by William Skink
While gun control in Missoula is chugging along, war control on the global stage remains berserker. In extending the Afghanistan war (to achieve what exactly?!) both Bernie and Hillary agree that more America warmongering is needed. Here’s the skinny from HuffPo:
WASHINGTON — Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said Sunday that he supports President Barack Obama’s decision to keep troops in Afghanistan, prolonging the war beyond 2016.
Obama announced last week that he would keep 5,500 U.S. troops in Afghanistan after he leaves office in 2017, breaking his promise to end the war during his tenure. He originally planned to maintain only a small military presence based at the U.S. embassy there.
During an interview on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday morning, host George Stephanopoulos asked Sanders, a Democratic presidential candidate, whether he backs keeping U.S. troops in the country.
“Well, yeah, I won’t give you the exact number. Clearly, we do not want to see the Taliban gain more power, and I think we need a certain nucleus of American troops present in Afghanistan to try to provide the training and support the Afghan army needs,” he said.
Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton also said Friday that she thought Obama had made “the right decision.”
Of course they do.
So where is the anti-war vote supposed to go? Considering our options it’s pretty clear: no where.
During the first Democratic debate, which I did not watch, Bernie gave Hillary some cover over the email scandal. Here’s the exchange:
“Let me say something that may not be great politics,” Sanders said. “I think that the secretary is right.”
“The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails!” Sanders said, as the audience cheered.
“Me too, me too,” Clinton said, laughing.
“Enough of the emails — let’s talk about the real issues facing America!” Sanders said.
“Thank-you, Bernie,” Clinton said.
The only thing missing from this back and forth is Hillary patting her sheepdog, Bernie, on the head for being a good boy. Bernie, declaring a sentiment he wrongly attributes to the entirety of the American people regarding Hillary’s deceitful use of a private email account, is just doing his duty.
The problem isn’t just emails and the partisan obsession over Benghazi. If one steps back for a little perspective, the problem is that Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State, presided over the utter destruction of Africa’s best hope for Democracy. If you’re surprised that one would associate Libya with the concept of “Democracy”, please read this:
Contrary to popular belief, Libya, which western media routinely described as “Gaddafi’s military dictatorship” was in actual fact one of the world’s most democratic States.
Under Gaddafi’s unique system of direct democracy, traditional institutions of government were disbanded and abolished, and power belonged to the people directly through various committees and congresses.
Far from control being in the hands of one man, Libya was highly decentralized and divided into several small communities that were essentially “mini-autonomous States” within a State. These autonomous States had control over their districts and could make a range of decisions including how to allocate oil revenue and budgetary funds. Within these mini autonomous States, the three main bodies of Libya’s democracy were Local Committees, Basic People’s Congresses and Executive Revolutionary Councils.
The Basic People’s Congress (BPC), or Mu’tamar shaʿbi asāsi was essentially Libya’s functional equivalent of the House of Commons in the United Kingdom or the House of Representatives in the United States. However, Libya’s People’s Congress was not comprised merely of elected representatives who discussed and proposed legislation on behalf of the people; rather, the Congress allowed all Libyans to directly participate in this process. Eight hundred People’s Congresses were set up across the country and all Libyans were free to attend and shape national policy and make decisions over all major issues including budgets, education, industry, and the economy.
In 2009, Mr. Gaddafi invited the New York Times to Libya to spend two weeks observing the nation’s direct democracy. The New York Times, that has traditionally been highly critical of Colonel Gaddafi’s democratic experiment, conceded that in Libya, the intention was that “everyone is involved in every decision…Tens of thousands of people take part in local committee meetings to discuss issues and vote on everything from foreign treaties to building schools.”
The fundamental difference between western democratic systems and the Libyan Jamahiriya’s direct democracy is that in Libya all citizens were allowed to voice their views directly – not in one parliament of only a few hundred wealthy politicians – but in hundreds of committees attended by tens of thousands of ordinary citizens. Far from being a military dictatorship, Libya under Mr. Gaddafi was Africa’s most prosperous democracy.
What a terrifying degree of Democracy Libya was experiencing. Thankfully Hillary helped put a stop to this by joyously celebrating the execution of Gaddafi. Here’s a bit more from that same link:
Tuesday marks the four-year anniversary of the US-backed assassination of Libya’s former leader, Muammar Gaddafi, and the decline into chaos of one of Africa’s greatest nations.
In 1967 Colonel Gaddafi inherited one of the poorest nations in Africa; by the time he was assassinated, he had transformed Libya into Africa’s richest nation. Prior to the US-led bombing campaign in 2011, Libya had the highest Human Development Index, the lowest infant mortality and the highest life expectancy in all of Africa.
Today, Libya is a failed state. Western military intervention has caused all of the worst-scenarios: Western embassies have all left, the South of the country has become a haven for ISIS terrorists, and the Northern coast a center of migrant trafficking. Egypt, Algeria and Tunisia have all closed their borders with Libya. This all occurs amidst a backdrop of widespread rape, assassinations and torture that complete the picture of a state that is failed to the bone.
All this foreign stuff is just fodder for this humble little blog. Apparently I pay attention to this shit so that others don’t have to.
To illustrate this point, I’d like to include a back and forth I had over at ID with Pete Talbot. For context, the post was a lament that the GOP was hating on Missoula:
Skink: why whine about the predictable reaction from Republicans? this is part of the cost of picking this fight at the municipal level. so go ahead and close this loophole within city limits. sure, the gun show may go elsewhere, but it’s worth it. Missoula further solidifies its “liberal” reputation, which doesn’t help when it comes to going hat-in-hand to legislator, but it’s worth it.
Talbot: Why so angry, liz?
Skink: are victims of American gun violence more important than foreign victims of American wars?
Talbot: Both are abhorrent. What a ludicrous question. Is sexual assault worse than a hate crime? Is killing the planet through man-made climate change worse than nuking it to pieces? What’s with these absurd comparisons.? Gun violence is the issue before the city right now. Next week it could be a peace rally in Caras Park. One doesn’t have to pick and choose issues, but to act on them as they arise.
Skink: criticizing America’s foreign policy of killing poor brown people in places like Yemen doesn’t help elect Democrats because Democrats are responsible for that violence. gun regulation, on the other hand, fires up the base, so it’s no wonder you focus on that and ignore the violence America uses across the globe.
Talbot: “(I) ignore the violence America uses across the globe?” I leave those weighty matters to you and your friends at Reptile Dysfunction. As I’ve mentioned before, I try to keep most of my posts focused on local and statewide matters – issues that Montanans can actually affect – with an occasional foray into international events. But to accuse me of personally ignoring global violence? How arrogant. While I’m deeply disturbed by the events in Syria, Yemen, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan … and America’s role in those tragedies, I’ll continue to write about issues closer to home. There are hundreds of sites out there already, Reptile Dysfunction included, that tackle foreign policy.
Pete won’t express his opinion on the Democrat consensus to extend the war in Afghanistan because he is a defeatist who automatically assumes Montanans can’t “actually affect” this issue. I doubt his generation had the same sentiment toward the Vietnam War, back in the day. What changed?
What changed is the mechanisms of controlling dissent. With both parties controlled and corporate media compliant, dissent is relegated to the marginalized fringes no one takes seriously.