You Are Not Entering the “No More War” Zone

 

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At the Democratic Convention last week, California and Oregon delegates interrupted former CIA Director/Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s speech several times with chants of “NO MORE WAR!”   Then, after DNC officials dimmed the lights on the Oregon delegation, the protesters activated their flashlight apps and held their phones aloft like little Statues of Liberties to get Panetta’s attention.  Panetta, also a former Congressman, OMB Director and Chief of Staff for Bill Clinton, is a highly seasoned politician, yet he seemed genuinely surprised and somewhat perplexed as to how to handle the anti-war chorus.  All he could do was smile sheepishly and awkwardly soldier on through his speech.  The chants also caught the rest of the delegates off guard, until they started a counter-chant of their own:  “USA! USA! USA!” to drown out their opponents, and that’s when a cold chill ran down my spine.

Was I watching a rerun of the ‘04 GOP Convention when Code Pink disrupted George II’s coronation at Madison Square Garden and got drowned out by a similar neo-con infused “patriotic” roar?  No. It couldn’t be.  The “LIVE” caption at the bottom of my flatscreen disabused me of that notion.  So I rubbed my eyes and waited patiently for Rod Serling to emerge from the woodwork to reassure us that we had indeed, entered another dimension; some parallel universe where, after 15 years of perpetual war, the Democrats shouted down anti-war protesters with hollow chants of “USA! USA! USA!” while an embodiment of the military-industrial-complex extolled the virtues of a hawkish nominee.

Nope.  No Serling.  This wasn’t the Twilight Zone folks.  It truly was the 2016 Democratic National Convention.  Wow.  History was pivoting on a dime and I was watching it all go down in real time.  I felt privileged.  Then, my shock turned to awe as a realization swept over me:  I was witnessing the conversion of the Democratic Party from a historically tacit Pentagon supporter to an openly militaristic party that shuns any form of dissent when it comes to endless war.  But before I could digest this sea change, I was floored by an equally disturbing development.  PBS commentators, eager to project a glossy picture of party unity after Bernie’s Clinton endorsement, were virtually SILENT on this momentous turn of events.  It’s so very rare to witness a turning point in history crystallized in such dramatic fashion, and yet even on public television, and even with a media STARVED for drama, there was no analysis, no prolonged discussion and NOT ONE QUESTION fielded to Panetta during the ensuing interview regarding the embarrassment he had just suffered through, or, more importantly, the implications thereof.

When I combed through the next morning’s Washington Post (hardcopy), there was also NO MENTION of the disruption ANYWHERE in the ENTIRE NEWSPAPER (apologies if I’m wrong, but I don’t think it was covered). Democracy Now was the only news entity that devoted extensive coverage to the anti-war chant and subsequent “USA” drown-out.  No surprise there.

Fast forward to Thursday night’s acceptance speech:  Once again, protesters’ cries were drowned out with chants of “HILL-AR-Y, HILL-AR-Y, HILL-AR-Y,” which repeatedly interrupted the first woman nominee for President in U.S. history as Bernie supporters chanted more anti-war slogans. Again, the Orwellian media (with the exception of Fox News) was so eager to pander to Clinton, they glossed over the disruption as if we dreamed it or it never happened.

Ladies and gentlemen, this country’s establishment has moved so far right in its unquestioning support for military expansion (and expenditure), that lame-stream media just suppressed coverage of historic anti-war dissent to a surreal degree.  This should all give us pause, and open our eyes to the octopus-like corporate nexus of “news” media, campaign finance, K-Street Congress, and military contractors that dominate our foreign policy discourse.

