Cognitive Dissonance

"Democracy! Bah! When I hear that I reach for my feather boa!" - Allen Ginsberg

Posts tagged war

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Report: Assad moving human shields to possible target sites in Syria - The Hill's DEFCON Hill

Oh, that’s just stellar.

Filed under Syria Bashar Assad News politics war no war with syria civilians political prisoners

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What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other armchair, weekend warriors in this administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne.

What I am opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like Karl Rove to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income — to distract us from corporate scandals and a stock market that has just gone through the worst month since the Great Depression. That’s what I’m opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics. Now let me be clear — I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. He has repeatedly defied UN resolutions, thwarted UN inspection teams, developed chemical and biological weapons, and coveted nuclear capacity. He’s a bad guy. The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him.

But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi military a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history.

I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a U.S. occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of al-Qaeda. I am not opposed to all wars. I’m opposed to dumb wars.

Illinois Sen. Barack Obama (D), Oct. 2, 2002

Remember this, Mr. President?

Filed under war Barack Obama politics second verse same as the first Syria no war in Syria Iraq flashbackfriday

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No one disagrees that the use of chemical weapons in Syria is despicable, and the results tragic. However, those facts alone do not make going to war either justified or even a good idea. And while the Administration can parse words all day long, launching missiles or dropping bombs constitutes going to war.

There is no clear U.S. interest in what is, in reality, a civil war on the other side of the globe. Likewise, there is nothing to indicate at this time that intervening in that civil war will benefit anyone — either here in America or in Syria.

The consequences of our military actions in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan should be a lesson to President Obama and others who appear determined to act without any meaningful strategic or national defense justification.
Gary Johnson, 2012 Libertarian candidate for president and former governor of New Mexico, on the Obama administration’s saber-rattling over war with Syria. 


Filed under Syria war Obama Gary Johnson no war in Syria politics foreign policy

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"Warrior" by Steve Earle

"There are no honorable frays to join 

Only mean death dealt out in dibs and dabs 
Or horror unleashed from across oceans 
Assail me not with noble policy 
For I care not at all for platitude 
And surrender such tedious detail 
To greater minds than mine and nimbler tongues 
Singular in their purpose and resolve 
And presuming to speak for everyman”

Filed under Steve Earle Warrior war Are you listening Mr. President?

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With approval for entering another war at nine percent, the NY Times publishes an op-ed titled “Bomb Syria, Even if It Is Illegal” featuring a jaw-dropping call for Obama to literally dictate law as it suits him.

‘Obama and allied leaders should declare that international law has evolved and that they don’t need Security Council approval to intervene in Syria. This would be popular in many quarters, and I believe it’s the right thing to do.’

You certainly won’t find these same people making a moral case for lawbreaking when it comes to Snowden and Manning alerting us to government abuse, only in justifying it. These were the same arguments we heard for torture and indefinite detention, for drone strikes on U.S. citizens.

What’s happening in Syria is truly horrible. But there’s no reason to believe our involvement will mean less people will die. This isn’t a movie and we aren’t the saviors.

Political cartoonist Matt Bors, commenting on The New York Times' editorial, “Bomb Syria, Even if It Is Illegal”. For peace’s sake, let’s unleash bombs. It’s only moral.

"This isn’t a movie and we aren’t the saviors."

This is echoing the pre-war drumbeats of military interventions both past and present. If that doesn’t scare the hell out of you, this should.

Filed under Syria News war politics Matt Bors The New York Times NYT Barack Obama illegal bombing imperialism intervention interventionism

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I Hereby Resign in Protest Effective Immediately

This piece, written by a former soldier and military defense contractor, is incredibly powerful. I encourage everyone to read it. Here’s an excerpt:

"I hereby resign in protest effective immediately. I have served the post-911 Military Industrial complex for 10 years, first as a soldier in Baghdad, and now as a defense contractor.

At the time of my enlistment, I believed in the cause. I was ignorant, naïve, and misled. The narrative, professed by the state, and echoed by the mainstream press, has proven false and criminal. We have become what I thought we were fighting against.” — Brandon Toy

Filed under Brandon Toy War Politics military military industrial complex justice Iraq Afghanistan

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The Administration does not support blowing up planets.

From the White House’s official response to the “Death Star by 2016” petition.

They may not support blowing up planets, but the Obama Administration has little issue with leveling an entire village in Yemen with flying murder robots piloted from a booth in Nevada just to kill one suspected terrorist who’s “likely” there.

The civilians are just an oopsie who shouldn’t have gotten in the way of the Hellfire missiles, y’know? So unfortunate. /sarcasm

So there’s that.

Filed under Drones foreign policy barack obama Death Star politics war

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Hagel Would Be First Former Enlisted Soldier To Run Pentagon

From NPR:

Former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska is said to be on President Obama’s short list to be the next defense secretary. But even the possibility of his nomination has stirred up opposition — particularly from members of his own political party.

If Hagel can survive a political ambush in Washington, he would be the first Pentagon chief who saw combat as an enlisted soldier.

The blunt-spoken Hagel favors deeper cuts in military spending and is wary of entangling America in long overseas missions.

As a veteran, I find it fascinating that no former enlisted military member has run the Pentagon. All too often, it’s the men behind the suits and desks that send the soldiers in uniform off to fight and die in a war for the elites. Hagel may be a member of the political elite, but he’s been a grunt before. The life of an enlisted solider is much different than that of an officer.

Lest we forget, the two major reasons Republicans hate him are that he’s been critical of Iraq and our military interventionism in general, and he’s also criticized the GOP’s slavish devotion to propping up Israel at all costs. 

