Tag Archives: War
Renowned scholar Akbar Ahmed discusses his new book The Thistle and the Drone: How America’s War on Terror Became a Global War on Tribal Islam and elaborates on the devastating consequences of the U.S.’s drone bombing campaign in the tribal areas of Pakistan.
Tags: Akbar Ahmed, Barack Obama, Children, Civilians, Death count, Documentary, Drone War, Pakistan, Pashtuns, Short documentary, The Thistle and the Drone: How America's War on Terror Became a Global War on Tribal Islam, Tribal areas of Pakistan, Tribal societies, War, War on Terror, Waziristan, wrong enemy, wrong methods, Wrong war
Fox News posts this picture:
In response, I post this picture:
Thanks to Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign for organizing this demonstration.
Tags: Activism, Conflict, Demonstration, Dublin, Gaza, Gaza Strip, Ireland, Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Israel, News, Operation Pillar of Defense, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Politics, Protest, Video, War
I’ve watched the news. I’ve read all kinds of news sources. I’m disgusted, upset, and frustrated. I can’t even stomach the hate and ignorance I see in people. It’s not easy to bite my tongue, but I do it anyways. On several occasions, I’ve written entire posts on how I feel about the situation, but every time I finish a piece of writing, I cut it because I feel that my words aren’t able to bring justice to my feelings. My current state is best summarized through the words of another.
‘If you are neutral in situations of injustice you have chosen the side of the oppressor’ – Desmond Tutu
Important passage from Glenn Greenwald’s article on the real reason why the U.S. fears a nuclear Iran:
No rational person takes seriously the claim that Iran, even if it did obtain a nuclear weapon, would commit instant and guaranteed national suicide by using it to attack a nation that has a huge nuclear stockpile, which happens to include both the US and Israel. One can locate nothing in the actions of Iran’s regime that even suggests irrationality on that level, let alone suicidal impulses.
That Iran will use its nuclear weapons against the US and Israel is rather obviously the centerpiece of the fear-mongering campaign against Tehran, to build popular support for threats to launch an aggressive attack in order to prevent them from acquiring that weapon. So what, then, is the real reason that so many people in both the US and Israeli governments are so desperate to stop Iranian proliferation?
Every now and then, they reveal the real reason: Iranian nuclear weapons would prevent the US from attacking Iran at will, and that is what is intolerable. The latest person to unwittingly reveal the real reason for viewing an Iranian nuclear capacity as unacceptable was GOP Senator Lindsey Graham, one of the US’s most reliable and bloodthirsty warmongers.
It was 2009 and I was shocked at what I was reading: Obama was actually increasing strikes in a highly controversial, if not downright illegal drone bombing campaign in Pakistan that began under the Bush administration.
When Obama started rocking-and-rolling in his foreign policy adventures, the press gave his global drone bombing campaign hardly any attention, but I was following it closely (especially in Pakistan). Reports noted how Pakistani women and children were killed in the dozens. Villages that had no links to the ‘bad guys’ were decimated. Anti-American sentiments inevitably ran rampant. Potential allies were turning into real enemies. Many Pakistanis started seeing Americans as the real terrorists, war criminals, and cowards for not fighting on the ground like true warriors. The latter point is particular important in the tribal areas of Pakistan, where the notions of shame and honour are utmost in society. In essence, Obama’s drone bombing campaign wasn’t helping any group, Americans or Pakistanis.
I was so frustrated with Obama’s approach to Pakistan that I started to publish articles regularly on the drone bombing campaign. Most of these articles were published under World Can’t Wait, a ‘radical’ left-wing activist organization in the U.S, before the press really started to cover the drone bombing campaign. Much of what I was saying then is coming to fruition now.
A newly released study, Living Under Drones, written by human rights researchers from Stanford and New York Universities, details hundreds of Pakistani civilian casualties and the devastating effects of drone strikes on the local population (Source: Common Ground News Service). The study states: ‘In the United States, the dominant narrative about the use of drones in Pakistan is of a surgically precise and effective tool that makes the US safer by enabling “targeted killings” of terrorists, with minimal downsides or collateral impacts. This narrative is false’. Instead, ‘the study concludes that the CIA drone program in Pakistan has not made America any safer and instead has turned the Pakistani public against the United States. Indeed, 80% of Pakistanis have a negative opinion of the United States and three-in-four Pakistanis consider the United States their enemy’ (ibid).
And what I found most shocking about Obama is how he’s even deploying drones to spy over Americans on U.S. soil. I’m also concerned that the increasing frequency in which drone strikes are reported could result in the numbing of the American public, that is, the more Americans read about them, the more they become numb and apathetic to them. It’s also worth nothing that the U.S. government is proliferating drone warfare by selling drone technology to countries like Italy.
