Archive for the ‘The War’ Category

Ben Franklin, 2007

8.5 feet wide by 10.5 feet tall in three horizontal panels

Depicts 125,000 one-hundred dollar bills ($12.5 million), the amount our government spends every hour on the war in Iraq.

Advertisements

Thanks MoveOn.org –

Current U.S. strategy against the terrorist group al Qaida has not been successful in significantly undermining the group’s capabilities, according to a new RAND Corporation study issued today.

Al Qaida has been involved in more terrorist attacks since Sept. 11, 2001, than it was during its prior history and the group’s attacks since then have spanned an increasingly broader range of targets in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa, according to researchers.

In looking at how other terrorist groups have ended, the RAND study found that most terrorist groups end either because they join the political process, or because local police and intelligence efforts arrest or kill key members. Police and intelligence agencies, rather than the military, should be the tip of the spear against al Qaida in most of the world, and the United States should abandon the use of the phrase “war on terrorism,” researchers concluded.

“The United States cannot conduct an effective long-term counterterrorism campaign against al Qaida or other terrorist groups without understanding how terrorist groups end,” said Seth Jones, the study’s lead author and a political scientist at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. “In most cases, military force isn’t the best instrument.”

The comprehensive study analyzes 648 terrorist groups that existed between 1968 and 2006, drawing from a terrorism database maintained by RAND and the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism. The most common way that terrorist groups end — 43 percent — was via a transition to the political process. However, the possibility of a political solution is more likely if the group has narrow goals, rather than a broad, sweeping agenda like al Qaida possesses.

The second most common way that terrorist groups end — 40 percent — was through police and intelligence services either apprehending or killing the key leaders of these groups. Policing is especially effective in dealing with terrorists because police have a permanent presence in cities that enables them to efficiently gather information, Jones said.

Military force was effective in only 7 percent of the cases examined; in most instances, military force is too blunt an instrument to be successful against terrorist groups, although it can be useful for quelling insurgencies in which the terrorist groups are large, well-armed and well-organized, according to researchers. In a number of cases, the groups end because they become splintered, with members joining other groups or forming new factions. Terrorist groups achieved victory in only 10 percent of the cases studied.

Jones says the study has crucial implications for U.S. strategy in dealing with al Qaida and other terrorist groups. Since al Qaida’s goal is the establishment of a pan-Islamic caliphate, a political solution or negotiated settlement with governments in the Middle East is highly unlikely. The terrorist organization also has made numerous enemies and does not enjoy the kind of mass support received by other organizations such as Hezbollah in Lebanon, largely because al Qaida has not engaged in sponsoring any welfare services, medical clinics, or hospitals.

The study recommends the United States should adopt a two-front strategy: rely on policing and intelligence work to root out the terrorist leaders in Europe, North America, Asia and the Middle East, and involve military force — though not necessarily the U.S. military — when insurgencies are involved.

The United States also should avoid the use of the term, “war on terror,” and replace it with the term “counterterrorism.” Nearly every U.S. ally, including the United Kingdom and Australia, has stopped using “war on terror,” and Jones said it’s more than a mere matter of semantics.

“The term we use to describe our strategy toward terrorists is important, because it affects what kinds of forces you use,” Jones said. “Terrorists should be perceived and described as criminals, not holy warriors, and our analysis suggests that there is no battlefield solution to terrorism.”

Among the other findings, the study notes:

  • Religious terrorist groups take longer to eliminate than other groups. Since 1968, approximately 62 percent of all terrorist groups have ended, while only 32 percent of religious terrorist groups have done so.
  • No religious terrorist group has achieved victory since 1968.
  • Size is an important predictor of a groups’ fate. Large groups of more than 10,000 members have been victorious more than 25 percent of the time, while victory is rare when groups are smaller than 1,000 members.
  • There is no statistical correlation between the duration of a terrorist group and ideological motivation, economic conditions, regime type or the breadth of terrorist goals.
  • Terrorist groups that become involved in an insurgency do not end easily. Nearly 50 percent of the time they end with a negotiated settlement with the government, 25 percent of the time they achieved victory and 19 percent of the time, military groups defeated them.
  • Terrorist groups from upper-income countries are much more likely to be left-wing or nationalistic, and much less likely to be motivated by religion.

“The United States has the necessary instruments to defeat al Qaida, it just needs to shift its strategy and keep in mind that terrorist groups are not eradicated overnight,” Jones said.

The study, “How Terrorist Groups End: Lessons for Countering al Qaida,” can be found at http://www.rand.org.

The report was prepared by the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center that does research for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the unified commands and other defense agencies.

Read the excellent commentary at The Existentialist Cowboy – one of our FAVORITES!