Filed under Chuck Hagel Secretary of Defense politics Department of Defense war

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On money for education versus money for war

Rebloggable by request:

did cutting pell grant funding REALLY save money? isn’t education like. the Very Best Investment?


Meg at Cognitive Dissonance:

You’d think that. Let’s get a little perspective. From FY2001 to the end of FY2012, taxpayers spent $1.4 trillion on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. That’s $1,400,000,000,000. If you were to pile all those dollar bills and stick it on a scale, it would be about 1,543,235 tons. Or about 289 Chevy Silverado pickup trucks.

That’s pretty heavy.

You know what else is pretty heavy? Thinking about what we could have gotten for that money instead. Check it out:

  • 634.6 million Annual Energy Costs for a Household for One Year OR
  • 706.5 million Children Receiving Low-Income Healthcare for One Year OR
  • 20.3 million Elementary School Teachers for One Year OR
  • 133.4 million Fair Market Rent for One Bedroom Apartment for One Year OR
  • 181.3 million Head Start Slots for Children for One Year OR
  • 594.5 million Households Converted to All Solar Energy for One Year OR
  • 1.2 billion Households Converted to All Wind Energy for One Year OR
  • 176.7 million Military Veterans Receiving VA Medical Care for One Year OR
  • 658.5 million One Year Worth of Groceries for an Individual OR
  • 283.5 million People Receiving Low-Income Healthcare for One Year OR
  • 19.8 million Police or Sheriff’s Patrol Officers for One Year OR
  • 174.8 million Scholarships for University Students for One Year OR
  • 248.3 million Students receiving Pell Grants of $5550

You might say, “But that’s all the war spending! That’s not fair!” Here’s a few other comparisons. First, U.S. Defense spending for FY2012. That’s $544.3 billion. Here’s what we could get instead:

  • 279.0 million Children Receiving Low-Income Healthcare for One Year OR
  • 8.0 million Elementary School Teachers for One Year OR
  • 71.6 million Head Start Slots for Children for One Year OR
  • 234.8 million Households with Renewable Electricity - Solar Photovoltaic for One Year OR
  • 493.0 million Households with Renewable Electricity-Wind Power for One Year OR
  • 69.8 million Military Veterans Receiving VA Medical Care for One Year OR
  • 111.9 million People Receiving Low-Income Healthcare for One Year OR
  • 7.8 million Police or Sheriff’s Patrol Officers for One Year OR
  • 69.0 million Scholarships for University Students for One Year
  • OR 98.1 million Students receiving Pell Grants of $5550

Oh, but we need defense spending, right? Let’s examine weaponry. From 2001-2011, the U.S. fired over 11,000 Hellfire missiles in combat operations — keep in mind, this doesn’t count non-combat operations or testing. Each Hellfire costs roughly $68,000. That’s $748 million, or one year of full, $5,500 Pell Grants for 136,000 students.

Each F-16 Falcon Fighter costs $47 million. Or, 8,545 students could have Pell Grants of $5,550 for one year.

Each soldier in Afghanistan costs roughly $1.2 million per year. For that, we could give 218 students a full Pell Grant.

It’s not a question of cost. It’s a question of priorities. In FY2012, we spent $33.4 billion on Pell Grants — or six percent of the Department of Defense’s FY2012 budget.

But there’s always money for war, right? 



Filed under rebloggable by request politics education war Pell Grants cost federal budget priorities money

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Towering about us are banks and other financial institutions that profit from war. War, for some, is a business. And across this country lies a labyrinth of military industries that produce nothing but instruments of death. And some of us once served these forces. It is death we defy, not our own death, but the vast enterprise of death. The dark, primeval lusts for power and personal wealth, the hypermasculine language of war and patriotism, are used to justify the slaughter of the weak and the innocent and mock justice. … And we will not use these words of war.

We cannot flee from evil. Some of us have tried through drink and drugs and self-destructiveness. Evil is always with us. It is because we know evil, our own evil, that we do not let go, do not surrender. It is because we know evil that we resist. It is because we know violence that we are nonviolent. And we know that it is not about us; war taught us that. It is about the other, lying by the side of the road. It is about reaching down in defiance of creeds and oaths, in defiance of religion and nationality, and lifting our enemy up. All acts of healing and love—and the defiance of war is an affirmation of love—allow us to shout out to the vast powers of the universe that, however broken we are, we are not yet helpless, however much we despair we are not yet without hope, however weak we may feel, we will always, always, always resist. And it is in this act of resistance that we find our salvation.

Chris Hedges, from a talk given Sunday night in New York City at a protest denouncing the 11th anniversary of the war in Afghanistan. The event, at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, was led by Veterans for Peace.

Members of the organization were later arrested by the NYPD as they read the names of the war dead, including 85-year-old World War II veteran Jay Wenk.

Image from

Filed under War Chris Hedges Afghanistan Vietnam War politics economy warfare state military industrial complex war profiteering protest Veterans for Peace

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War is old men protecting their property by sending young men – rich, old men protecting their property by sending middle-class and lower-class, young men off to die. It always has been. It’s all about owning things. All of this back-and-forth and debate implies that there are really choices in this country, that we really have choices, freedom of choice…

There is no real choice. They say, “freedom of choice.” You’re given an illusion of choice. Americans are meant to feel free by the exercise of meaningless choices. You know what the choices are in this country? “Paper or plastic.” “Aisle or window.” “Smoking or non-smoking.” Those are your real choices. You don’t get to choose anything.
George Carlin on Real Time With Bill Maher, October 1, 2004

(Source: cognitivedissonance)

Filed under Bill Maher George Carlin choice America politics War Election 2012