If you would like to read my previous articles on Obama’s drone bombing campaign, click here and find the articles for World Can’t Wait. Please share them in order to increase awareness of the dangers of Obama’s drone bombing campaign.
September 7, 2012 Politics: The deficit as another example of the ‘alternative universe’ of the Republican Party
Here’s a brilliant idea… let’s go to war in Iraq and Afghanistan even though we don’t have the money to pay for it. We can just put the tab on our credit cards. $3,000,000,000,000 isn’t that much money anyways. No worries. Here’s another good idea. While we’re at war, let’s give tax breaks to the wealthiest people in the country. And while we’re at that, let’s now vote into office the people who actually voted for these things. After all, they want to slash the stuff that doesn’t matter anyways. You know, like social security, Medicare, education, etc. You know… the unimportant stuff.
Dear my Israeli donor friends,
I have some ideas. Don’t tell ANYONE what I’m about to propose.
Donate $10 million to my campaign and the US will strike Iranian nuclear sites with missiles by February 2013. Of course that’s if I’m elected President.
Donate $40 million to my campaign and the US will invade Iran with boots on the ground by February 2013. Of course that’s if I’m elected President.
Donate $70 million to my campaign and the US will nuke Iran by February 2013. Of course that’s if I’m elected President
So what will it be, gentlemen?
Tags: Barack Obama, Benjamin Netanyahu, Campaign, Closed Doors, Election, Invasion, Iran, Israel, Israeli donors, Jerusalem, Jewish donors, Middle East, Mitt Romney, Neoconservative, Nuclear weapons, Politics, Republicans, Romney, United States, War
Professor Akbar Ahmed speaks about the difficult quandary in present day Pakistan, especially in the Tribal Areas. Be on the lookout for his forthcoming book The Thistle and the Drone (to be published by Brookings Institution Press in the spring of 2013).
‘These are the Pashtun Tribes… The Afghans have never been defeated in history — they will destroy themselves. You blow up their villages, destroy their families, but they are very much like the Americans — they believe in independence and freedom… Lord Curzon, the Viceroy of India, once said, ‘Waziristan is beyond control. What they need is the steamroller — a steamroller to go from one end to the other end to completely crush them. But I will not be the steamroller’. – Akbar Ahmed
The Twittersphere is overflowing with Tweeters that have dedicated what seems like their entire existence to ragging on Muslims in the U.S. I want to hear what the jingoists think about a Muslim scholar who walks through Arlington National Cemetery with an American Colonel as they pay respect to fallen Muslim Americans.
WE SHOULD THEREFORE…
Declare war on Heart Disease
Attack McDonald’s and then all fast food chains
Declare war on Cancer
Attack Marlboro and then all cigarette companies
Declare war on Air Safety
Declare war on Automobiles
Attack Ford, Mercedes, and Honda so to make sure we are fighting around the world
Declare war on Falling
Attack our parents for teaching us how to walk (balance ourselves)
Declare war on Drowning
Attack companies that make floaties and boats
Declare war on Vomitting
Attack alcohol companies
Declare war on Police
Attack their stations, obviously
Declare war on Power
Attack lamps, energy sockets, radios near showers
Declare war on Mother Nature
Attack wherever she is located
Tags: Air safety, Cancer, Danger, Drowning, Falling, Heart disease, History, Honda, Marlboro, McDonald, Mother Nature, Terrorism, Threat, Twentieth Century, Vomitting, War, war declaration, Wars and Conflicts
I have actually never voted in an American election, whether it be local, state, or national. I am not even registered to vote, but this is not stopping me from commenting on the state of American democracy and the 2012 elections.
Democrats and Republicans: Two ‘different’ parties with essentially the same fundamental principles and entities – corporate America, Wall Street, and the Military Industrial Complex – which make them tick. It does not take a rocket scientist to see that these parties have driven the US into the ground. I have thought for some time that American politics needs a jolt of new blood. Americans could use a third-party.
So why not vote for the Green Party in the 2012 elections? The Green Party is not dependent on donations from corporations, nor are they seeking to expand the wars around the world which are bogging the US. The Green Party candidate for President, Jill Stein, says the American people deserve ‘real public servants who listen to the people – not to the corporate lobbyists that funnel campaign checks into the big war chests’.
President Obama or Governor Romney have never said anything that is this refreshing.
If Americans are to experience real change – the change they seek and desperately need – they have to do the unthinkable and vote for a party with an entirely different platform.
