Beware of “Comprehensive and New Strategies” for War: It’s Pro-War!

Why are you speaking about the war, Dr. King? Why are you joining the voices of dissent?’ ‘Peace and civil rights don’t mix,’ they say.”  Martin Luther King, Jr.

We engaged strategies for war.  In the kitchen, at tables, and before that—in the fields under a hot sun, and in the Clearings on Sundays, were developed strategies of war.  Sure, between these spaces was the church and meeting hall.  We developed a vision of freedom and a definition based on that vision of freedom. But we contributed to this nation, strategies for constraining scenarios that pinned us down to slavery, exploitation, and injustice.

Now, we find ourselves without a clear vision or definition of freedom. We are scattered at the same time we are pinned down by other theories and strategies, other definitions of freedom that have little to do with the continuation of the journey we once began.
Some of us, committed to aborting our original journey, have traveled the fast-track to “leadership.”

Far from the Clearing, the church, and the kitchen table, at the Summit, they sit at the big table, and strategize a means to abort all original journeys. For the only journey that matters is their journey.

On behalf of the United States, President Barack Obama announced to the world the nation’s intentions to continue—escalate—the war in Afghanistan, a war initiated by Bush II.

We had strategies to engage a different kind of war, with a different kind of weaponry.

Today, we are told that our “enemies,” with barely a pot to piss in, will face a barrage of artillery, high-tech gadgets, tanks, and troops to secure freedom and democracy—for us—for you in New Orleans or you in Detroit.

The Senate approved a $91.3 billion measure and the House of Representatives a $96.7 billion measure to fund wars in Afghanistan and Iraq through September 30, boosting the total for war above $900 billion, according to the Washington Post.  Ninety-one billion plus for war has to be spent there for you here in the U.S. That is, between here and September, $91.3-96.7 billion will keep you without single-payer health care, decent housing and employment—but free!

Twenty-one thousand additional troops to Afghanistan will raise the total to 68,000.  And the spending of these billions must be accompanied with killing folks over there.  So the House measure includes $3.1 billion to purchase 8 Boeing C-17s and 11 Lockheed Martin C-130 transportation planes, writes the Washington Post.

Congress is waggling over whether or not the IMF, which has proven to be such a great financial institution for African and Latin American countries just as FEMA has been so good to Black, poor, and working class victims of Katrina, should receive $108 billion to assist these war-torn countries!!

In March of this year, we heard this message from the White House:
Good morning. Today, I am announcing a comprehensive, new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan…
This marks the conclusion of a careful policy review that I ordered as soon as I took office. My Administration has heard from our military commanders and diplomats. We have consulted with the Afghan and Pakistani governments; with our partners and NATO allies; and with other donors and international organizations… The situation is increasingly perilous… al Qaeda and its allies – the terrorists who planned and supported the 9/11 attacks – are in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Multiple intelligence estimates have warned that al Qaeda is actively planning attacks on the U.S. homeland from its safe-haven in Pakistan. And if the Afghan government falls to the Taliban – or allows al Qaeda to go unchallenged – that country will again be a base for terrorists who want to kill as many of our people as they possibly can…

As President, my greatest responsibility is to protect the American people. We are not in Afghanistan to control that country or to dictate its future. We are in Afghanistan to confront a common enemy that threatens the United States, our friends and allies, and the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan who have suffered the most at the hands of violent extremists.
So I want the American people to understand that we have a clear and focused goal: to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and to prevent their return to either country in the future. That is the goal that must be achieved. That is a cause that could not be more just. And to the terrorists who oppose us, my message is the same: we will defeat you.

The goal is to pursue a just cause—a war on terrorists!  No. It was not Bush II speaking!

Nonetheless, the conservatives, the Right, the so-call “other side,” the “pro-war” side representative Cheney says this effort is no enough. Obama is still endangering the lives of the American people by closing Guantanamo (Gitmo).
Cheney, whose love for the darkness made him barely visible the last 8 years, even sending his spokesperson, Bush II, to New Orleans after Black bodies floated for days in flood waters, Cheney assured the American public last week that Obama can’t criminalize the policies of his predecessor. Obama must be firm, an order a halt to any investigation of the previous administration.
Move forward, Obama, with the war, with the incarceration of all enemies, near and far—and leave the past out of it!

What happened?  Congress blocked funds to close Gitmo!

But Obama blocked the release of several thousand photos of torture at these prison sites!

Symmetry! This is just a game of “politics.”

May 4, 2009, while Congress debated the war funding measure, Afghanis experienced the worst bombardment “in terms of civilian death since the American intervention began in 2001,” reports the New York Times.  Twenty-three civilians were killed. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton regrets the loss of life. The U.S. will investigate!

War means the loss of civilian life. It means dead people, including children—more than 2000 last year alone!

Who will break their necks investigating this crime—just slightly in the past now, but under Obama’s watch? Or will this “investigation” mean more waste of money, ending as most investigations of this kind do when the wronged is Black, Brown and now Muslim here in the U.S.?

In the past, according to McClatchy News Service, “anti-war lawmakers lacked votes they needed to impose restrictions” on Bush II’s war in Iraq. “Now, the president is a Democrat, and the Democrats have a 79-seat majority in the House of Representatives and 59 Senate seats.” This represents the “biggest margin since the early 1990s.” But strategies and vision of anti-war voices are not heard! They are shut out of those meetings at the Summit.

Democrats now are indistinguishable for Republicans; they owe their careers to financial and defense corporations. AIG and Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Citigroup threw hundreds of thousands to Obama’s campaign too. Black Democrats have steadily increased the number of corporate dollars to their coffers. There’s equal opportunity at the Summit.

Beware of comprehensive and new strategies for war; they are almost always more deadlier than the previous war, but certainly all the more profitable for Lockheed Martin, KBR, Chevron, Exxon-Mobil, General Dynamics, and Halliburton and countless others of their friends. Beware of rhetoric soliciting your collaboration in a journey that is not your journey.

Frederick Douglass’s call for an end to slavery and W.E.B. Du Bois’s denouncing of brutality of colonialism were strategies of engagement against anti-human wars. When Ida B. Wells, Malcolm, and Martin L. King, Jr. pointed to the legislation of injustice, we were strategizing ways to combat wars of repression. Mohammad Ali said no Viet Cong ever called us nigger and we offered a strategy and a vision of freedom!

We didn’t talk about “common” enemies that threaten the U.S. nor did we call other people terrorists.

We have been an anti-war people, strategizing freedom—not killing babies and calling this violence a just cause!

Dr. Lenore Daniels

Dr. Daniels holds a PhD in Modern American Literature, with a specialty in Cultural Theory (race, gender, class narratives) from Loyola University, Chicago. Her publications include scholarly articles for The Canadian Women’s Studies Journal, The Griot, and Americana. She has served as a writer for several community newsletters and co-editor for Chicago Alliance for Neighbourhood Safety Newsletter. Currently, she writes a commentary for The Journal, Platteville, Wisconsin and the Black Commentator.

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