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Anti-war activist Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone was alive and well at the Dems’ Convention

 

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You Are Not Entering the “No More War” Zone

3 thoughts on “You Are Not Entering the “No More War” Zone

  1. Rebecca Taylor says:

    What makes you assume that if someone doesn’t chant “No more war” during a speech at a national convention that they aren’t anti-war? I would bet that if you polled the crowd in that room (including those chanting “USA”) the vast majority of them would agree they want the current wars to end and no new wars. Unfortunately there are people in this world who do want to wage war, and have, and now we’re left with the mess to clean up. Those weren’t the Dems that started the latest rounds of hopeless wars, but simply chanting “No more war” does not deal with the complexity of trying to extricate ourselves from these wars without leaving the innocent populations in very vulnerable situations. I agree diplomacy is always the best and first option but the reality is that crazy people who want to annihilate those that are not just like them are out there. Some people cannot be reasoned with: Hitler was real; Hawaii was bombed; ISIS is waging war already; the 2nd generation of mad dictators in North Korea is constantly threatening nuclear assault; Vladimir Putin does not hesitate to roll his armies into neighboring territory to “reclaim” it; genocide is being committed across the world in different populations. These are situations that either provoked or are ripe for escalation to war. Do I want to see us continue to engage in wars? Absolutely not, but these threats do exist.

    War is never the preferred solution unless you happen to be an arms dealer but unfortunately sometimes one must take up arms to defend our country or those who are not in a position to defend themselves from oppression that cannot be ignored. Chanting during a speech proves nothing other than that you have no interest in hearing what the other party is saying. It does not accomplish anything other than draw attention to the chanter. They got their attention- now they should come up with workable solutions for ending the wars. I’m sure our administration is and has been working on just that for years but perhaps they may have a fresh take that would be listened to if you don’t scream it out during a convention.

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    1. I agree that we are currently on the brink of World War III, but how much of that is attributable to aggressive U.S. foreign policy? Putin’s hard-line can be traced back to Bill Clinton’s expansion of NATO during the 90’s. Instead of working with the Russians to protect the sovereignty of former Eastern Bloc countries, we pushed NATO into their backyard when Russia was at its weakest, and they never forgot it. In other words, U.S. foreign policy helped create Putin. WE ALSO CREATED ISIS, by invading Iraq, decapitating Hussein’s military leadership and then employing military contractors like Blackwater to run the country. Subsequently, both Bush and Obama nurtured a CORRUPT regime in Baghdad that embezzled Iraqi army paychecks, leading to desertion and a shell of an army for ISIS to easily overrun when Obama withdrew American forces from Iraq. However, that shell of an army was loaded with American military equipment (including tanks) that U.S. contractors got RICH off of selling to the corrupt U.S. backed government mentioned above. Those same contractors are now getting EVEN RICHER fighting the Frankenstein monster they created (with OUR TAXPAYER dollars) that is currently rampaging across the Middle East, North Africa, and the Islamic world.

      So yes, I agree that we have an obligation to destroy the monster we created, but only if our interventions do not foment even more chaos (see Clinton’s Libya policy below). Unfortunately, our track record SUCKS in this regard, and frankly, based on experience, I simply do not trust our “expert” leaders and our for-profit military industrial complex to clean up their mess. Those who chanted “No More War” were merely trying to draw attention to the fact that we’ve been at war (BY FAR) for the longest period in our nation’s history (15 years) and that it may be time to reflect on that statistic. But the media, the Democratic Party and certainly Hillary Clinton, have yet to address this naked fact. I repeat: WE HAVE BEEN AT WAR FOR FIFTEEN YEARS, and what do we have to show for it? More terrorism? Couldn’t we have at least DISCUSSED this at the Democratic National Convention? Apparently not.

      My support of, at a bare minimum, at least acknowledging “NO MORE WAR” chants at the Democratic Convention is not irrational, or some liberal knee-jerk reaction to defending ourselves. My position on war has finally evolved, after being suckered (and LIED TO), time and time again, by feckless, extremely dangerous, completely disastrous U.S. foreign policy for the past 30 years.

      FOR EXAMPLE:

      I supported NATO and EU expansion until I learned how it isolated Russia and helped create Putin.

      I supported the invasion of Afghanistan after 9-11 until, 15 YEARS later, we FAILED to rebuild that country after blowing ONE HUNDRED BILLION dollars in NON-MILITARY aid (lost to another CORRUPT regime), or to capture Osama Bin Laden in a reasonable amount of time (that only took 10 years).

