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Engaging Interviews, Insightful Commentary from Electric Politics

January 10, 2009
Electric Politics Podcast Schedule Resumes January 16

Well, I enjoyed having two weeks off, but I’m glad to get back to podcasting.
So here’s the starting lineup for the new season. Friday, January 16, my guest
is Martin Fletcher of The Times of London (not to be confused with
Martin Fletcher of NBC news). Martin is a roving reporter without portfolio
and previously the Times‘ foreign editor, their Washington Bureau Chief,
and a foreign correspondent. He talks to me from Israel. The Friday following,
January 23, my guest is Dr. James Petras, who’s got a lot to say about Zionism
in America. After that, I’m not sure — a couple interviews are pending,
on arms control and on the economy. So we’ll see… And as I say, I’m glad to
be back!

January 16, 2009
Barbarism in Gaza (and Zimbabwe)

Come To Palestine antique posterOne wonders whether, if it weren’t for the
excessive delay between election and inauguration, Israel would still have attacked
Gaza. In any case, Israel’s assault being less a war than a hunt for naked prey,
it’s difficult, particularly here in the U.S., to get a feeling for what’s happening.
So I was fortunate in being able to turn to Martin Walker of The Times,
who spoke to me from Jerusalem. We also talk about Zimbabwe, where Martin has
spent much of the past year. And Somalia. I highly value Martin’s insights and
experience and I’m grateful for his making himself available. Hopefully we can
talk again.…

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Barack Obama calls halt to Guantánamo trials

January 21, 2009
by Philippe Naughton
TimesOnline

Barack Obama has wasted no time in getting down to the business of government,
asking prosecutors to halt controversial military trials at Guantánamo Bay within
hours of his inauguration.

The request was issued via the Department of Defence even as President Obama
and his wife Michelle waltzed their way through a series of glitzy inaugural
balls.

Mr Obama pledged during his campaign to close the prison camp on Cuba set up
in 2001 to hold detainees from the ‘War on Terror’. The camp’s legality has
always been questioned, and former inmates and human rights experts said the
harsh interrogation techniques deployed inside it amounted to torture.

Last night’s request was for a 120-day stay in the trials of five alleged 9/11
plotters – including the self-proclaimed ‘mastermind’ behind America’s worst
terror attack – and of a Canadian accused of killing a US soldier in Afghanistan.
Mr Obama had been expected to issue an executive order as early as today for
the full closure of the camp, but accepts that it might take months to rehouse
some 250 inmates still held there.

Clive Stafford Smith, the British human rights lawyer who has represented Guantánamo
Bay suspects, welcomed the announcement and said that he thought Mr Obama could
close the camp within his first 100 days in office.

“It’s great isn’t it? It isn’t much like the original
executive order that President Bush issued,” he said. “There is
no doubt it will stop the practices… Continue reading

Obama and 9/11

by Michael Hasty Sunday
RadicalPantheist.blogspot.com

Although I was as happy as most Americans that Barack Obama took the oath of office last week, rather than his Republican alternative, there is a major reason that he did not get my vote in November, which went instead to Cynthia McKinney: Obama is unlikely to re-open an investigation into what really happened on September 11, 2001–an investigation that needs to happen.

According to polls, about four in ten Americans are suspicious that the Bush administration was complicit in the 9/11 attacks–either by deliberately ignoring intelligence that warned an attack was coming and allowing the terrorists to strike, to gain public support for the neoconservative foreign policy agenda of increasing American military power in the Middle East; or by actively coordinating the attacks themselves, for the same reason. As Time magazine, in a rare acknowledgement of the 9/11 truth movement, said: “This is not a fringe phenomenon. It is a mainstream political reality.”

It’s easy to understand, however, why a majority of Americans have such a hard time getting their minds around the idea that their government may have some involvement in such a horrendous crime. Americans are conditioned from an early age to think of themselves as “the good guys,” living in a “democracy”–which, however imperfect, has always been primarily motivated by the desire to advance the core national principle of “freedom,” both at home and abroad. And the actions of the government are closely monitored by a diligent “free press.”

It’s a… Continue reading

Obama and 9/11 2

Imagine yourself within the mind of Barack Obama, the first African American president of the United States of America. You are a man who knows how “the system” works.

Editor’s Note:
Part 1 of this blog entry was posted 1/28 here.

This knowledge has been accrued at hard struggle, and by a remarkable and unique ability to adapt to any environment because you spent a lifetime as an exotic specimen in every environment, from Kansas to Kenya–both African and American, Muslim and Christian, black and white. But you always displayed your native nobility–tribal nobility on your father’s side; nobility of spirit on your mother’s–and you were, with rare exceptions, accepted on your own terms. You were born under the sign of Leo, the lion, the natural leader; and your intelligence was honed with great discipline, under the influence of strong women.

