Declaration, regardless of race, politics and religion and regardless of the status of the country or territory to which a person belongs. So let’s think Gaza and West Bank… What entitles Israel to take away Palestinians' rights and freedoms and discriminate against them precisely on the grounds of their race, politics and religion? And what entitles Britain to give a wink of approval?

Why doesn't your department uphold Palestinian rights as vigorously as it upholds Israel’s "right to defend itself" – a right everyone else is equally entitled to – and talk to Palestinian "extremists" as well as Israeli extremists?

There also seems to be difficulty with Article 5: "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment". 10,000 Palestinians, including women and children abducted from their homes, are languishing in Israeli prisons, many without charge or trial. Several reports, including those from Israeli groups B'Tselem, the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel and the Centre for the Defence of the Individual, have alerted us to Israel’s torture of prisoners and detainees.

Humiliating treatment can be seen any time, any day, at any Israeli checkpoint or crossing. And there’s the unforgivable torment of collective punishment meted out to the civilians of Gaza by Israel's devastating siege.

Article 13 promises that "everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state... Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country." No Palestinian has freedom of movement within his homeland in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. As you well know, Israel has seized more than 38% of the West Bank, including prime agricultural land and strategic water resources, and these areas are off-limits to Palestinians. 80% of the West Bank's precious water is now diverted to illegal settlements while Palestinians are strictly rationed or go without.

In Gaza, where the blockade has brought the near collapse of healthcare, even the chronically sick cannot leave for treatment abroad. Students have been prevented from taking up scholarships in the West. Were you stopped from going to university, Mr Miliband?

And the right of return for Palestinians forced to flee their homes by rampaging Jewish (later Israeli) terrorists still waits to be enforced.

Article 17 provides that everyone has the right to own property and no-one shall be arbitrarily deprived of it. Yet confiscation, demolition and displacement – 'ethnic cleansing’ in plain language – continues as Israel pushes ahead with its illegal colonising programme establishing vast settlements and other 'facts on the ground'.

Article 21 gives everyone "the right to take part in the government of his country… The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government..." You and your colleagues extinguished this right by rejecting the people’s choice in fair and square elections in 2006. Why? Anyone who knows the situation knows who the real terrorists are. The decision to refuse to talk with Hamas not only denies Gaza’s citizens of their rights but is unworthy of us.

Please don’t give us excuses about home-made rockets "raining down" on Sderot when countless thousands of Israeli bombs, missiles, grenades, tank shells and dum-dum rounds are routinely blasted into Gaza’s rightly-packed humanity. 8 Palestinians die for every Israeli; and when it comes to children the kill-rate is 11 to 1.

And don’t even mention that captured Israeli soldier – a trained killer – when the Israelis, I hear, kidnapped 330 Palestinians only last month. It would be nice to hear equal concern for the 30+ Palestinian MPs and legislators still under 'administrative detention'. In the UK we create merry hell when police arrest and question an MP for a few hours.

Then there’s Article 23: "Everyone has the right to work". Gaza’s 3,000 fishermen miss out on this one. Israel unlawfully claims control of Palestinian territorial waters and when the fishing boats put to sea they are fired on. Most citizens in the Strip are denied the right to work. Businesses are prevented from bringing supplies in and shipping products out. All attempts to develop their economy are thwarted. Care to guess the unemployment rate, Mr Miliband?

Let’s not forget Article 25: "Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family." That of course is a sick joke to Palestinians. Care to guess the number of children with stunted growth through malnutrition, Mr Miliband?

Finally, Article 28. "Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realised." So what exactly has the international order been doing the last 60 years to deliver Palestinian rights and freedoms?

You are part of that order, are you not Mr Miliband?

- Stuart Littlewood is author of the book Radio Free Palestine, which tells the plight of the Palestinians under occupation. For further information please visit


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Re: Pro-War Government
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2010, 07:47:15 PM »
Obama and the age of permanent war
Here is news of the Third World War. The United States has invaded Africa. US troops have entered Somalia, extending their war front from Afghanistan and Pakistan to Yemen and now the Horn of Africa. In preparation for an attack on Iran, "bunker-buster" bombs are said to be arriving at the US base on the British island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean.