      I supported the invasion of Iraq until we found ZERO “weapons of mass destruction” there and turned that country into a breeding ground for terrorists and the launching pad for ISIS. I also withdrew support when it was revealed that over 100,000 Iraqis died due to our aggression. I think they would’ve done better under Saddam Hussein.

      I supported the overthrow of Gaddafi until I saw that it plunged Libya into chaos, civil war, and a refugee nightmare for Europe while creating an ISIS stomping ground and terrorist factory in the heart of North Africa.

      I supported the first Gulf War until I learned it was an inspiration for Osama bin Laden to form al Qaeda. Why? Because we used the spiritual center of Islam (Saudi Arabia) as an air base to launch a war against Saddam Hussein, a former U.S. ally who, by the way, we helped to purchase the chemical weapons used to gas Iranians during the Iran-Iraq War (hmmmmm … is this why we never found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? We’ll never know.) *footnote: Iran hates us because the CIA overthrew their democratically elected president Mosaddegh in the 1950’s.

      I supported our arming of the Mujahideen in Afghanistan against the Soviets in the 1980’s until I learned that CIA backed radical Pakistani clerics formed the BASIS for AL QAEDA, yet another U.S. created Frankenstein monster that we continue to fight to this day, and that murdered 3,000 innocent Americans on 9-11.

      I could go on, but do you see now why maybe the American people are sick and tired of war? Because frankly, since World War II, we just haven’t been very good at it: Korea was a tie, Vietnam a loss, the War on Drugs was a blow-out loss we’re still fighting, and the War on Terror is a 15 year stalemate (and counting). Meanwhile, TRILLIONS of dollars, over a million Vietnamese, hundreds of thousands of other foreign combatants, and tens upon tens of thousands of young Americans have been lost due to TERRIBLE American diplomacy, foreign policy, and outright aggression. Yet despite all this death and outrageous expenditure, all American wars have produced for the past 65 years has either been a loss, a tie, chaos, or terrorist blowback the likes of which this world has never seen. Perhaps, if America stopped aggressively interfering in foreign entanglements, we’d have less death and destruction and greater investment in human capital in our country and around the world. I’m not saying we should be isolationist, but I am saying we need to be a hell of lot smarter, and the first step towards that goal is to QUESTION, and, yes, PROTEST our abysmal war record.

      However, the Democrats’ answer is to put another “expert” in charge – Hillary Clinton. She is indeed an expert on international affairs, but is that what we really want or need right now? Just like when Obama hired the same Wall Street experts to “fix” the Second Great Depression they helped create (Tim Geithner – in charge of Wall St. oversight as head of the New York Fed before the crisis, and Larry Summers who talked Bill Clinton out of regulating derivatives). How’s that going for the economy?

      So the entire world is on their knees, praying to God right now that if Hillary is elected President she will bring all her “expertise” to bear on how to UNDO the global mess “experts” like her have created. The operative word here is: UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES, which is why George Washington, in his farewell address (and in his wisdom) warned us to think really, really hard before messing around in other countries’ affairs around the world. Nowhere on earth is this lesson more relevant than in the Middle East, which Henry Kissinger referred to as a “sink-hole”, yet which, for some demented reason (oil), the United States feels compelled to mire itself in, year after year after year, instead of developing renewable energy, which will not only heal the planet, but get us the hell out of that region’s relentlessly violent 1,600 year old conflict. Peace.

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  2. Robyn Hyman says:

    Wonderful; I couldn’t agree more. Yes, Saddam Hussein was, indeed, an important American ally. Our country did back him in the 1980s’ 10-year war against Iran. And President George Washington clearly warned against America getting involved in “foreign entanglements.” What a shame that most of our 20th- and 21st-century presidents decided to ignore our first President’s warning. The last war that our country decisively won was World War II.

    Liked by 1 person

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