THE ABSURD TIMES — STILL

Iran and Idiocy

Posted in Uncategorized by @honestcharlie on February 3, 2012
Iran and Idiocy
 
 
Most Americans right now are being entertained by Donald Trump the Orange and the Super Bowl (there is an Occupy movement around that as well), but more bloody things are being contemplated:
 
If you prefer reading this on line, go to http://www.tikkun.org/nextgen/afghanistan-military-budget-iran-and-israel-update
The NSP–Network of Spiritual Progressives–is part of a national coalition called Win Without War. Our members, together with members of dozens of other organizations, have been working against militarism in all its different dimensions. Below, I’m attaching two communications which have useful information for you as you plan your own activities for peace. Of course, a first step would be for you to help start (or revitalize if there once was one but now doesn’t exist or has “tired blood”) a chapter of the Network of Spiritual Progressives in your community. To join or renew membership, click here. To help create or restart a chapter, send an email to Ashley@Tikkun.org who will help you move on that (best if you tell her where, are you a current member, and whether or not you’d be willing to work to create a first meeting in your area with help from our office).
A note from Win Without War: 
Afghanistan
 
Earlier today, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced that the US will seek to end its combat missions in Afghanistan as early as “mid-2013.” This important announcement is a welcome development in the right direction towards ending more than a decade-old US war in Afghanistan. A shift away from combat operations will reduce the risk to US forces while acknowledging that there simply is no military solution to the challenges faced in Afghanistan. When combined with recent reports indicating progress in a political peace process, it is apparent that US policymakers are finally hearing the clear will of the American people who want to bring our troops home now and end the US war in Afghanistan. 
 
There are many questions that remain. While Sec. Panetta has indicated a shift towards an “advise and assist” role, there has been too little clarity on what this means in terms of a continued troop presence and the mission those troops will be engaged in. Further, Sec. Panetta reiterated a US commitment to an “enduring presence” in Afghanistan, a troubling sign amid reports the Pentagon is seeking to keep tens of thousands of troops in Afghanistan for another decade or more. 
 
Despite these unanswered questions, today’s announcement remains much welcome news that the tide of war is indeed receding in Afghanistan. These developments simply would not be happening without the consistent and committed advocacy of so many Americans (and of course Win Without War member organizations like The Network of Spiritual Progressiveswww.spiritualprogressives.org and Tikkun Magazine). In the weeks and months ahead we must continue our work to responsibly end this war. Congressional hawks and their allies are already pushing back hard against any potential drawdown and the fledgling peace process. We remain ready to provide analysis and message guidance as desired and will identify opportunities for collective action when possible. 
 
For more information on today’s statements by Panetta see:
NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/02/world/asia/panetta-moves-up-end-to-us-combat-role-in-afghanistan.html
Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/war-zones/panetta-us-nato-will-seek-to-end-afghan-combat-mission-next-year/2012/02/01/gIQAriZJiQ_story.html
 
Military Spending

Late last week, the Pentagon announced that it will be requesting $525 billion in base funding and $88.4 billion for the war in Afghanistan for the next fiscal year. Despite much hyped talk of “massive Pentagon cuts” this request represents only a $6 billion reduction from the current fiscal year. And after this one year reduction, the Pentagon’s budget will go right back to rising for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, this will leave the bloated Pentagon budget at levels not seen since World War II when we had 12 million men under arms. The reality is that the current budget request continues to fund countless Cold War weapons systems that do nothing to keep America safe in the 21st Century, while keeping military contractors profits soaring. 
 
Even worse, tomorrow, a group of 5 Senators led by John McCain will unveil a bill to undo the automatic cuts to the Pentagon scheduled to go into effect next year as a result of the failure of last year’s Super Committee. While bipartisan analysts and experts agree there is more than enough waste at the Pentagon to achieve these cuts, Sen. McCain and his fellow Pentagon allies will propose eliminating all of the planned cuts and replacing them by doubling cuts to domestic programs. This is simply unconscionable. While nearly every other federal program, including those vital to national security like diplomacy and development, the Pentagon has remained virtually unscathed. We will continue to monitor this battle as it plays out in Congress and keep you informed of that latest developments, identify times for strategic action alerts, and provide messaging and analysis as desired. 
 
Iran

Finally, a short update on the escalating rhetoric and calls for war with Iran. The very same people who misled our nation into the disastrous war in Iraq are now saying that it is time for military action with Iran. Make no mistake, a war with Iran would be a monumental disaster. Numerous policy experts have stated that attacking Iran will only serve to harden Tehran’s resolve to obtain nuclear weapons, while dragging American into yet another war that would cost trillions of dollars and far too many lives. While there are no easy solutions to addressing the challenges we face with Iran, it is imperative that we push back on the ever increasing calls for war with Iran. For those interested in messaging or analysis, please contact us for more information.
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