In Gaza, the sick and abandoned population, mostly children, is being entombed behind underground American-supplied walls to reinforce a criminal siege. In Latin America, the Obama administration has secured seven bases in Colombia from which to wage a war of attrition against the popular democracies in Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Paraguay. Meanwhile, the secretary of "defence", Robert Gates, complains that "the general [European] public and the political class" are so opposed to war, they are an "impediment" to peace. Remember, this is the month of the March Hare.

According to an American general, the invasion of Afghanistan is not so much a real war as a "war of perception". Thus, the recent "liberation of the city of Marjah" from the Taliban's "command-and-control structure" was pure Hollywood. Marjah is not a city; there was no Taliban command and control. The heroic liberators killed the usual civilians, the poorest of the poor. Otherwise, it was fake. A war of perception is meant to provide fake news for the folks back home, to make a failed colonial adventure seem worthwhile and patriotic, as if The Hurt Locker were real and the parades of flag-wrapped coffins through Wootton Bassett were not a cynical propaganda exercise.

Silent witness
“War is fun", the helmets in Vietnam used to say with bleakest irony, meaning that if a war is shown to have no purpose other than to justify voracious power in the cause of lucrative fanaticisms such as the weapons industry, the danger of truth beckons. This danger can be illustrated by comparing the liberal perception of Tony Blair in 1997 as one "who wants to create a world [where] ideology has surrendered entirely to 'values'" (Hugo Young, the Guardian) to the public reckoning today of a liar and war criminal.

Western war-states such as the US and Britain are threatened not by the Taliban or any other introverted tribesmen in faraway places, but by the anti-war instincts of their own citizens. Consider the draconian sentences handed down in London to scores of young people who protested against Israel's assault on Gaza in January last year. Following demonstrations in which paramilitary police "kettled" thousands, first offenders have received two and a half years in prison for minor offences that would not normally carry a custodial sentence. On both sides of the Atlantic, serious dissent exposing illegal war has become a serious crime.

Silence in other high places allows this moral travesty. Across the arts, literature, journalism and the law, liberal elites, having hurried away from the debris of Blair and now Obama, continue to fudge their indifference to the barbarism and aims of western state crimes by promoting retrospectively the evils of their convenient demons, such as Saddam Hussein. With Harold Pinter gone, try compiling a list of well-known writers, artists and advocates whose principles are not consumed by the "market" or neutered by their celebrity. Who among them has spoken out about the holocaust in Iraq during almost 20 years of lethal blockade and assault? And all of it has been deliberate. On 22 January 1991, the US Defence Intelligence Agency predicted in impressive detail how a blockade would systematically destroy Iraq's clean water system and lead to "increased incidences, if not epidemics, of disease". So the US set about eliminating clean water for the Iraqi population: one of the causes, Unicef noted, of the deaths of half a million Iraqi infants under the age of five. But this extremism apparently has no name.

Partners in crime
Norman Mailer once said he believed the US, in its endless pursuit of war and domination, had entered a "pre-fascist era". Mailer seemed tentative, as if trying to warn about something even he could not quite define. "Fascism" is not right, for it invokes lazy historical precedents, conjuring yet again the iconography of German and Italian repression. On the other hand, American authoritarianism, as the American cultural critic Henry Giroux pointed out recently, is "more nuance, less theatrical, more cunning, less concerned with repressive modes of control than with manipulative modes of consent".

This is Americanism, the only predatory ideology to deny that it is an ideology. The rise of tentacular corporations that are dictatorships in their own right and of a military that is now a state within the state, set behind the façade of the best democracy 35,000 Washington lobbyists can buy, and a popular culture programmed to divert and stultify, is without precedent. More nuanced, perhaps, but the results are unambiguous. Denis Halliday and Hans von Sponeck, the senior UN officials in Iraq during the US- and British-led blockade, are in no doubt they witnessed genocide. They saw no gas chambers. Insidious, undeclared, even presented wittily as enlightenment on the march, the Third World War and its genocide proceeded, human being by human being.

In the coming election campaign in Britain, the candidates will refer to this war only to laud "our boys". The candidates are almost identical political mummies, shrouded in the Union Jack and the Stars and Stripes. As Blair demonstrated a mite too eagerly, the British elite love America because America allows them to barrack and bomb the natives and call themselves "partners". We should interrupt their fun.