Because your upbringing instilled in you a generosity of spirit that is natural to liberalism, and firsthand understanding from your grandfather of what motivates a man to risk his life for his country and an African father’s sense of freedom, unencumbered by Jim Crow oppression, you are a natural idealist who believes in the promise of America.

But you are also–with laser-focused intensity–a realist. A “pragmatist,” as they say. And no one knows better than you how much danger you are in.

It’s not just the racist crazies, one of whom could always, unexpectedly pop up through some weird quirk in the security system. But that’s only a… Continue reading

6th Anniversary March on the Pentagon

From Iraq to Afghanistan to Palestine, Occupation is a Crime
Jobs & Education – Not Wars & Occupation

Saturday, March 21, 2009 – Gather at 12 noon at 23rd St. & Constitution Ave. NW in Washington, D.C.!

MarchonPentagon

Various coalitions, organizations, and networks are joining together in a March
21 National Coalition to bring people from all walks of life and from all cities
across the United States to take part in a March on the Pentagon on the sixth
anniversary of the Iraq war: Saturday, March 21.

More than 1,000 organizations and individuals have now endorsed the March 21,
2009, March on the Pentagon to say “Bring the Troops Home NOW!”
on the sixth anniversary of the criminal invasion of Iraq.

The thousands who march will demand “From Iraq to Afghanistan to Palestine,
Occupation is a Crime” and “We Need Jobs and Education, Not Wars
and Occupation.” They will insist on an end to the war threats and economic
sanctions against Iran. They will say no to the illegal U.S. program of detention
and torture.

Members of the March 21 National Coalition and supporters of the March on the
Pentagon include:
– ANSWER Coalition (http://www.answercoalition.org/)
– Muslim American Society Freedom
– National Council of Arab Americans
– National Assembly to End the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and Occupations (http://www.natassembly.org/)
– Veterans For Peace-National
– United States Labor Against the War (USLAW)
– Ramsey Clark
– Cindy Sheehan
– The World Can’t Wait
– Code Pink
– Middle East Children’s Alliance… Continue reading

The War on Terror is a Hoax

Originally published at Information Clearinghouse By Paul Craig Roberts on February 04, 2009

According to US government propaganda, terrorist cells are spread throughout America, making it necessary for the government to spy on all Americans and violate most other constitutional protections. Among President Bush’s last words as he left office was the warning that America would soon be struck again by Muslim terrorists.

If America were infected with terrorists, we would not need the government to tell us. We would know it from events. As there are no events, the US government substitutes warnings in order to keep alive the fear that causes the public to accept pointless wars, the infringement of civil liberty, national ID cards, and inconveniences and harrassments when they fly.

The most obvious indication that there are no terrorist cells is that not a single neocon has been assassinated.

I do not approve of assassinations, and am ashamed of my country’s government for engaging in political assassination. The US and Israel have set a very bad example for al Qaeda to follow.

The US deals with al Qaeda and Taliban by assassinating their leaders, and Israel deals with Hamas by assassinating its leaders. It is reasonable to assume that al Qaeda would deal with the instigators and leaders of America’s wars in the Middle East in the same way.

Today every al Qaeda member is aware of the complicity of neoconservatives in the death and devastation inflicted on Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Gaza. Moreover,… Continue reading

Counter-Terrorism Expert Slams War on Terror, Questions 9/11

George Washington’s Blog

Terrell (Terry) E. Arnold was the number 2 counter-terrorism official at the U.S. State Department, and is one of the world’s leading experts on terror.

Arnold served as the Deputy Director, Office of Counter-Terrorism and Emergency Planning, at the U.S. State Department. He is also the former Chairman of the Department of International Studies at the National War College.

Arnold has worked as a crisis management consultant for several Federal agencies, including The State Department, the Department of Defense, the U.S. Customs Service and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. He is the author of numerous books on terror*. Arnold is a U.S. Navy veteran of World War II and the Korean war.

I spoke with Arnold by phone.

GW: Your essay It is Vital to Move Beyond 9/11 is insightful and hard-hitting, and I agree with virtually everything you say. I have previously written on many of the topics you touch on, such as false pretenses for war , torture and illegal spying .

Initially, you write:

“As an alleged post 9/11 defense, the War on Terrorism is a gigantic fraud.”

I agree with you completely, and have written several essays arguing that the War on Terror is a hoax (see this , this and this ).

As a leading counter-terrorism expert, I am curious to hear why you believe this.

Terry Arnold: The military approach doesn’t cover all of the elements of the problem. We need to capture and confine the individuals who are up to… Continue reading

Religious Leaders for 911 Truth Formed

Introductory text at Religious Leaders for 911 Truth:

The religions of the world share universal values of love, truth, and justice,
and believe in helping those who are oppressed or otherwise in need. Many religious
persons try to engage in activities to make the world a better place, and they
trust in a Higher Power to assist them.

