An blog by a member of the Catholic peace movement, Pax Christi, to explore the nexus between contemplation and resistance. "The Christian must discover in contemplation, and in the giving of his life, those symbolic actions which will ignite the people's faith to resist injustice with their whole lives, lives coming together as a united force of truth and thus releasing the liberating power of the God within them." - James Douglass, Contemplation and Resistance.
Friday, May 15, 2009
"Lt. Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the former Special Operations chief who is President Obama's new choice to lead the war in Afghanistan, rose to military prominence because of his single-minded success in a narrow but critical mission: manhunting. As commander of the military's secretive Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) for nearly five years starting in 2003, McChrystal masterminded a campaign to perfect the art of tracking down enemies, and then capturing or killing them. He built a sophisticated network of soldiers and intelligence operatives who proceeded to decapitate the Sunni insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq and kill its most notorious leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi." - "High-value-target hunter takes on Afghan war" Washington Post
The appointment of McChrystal puts the final nail in the coffin of Obama-branded "hope". Obama's principle foreign policy objective has been decisively revealed as the reinforcement of empire through the projection of massive military power, "A systematic analysis of the Obama regime’s policies reveals the overriding emphasis on projecting military power as the main instrument for sustaining the empire throughout the world." - James Petras, "US-Latin American Relations in a Time of Rising Militarism, Protectionism and Pillage", May 15, 2009
It would appear that we can no longer afford the luxuries of liberal pretense. We must kill and kill again until the Middle East submits unconditionally to our dominance. Only an unobstructed pathway for the massive pipelines through Afghanistan and dozens of permanent military bases to protect them is sufficient for those whose interests Obama was hired to implement. At last the real motivations behind Obama's refusal to release the new Abu Ghraib photos and his unprecedented blanket immunity for torturers becomes clear. We are about to take several new steps into hell.
Obama is also pleased by two other exploits by McChrystal: The prisoner abuse scandal at Baghdad's Camp Nama, and his role in the cover-up in the friendly-fire death of ex-NFL star and Army Ranger Pat Tillman.
McChrystal knows how to handle insurgents. "An interrogator at Camp Nama described locking prisoners in shipping containers for 24 hours at a time in extreme heat; exposing them to extreme cold with periodic soaking in cold water; bombardment with bright lights and loud music; sleep deprivation; and severe beatings. When he and other interrogators went to the colonel in charge and expressed concern that this kind of treatment was not legal, and that they might be investigated by the military’s Criminal Investigation Division or the International Committee of the Red Cross, the colonel told them he had 'this directly from General McChrystal and the Pentagon that there’s no way that the Red Cross could get in.'" Just as Obama doesn't want the CIA torturers prosecuted for violations of U.S. laws, he doesn't want the Geneva Conventions interfering with "what needs to be done."
Likewise, McChrystal knows how to handle the media. "When NFL player-turned-Army Ranger Pat Tillman died at the hands of US troops in a case of 'friendly fire,' the spin machine at the Pentagon went into overdrive. Rumsfeld and company couldn’t have their most high-profile soldier dying in such an inelegant fashion, especially with the release of those pesky photos from Abu Ghraib hitting the airwaves. So an obscene lie was told to Tillman’s family, his friends and the American public. The chicken-hawks in charge, whose only exposure to war was watching John Wayne movies, claimed that he died charging a hill and was cut down by the radical Islamic enemies of freedom...Now the man who greased the chain of command that orchestrated this great deception is prepared to assume total control of US operations in Afghanistan: Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal. It was McChrystal who approved Tillman’s posthumous Silver Star, a medal given explicitly for combat, even though he later testified that he “suspected” friendly fire." - Dave Zirin, "Tillman Family is McChrystal-Clear", May 16, 2009.
And the Guantanamo brigade plays on in this article documenting continuing torture at Guantanamo under Obama: "IRF teams in effect operate at Guantánamo as an extrajudicial terror squad that has regularly brutalized prisoners outside of the interrogation room, gang beating them, forcing their heads into toilets, breaking bones, gouging their eyes, squeezing their testicles, urinating on a prisoner's head, banging their heads on concrete floors and hog-tying them -- sometimes leaving prisoners tied in excruciating positions for hours on end."
Indeed, under Obama the torture has intensified, "... one Guantanamo lawyer, Ahmed Ghappour, said that his clients were reporting 'a ramping up in abuse' since Obama was elected, including 'beatings, the dislocation of limbs, spraying of pepper spray into closed cells, applying pepper spray to toilet paper and over-force feeding detainees who are on hunger strike,' according to Reuters." - "Little Known Military Thug Squad Still Brutalizing Prisoners at Gitmo Under Obama", May 15, 2009, Alternet
Hope and change = torture and assassination. Now the coup is complete. Bush established the foundation and Obama will build on that foundation with far more intelligence and dexterity, marshaling the full intellectual resources of the ruling elite. That was the purpose of his election. Promises were made, but none will be fulfilled - no withdrawal from Iraq, no end of Guantanamo, no universal health care, nothing will be given to those whose voice is of no importance. Military commission trials, now reauthorized by Obama, will not be confined to the inhabitants of Guantanamo:
"Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, has said that White House Counsel Greg Craig is considering changes to the tribunal system in conjunction with the establishment of a 'National Security Court' that could authorize indefinite detention for prisoners the executive branch or military declares “dangerous,” but against whom evidence is too scant to try in court. This is the prototype of a permanent 'Star Chamber' instrument in the hands of the executive, which would ultimately be used against its domestic political opponents." - "Obama restarts military commission trials", wsws.org, May 16, 2009.