To see a brighter day, you should choose a new captain and avoid the people who drove you into the storm.
The population in some of the world’s most destructive and fragile areas are overwhelmingly young. Some of these areas – Kashmir and the Palestinian occupied territories as two examples – have religious conflict ingrained in their history and everyday life psyche. Here are a few figures for you to think about:
1. 75% of India’s one billion plus are not yet 25.
2. 85% of the people who live in the Palestinian occupied territories are under 35.
3. 66% of the people of Iran are under the age of 33.
4. 19.5 is the current median age in Iraq.
It’s frightening to think that inter-faith relations could get worse in a place like the Gaza Strip. But how will the Palestinian youth perceive Israelis in the future? What will they teach their children about Israel? I suggest reading the book below for some key recommendations on how to prepare the youth for a peaceful and prosperous future in places of religious conflict.
Source: Patel, Eboo. Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation. Beacon Press: Boston, 2007.
Tags: Conflict, Demographics, Gaza Strip, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Kashmir, Occupied territory, Palestinian occupied territories, Palestinian territories, Politics, Population, Religion, War, West Bank, Young, Youth
America has been at war for decades. Its aircraft and warships are aging rapidly. Equally threatening, Congress may force deep military spending cuts as deficits worsen – at a time when the US military is being ordered to keep China bottled up on the Asian mainland.
China need only build its military power close to home. The United States must project and maintain its naval and air power 10,000 km across the Pacific Ocean, a hugely expensive, complex undertaking that gives cash-rich China an important, even decisive advantage.
My intellectual/spiritual/academic mentor, Professor Akbar Ahmed, has done it again. And it’s sheer brilliance!
Brookings Institution Press has just released an e-mail highlighting their forthcoming Fall publications. Showcased in this e-mail is Professor Ahmed’s latest book ‘The Thistle and the Drone: How America’s War on Terror Became a Global War on Tribal Islam’:
The United States declared war on terrorism in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. More than ten years later, the results are decidedly mixed. In The Thistle and the Drone, world-renowned author, diplomat, and scholar Akbar Ahmed reveals a tremendously important yet largely unrecognized adverse effect of these campaigns: they actually have exacerbated the already-broken relationship between central governments and the tribal societies on their periphery. Ideas of a clash of civilizations, “security,” and “terrorism” have dominated the last decade, upsetting the balance between central governments and their periphery in much of the world. Ahmed draws on sixty current case studies for this unprecedented analysis, beginning with Waziristan in Pakistan and expanding to similar societies in Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, and elsewhere to offer an alternative paradigm. The United States is directly or indirectly involved with many of these societies. Al Qaeda has been decimated, but the world is drifting into a global war where the focus has shifted to these peripheral societies. Old ethnic and tribal tensions have been revived. No one is immune to the violence—neither school children nor congregations in their houses of worship. People on the periphery say, “Every day is 9/11 for us.” The thistle of the title evokes Hadji Murad, Tolstoy’s classic novel about the struggle between the Imperial Russian army and the independent Muslim states in the Caucasus. The local tribesman with his courage, pride, and sense of egalitarianism is the prickly thistle; the drone reference, as the most advanced kill technology of globalization, is painfully clear. Together these two powerful metaphors paint a bleak landscape of confusion, uncertainty, violence, and loss. The book provides concrete ways to minimize conflict and still win the war on terror
Professor Ahmed is having an event for this book in Cambridge (UK) at some point next year. Luckily for me, I’m currently researching at Trinity College Dublin (a sister school of Oxbridge), and so I will certainly make an appearance at this event as it’s only a short flight away.
Tags: 9/11, Akbar Ahmed, Al Qaeda, Clash of Civilizations, Drones, Ethnicity, Hadji Murad, Islam, Middle East, Muslims, Pakistan, Politics, Religion, Security, Terrorism, The Thistle and the Drone, Tribal Islam, United States, Violence, War, War on Terror, Waziristan
According to the BBC, a US drone strike has killed at least eight people in a volatile tribal area of north-west Pakistan. This is the second strike in the area in 24 hours. At least four suspected militants were killed on Wednesday.
US drone strikes in Pakistan are highly controversial. Are they legal? What about the loss of civilian life? Do they really target the ‘bad guys’? Are they useful? These are just some questions surrounding them.
In March 2010, I wrote an article for the far-left organization World Can’t Wait. I think it’s still relevant considering contemporary happenings. Here is a quick excerpt (also the full article below).
Why does it seem these days that every bomb dropped and every missile strike kills ’suspected militants’? It is either a great coincidence that the targets are real militants or governments, like the US and Pakistan, are applying the label to try to cover up killing innocent civilians.