When faced with actions that conflict with the universal moral principle that
we should not do to others what we would not want done to ourselves or our loved
ones, members of faith communities have a responsibility to voice their opposition
to those actions. Many religious leaders throughout history have publicly challenged
morally unacceptable practices—recently, for example, in the civil rights
and anti-apartheid movements.

A significant moral challenge has emerged due to glaring discrepancies between
the official version of the events of September 11, 2001, and the results of
extensive independent research by individuals with relevant scientific or professional
expertise.

“Independent” here means independent from the U.S. administration
that was in power at the time of the 9/11 attacks. The official reports about
9/11 were not independent in this sense. The 9/11 Commission was run by its
executive director, Philip Zelikow, who was closely associated with the Bush
administration. The official reports on the World Trade Center were produced
by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which, as an agency of
the U.S. Commerce Department, was run by people employed by the Bush administration.

The independent research, which has led… Continue reading

Obama: Reopen the 9/11 Investigation

by Melissa Rossi
Author, What Every American Should Know about the Middle East (Plume/Penguin,
Jan. 2009)
February 10, 2009
HuffingtonPost.com

Patrick Leahy has a point when he urges President Obama to open investigations about the Bush administration. However, he’s not pointing at the issue that we need to start with. Namely, September 11th. What really happened? More than a few people know – and I am not alone in calling for those who know to start talking and fess up. Let’s not let this go the way of the JFK assassination – and whether with subpoenas or on their own volition, I demand that Dick Cheney, George W. Bush – both of whom refused to testify under oath during the 9/11 Commission proceedings — Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Karl Rove, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Armitage, Larry Wilkerson, George Tenet, Robert Mueller and the rest – as well as Bill Clinton and Al Gore (both of whom also refused to testify under oath) — start talking, and in a public arena. And I’m calling on the Obama administration to open up a probe and unravel the web of deceit.

Before we tuck the Bush administration into bed and hiss, “Nighty Night, you lying scoundrels,” before we go on to lock the door on that heinous era of American history, we do indeed need to probe what happened under their watch. But the event that most concerns me is what happened on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. Oh yeah, that’s history, old news, the 9/11 Commission figured it all out, right?…

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Revealed: Pentagon’s secret prisons, legal loopholes and CIA ‘ghost’ detainees

by Stephen C. Webster
February 12, 2009
RawStory.com detainee gitmo PS10 wide horizontal

Three major human rights organizations have declared the Department of Defense was running secret prisons at Bagram and in Iraq, actively sought ways around the terms of the Geneva conventions and cooperated with the CIA’s “ghost detention” program which saw prisoners hidden from Red Cross oversight.

The arrival of the documents comes on the same day the ACLU published two unredacted pages of a government report which reveals detainees in US custody were tortured to death.

“These newly released documents confirm our suspicion that the tentacles of the CIA’s abusive program reached across agency lines,” said Margaret Satterthwaite, Director of the NYU International Human Rights Clinic, in a Thursday advisory. “In fact, it is increasingly obvious that defense officials engaged in legal gymnastics to find ways to cooperate with the CIA’s activities. A full accounting of all agencies must now take place to ensure that future abuses don’t continue under a different guise.”

The papers, part of a volley of responses to Freedom of Information Act requests, were released by Amnesty International USA, the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice.

The entire package, which encompasses hundreds of pages, was boiled down to several key points by the CCR in a report by Mother Jones writer Steve Aquino.

“One heavily redacted page mentions (PDF, page 34) an ‘undisclosed detention facility’ at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan,” he noted.

“Another, dated May 2004,… Continue reading

Beverly Eckert

by Nicholas Levis

Today brings the sad news that Beverly Eckert died in the crash of Flight 3407 on her way to Buffalo for a weekend celebration of what would have been her late husband Sean Rooney’s 58th birthday. She had planned to take part in a presentation at Canisius High School of a scholarship award that she established in Sean Rooney’s honor. Among the family members surviving her was her sister, Sue Borque, who told the Buffalo News that while the family had not yet received official confirmation of her sister’s fate, the reality was settling in. “We know she was on that plane,” Bourque said, “and now she’s with [Sean].” Her husband of 34 years, Sean Rooney had been killed in the South Tower of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11th, 2001.

http://www.buffalonews.com/home/story/578061.html

Beverly Eckert devoted her life to serving others. I met this strong-willed and sensitive woman on a single occasion, in March 2004 when she welcomed me to her home in Connecticut for a few hours to conduct an interview about her advocacy work following September 11th. An insurance manager by profession, Eckert told the story of how she responded to the loss of her husband and the horror of the events. Hers was a beautiful and powerful voice and she speaks best on her own behalf:

“I guess I wish I wasn’t here, because it was such a different life before September 11th. I never envisioned myself speaking to the public having to say… Continue reading

Poll: Most want inquiry into anti-terror tactics

By Jill Lawrence
February 16, 2009
USA Today

WASHINGTON – Even as Americans struggle with two wars and an economy in
tatters, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds majorities in favor of investigating
some of the thorniest unfinished business from the Bush administration: Whether
its tactics in the “war on terror” broke the law.

