Worse Than a Third Bush Term?

Anthony Gregory

It would have been bad enough if, as some cynics warned, nothing changed in national-security policy with Obama in charge. But even that would be better than what we’ve seen.

If in 2008 someone had said that Obama’s war policy would be more belligerent and costlier than another round of Bush’s, nearly no one would have believed it. Bush started a preventive war in Iraq, killing hundreds of thousands without any credible correlation to U.S. security, except perhaps a very negative one. He turned a hunt for bin Laden into an excuse to stumble around in Afghanistan at great cost without any clear idea of how the war and occupation were going to improve the situation there. He spent a trillion dollars, just in direct costs, and lost 4,000 American troops in these aggressive and endless wars.

Obama came along and promised to make it all better. Before he was a U.S. senator, he opposed the U.S. war in Iraq. As a presidential candidate, he vowed to exercise more restraint and wind down the U.S. presence in Iraq.

At the same time, Obama pledged to “refocus America on the greatest threat to our security—the resurgence of al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan” and to “deploy at least two additional combat brigades” to that theater of war. Some pro-peace Obama voters rationalized this one way or another, saying the Afghanistan war was less unreasonable than Iraq, or that Obama was just trying to get elected and would prove a more peaceful president overall than Bush (or McCain).

In my new Independent Institute policy report, “What Price War? Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Costs of Conflict,” I assess the numbers and come to a disturbing conclusion: The heightened conflict in Afghanistan has in a sense offset the decline of hostilities in Iraq, a decline we could have expected anyway, and in all other areas of foreign policy and national security, Obama has essentially continued and expanded Bush-era policies.

Netanyahu's War on Gaza

Stephen Lendman

Governing lawlessly by any standard, Netanyahu [has] waged war on Gaza since becoming Israel's prime minister for the second time on March 31, 2009.

Under his leadership, May 31 marked the anniversary of Israel's barbaric slaughter of nine Freedom Flotilla activists in international waters, injuring dozens more trying to deliver thousands of tons of vital aid to besieged Gazans, suffocating illegally since June 2007.

At the time, Defense Minister Ehud Barak blamed Flotilla organizers for inciting the attack, while his deputy, Danny Alalon, said they were connected to international terrorist organizations, trying to smuggle in arms. In fact, none were on board nor on other aid ships trying to breach Israel's lawless blockade.

Caught red-handed in a bald-faced lie, Haaretz writer Gideon Levy said:

"The Israeli propaganda machine has reached new highs (distributing) false information. It embarrassed itself by entering a futile public relations battle....There is nothing to explain, certainly not to a world that will never buy (its) web of explanations, lies and tactics."

Video footage on board the Mavi Marmara mother ship showed Israeli commandos opened fire during the assault, activists saying it began when they stormed on board. Al Zazeera's Jamal Elshayyal, aboard the ship, said

"a white surrender flag was raised (and) there was no live fire coming from the passengers."

What happened was clear. IDF commandos planned and executed a premeditated attack against unarmed, nonviolent activists, trying to break Israel's illegal blockade to deliver essential aid. Cold-blooded murder resulted.

Mladic extradited to the Hague

Chris Marsden & Markus Salzmann


In addition to Serbia’s reluctance to capture Mladic, there has been behind-the-scenes opposition to his arrest on the part of the United States, Britain and France.

Ratko Mladic, former chief of staff of the Bosnian Serb Army in the Republica Srpska during the 1992-95 civil war, was extradited to the Netherlands on Tuesday, where he will stand trial at the Hague for war crimes.

Mladic, 69, was arrested by Serbian security forces on May 26, under orders from the Democratic Party government of President Boris Tadic. He faces charges of genocide and crimes against humanity, levelled on July 24, 1995, by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in the Hague (ICTY). He is accused of orchestrating the massacre of 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica, as well as heading the siege of Sarajevo and other war crimes.

On May 29, a rally of several thousand was held outside the Serbian Parliament building in support of Mladic, which later erupted into rioting throughout the capital.

Two days earlier the ICTY appointed a trial chamber of three judges to hear the case. There is no reason to expect a trial to be held any time soon. Mladic had gone into hiding after the arrest of Slobodan Milosevic, the former president of Serbia and Yugoslavia, in 2001. His capture has been a precondition for Serbia being allowed to join the European Union. For years he was the formal subject of an arrest warrant, and a reward of €5 million. Serbia increased the reward to €10 million late last year.

Mladic was sought alongside Radovan Karadzic, first president of the Republica Srpska, who was arrested on July 21, 2008, and is currently in the custody of the ICTY awaiting trial. The ICTY prosecutor at the time, Carla Del Ponte, stated that Mladic had been in reach of the Serbian authorities since 1998. She warned that unless he was captured by May 1, 2006, Serbia’s entry into the EU would be in jeopardy.

Public Banking: An Idea Whose Time Has Come

Stephen Lendman

The 1913 Federal Reserve Act let powerful bankers usurp America's money system in violation of the Constitution's Article I, Section 8, giving only Congress the power to

ney [and] regulate the Value thereof...."

Thereafter, powerful bankers victimized working Americans, using money, credit and debt for private self-enrichment by bankrolling and colluding with Congress and administrations to implement laws favoring them.

As a result, decades of deregulation, outsourcing, economic financialization, and casino capitalism followed, eroding purchasing power, producing asset bubbles, record budget and national debt levels, and depression-sized unemployment far higher than reported numbers, manipulated to look better.

After financial crisis erupted in late 2007, harder than ever Main Street hard times followed, getting worse, not better. As a result, high levels of personal and business bankruptcies resulted. Millions of homes have been lost. Record numbers of Americans are impoverished. An unprecedented wealth gap grows steadily. America's unstable economy lurches from one crisis to another, the current one miring Main Street in depression, still in its early stages.

Recovery is pure illusion. Today's contagion spread out-of-control globally. No one's sure how to contain it, so Wall Street got trillions of dollars in a desperate attempt to socialize losses, privatize profits, and pump life back into a corpse through grand theft by sucking public wealth to the financial sector, other corporate favorites, and America's aristocracy already with too much.

Speculation and debt need more of it to prosper, but ultimately it's a losing game. The greater the expansion, the harder it falls, especially when credit contraction persists. Job creation is moribund. Industrial America keeps imploding. High-paying jobs are exported. Economic prospects are eroding. Workers are exploited for greater corporate profits, and no one's sure how to revive stable, sustainable long-term growth.

Privatized money control is the problem, representing democracy's greatest threat. Regaining public control can restore it. The time for launching public banking across America is now when more than ever it's needed.

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