A young soldier displays a tattoo reading “Walk Peacefully on Heavens Streets, You’ve Done You’re Time in Hell.”  Baghdad, Iraq – July, 2007.

© Zoriah/www.zoriah.com

© Zoriah/www.zoriah.com

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

000000000000000000000000000000000000

War is terrorism with a bigger budget.

From Jayne Lyn Stahl at The Huffington Post

What might get lost in the ad nauseum mainstream media coverage of the gladiator-style struggle for the Democratic Party presidential nomination is what the Associated Press calls a “landmark treaty” which received a formal thumbs-up on Friday at a meeting, in Dublin, of more than 100 nations, including many of our partners in NATO. Not only does the treaty call for banning munitions cluster designs, but demands the destruction of stockyards within the next ten years.

What’s more, not only did the U.S. boycott these negotiations, it joined other major manufacturers of cluster bombs, Russia, China, India, Israel and Pakistan, in doing so. Our focus and that of the other munitions’ manufacturers was not on how deleterious cluster bombs are, but on their military (i.e. monetary) value.

One defense analyst even went so far as to argue that “only countries that don’t fight wars” would draft a treaty like this, and say that its value is strictly “feel good.” We haven’t seen this kind of logic since the fall of Rome. No one from the Defense Department, so far, has said what would happen if and when a European country orders cluster bomb munitions from U.S. bases on the continent.

That India joins the U.S. in this militarist circus only shows just how far they have strayed from the days of Gandhi and “passive resistance.” Remember, it was Mahatma Gandhi who said “I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.” We can guess what Gandhi would have to say about who India is in bed with now; the artful draft dodgers, and Texas oil men.

Indeed, anyone opting for disarmament who dares to approach 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue will have to check their bags at the door. We not only are a military industrial complex, we have a military industrial complex, which means this is no longer just a wartime economy, this is a country that has made a religious fetish of combat. That we’ve also become occupation zealots is obvious from how many military bases we’ve amassed world-wide, as well as reports of plans to keep contractors in Iraq long after troops are removed.

Make no mistake, any candidate who talks about nuclear nonproliferation and doesn’t include India, Israel, and the U.S. as among those who need to honor nonproliferation agreements is blowing smoke up our ass. Any candidate who claims to be strong on national security and doesn’t want to actively revisit efforts at de-profitizing warfare is one that is moving us closer to nuclear annihilation.

Similarly, any leader who puts the manufacture of cluster bomb parts which can only maim, and kill, thousands of people, as we saw in Lebanon in 2006, ahead of the greater good doesn’t deserve to use the White House john.

What possible value can cluster bombs have in the advancing of civilization? And, by what kind of skewed, twisted logic can anyone in government claim that no pre-emptve strike against Iran is “off the table,” justify a build-up to war in light of that country’s uranium enrichment program while, at the same time, engaging in brazen steroid use when it comes to the arms race? What does it tell you about a defense analyst that he would suggest any effort at disarmament is merely a placebo?

That 111 countries met, many of whom we consider allies, to formalize a treaty that would, in essence, neutralize our artillery power speaks volumes about our descent not merely from the moral high ground, but from honoring a generation of international efforts away from the chaos of war, and towards the survival of the planet. This treaty isn’t just about cluster bombs — it is a breathtaking indictment, and condemnation of American militarism, and war profiteering, we’ve seen in a long time.

We have a right to answers from those we elect as to who’s making the money from these cluster bomb parts, as well as other wartime manufacture, and how much of our tax dollars are going to subsidize these companies, and ensure that they meet their bottom line.

Arguably, the only difference between a drug dealer and a defense contractor is that a defense contractor gets government subsidies. While some might argue there are drug dealers, largely in our inner cities, who might be getting government subsidies, too, the point is that war is not only toxic, it’s heroin, and we must eradicate the demand before we can touch the supply. But, how can we do that when the world’s richest countries are growing richer on war?

Nobody can deny that there is some serious erosion in the moral high ground when, as some human rights groups assert, the U.S. allegedly holds detainee, and terror suspects, on prison ships out at sea. If this is how we intend to maintain “national security” by egregious human rights violations while, at the same time, allowing Osama bin Laden to text message his Al Qaeda pals in Afghanistan, then something is seriously awry.

If we can figure out that there may be life on Mars, we can find a way to have a peace-based global economy, and it has to start in our own backyard. This is a message both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama share — moving towards a green economy, and if Obama wins in November, he must be held to account for a hyperactive Defense Department every bit as much as John McCain. It is our tax dollars that stoke their fire for war.

Think about the hypocrisy of any government that boycotts negotiations to destroy cluster bombs, spitting in the face of disarmament, when you hear the tired, counterfeit argument about Ahmadinejad, and Iran’s nuclear ambitions, as we get closer to war with Iran.