USATodaypollClose
to two-thirds of those surveyed said there should be investigations into allegations
that the Bush team used torture to interrogate terrorism suspects and its program
of wiretapping U.S. citizens without getting warrants. Almost four in 10 favor
criminal investigations and about a quarter want investigations without criminal
charges. One-third said they want nothing to be done.

CALLS TO MOVE ON: Even reversed, Bush policies divide

Even more people want action on alleged attempts by the Bush team to use the
Justice Department for political purposes. Four in 10 favored a criminal probe,
three in 10 an independent panel, and 25% neither.

The ACLU and other groups are pressing for inquiries into whether the Bush
administration violated U.S. and international bans on torture and the constitutional
right to privacy. House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers and his Senate counterpart,
Patrick Leahy, have proposed commissions to investigate.

Asked Monday about Leahy’s plan, President Obama said he would look at it.
He added, “my general orientation is to say, let’s get it right moving
forward.” Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have declined to rule
out prosecutions. Leon Panetta, named to head the CIA, said this month that
CIA officers… Continue reading

Cryptic handouts circulate Kennard

KennardDD

THIS
IMAGE OF FORMER VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY AND FORMER PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH
appeared on the bills distributed in Kennard.

Page A-1:

February 17, 2009
The CourierTimes.com
By Matt Hrodey

KENNARD – James Dudley found something he didn’t expect when he walked out
to get his Monday edition of The Courier-Times.

Sitting on top of his paper was a fake, oversized bill bearing the faces of
former Vice-President Dick Cheney and former President George W. Bush. Instead
of a dollar amount, the bill was marked "9-11."

The realistic feel and color of the note impressed Dudley, who said it felt
like a new bill freshly released from an ATM. It bore words at the top reading
"Fraudulent Event Note," ones at the bottom saying "One Deception"
and several Web site addresses.

Page A-2:

FLIERS:
Cause stir in Kennard

Charles Millis, another recipient of the bill, was moderately impressed by
its realism. "It’s fairly realistic," he said. Millis called a couple
people he knew who lived on the south side of town, but they hadn’t gotten anything
like the "9-11" dollar with their newspaper.

Managing Editor Randy Rendfeld said the newspaper didn’t deliver the bills,
which had also found their way into several other newspaper boxes in Kennard.
So where did they come from?

John-Michael P. Talboo is one of six organizers from Indiana of a Web site
focused on the official and unofficial versions of what happened on Sept. 11,
2001
.

He lives in Kennard and said he… Continue reading

Barack Obama Administration Continues US Military Global Dominance

By Peter Phillips

The Barack Obama administration is continuing the neo-conservative agenda of US military domination of the world–albeit with perhaps a kinder-gentler face. While overt torture is now forbidden for the CIA and Pentagon, and symbolic gestures like the closing of the Guantánamo prison are in evidence, a unilateral military dominance policy, expanding military budget, and wars of occupation and aggression will likely continue unabated.

The military expansionists from within the Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Clinton, G. W. Bush administrations put into place solid support for increased military spending. Clinton’s model of supporting the US military industrial complex held steady defense spending and increased foreign weapons sales from 16% of global orders to over 63% by the end of his administration.

The neo-conservatives, who dominated the most recent Bush administration, amplified this trend of increased military spending. The neo-cons laid out their agenda for military global dominance in the 2000 Project for a New American Century (PNAC) report Rebuilding America’s Defenses . The report called for the protection of the American Homeland, the ability to wage simultaneous theater wars, to perform global constabulary roles, and to control space and cyberspace. The report claimed that in order to maintain a Pax Americana , potential rivals–such as China, Iran, Iraq, and North Korea–needed to be held in check. This military global dominance agenda required forward deployment of US forces worldwide and increasing defense/war spending well into the 21st century. The result was a doubling of the US military budget to… Continue reading

9/11 ‘truth force’

by Michael Hasty
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
RadicalPantheist.blogspot.com

One of the central elements of Mahatma Gandhi’s strategy to free the Indian
people from British colonialism was what he called “satyagraha,” a Sanskrit
word that is most often translated as “truth force.” What he meant by this was
that those who seek justice should embody the truth in their actions.

The strongest element in the campaign for 9/11 truth is the very fact that we
have truth on our side (and however “9/11 truth” became the consensus slogan
of the movement, it was brilliant marketing). Seven years of independent research
and investigation by thousands of concerned patriots, expert and amateur alike,
have turned up enough evidence to make the official story of what happened on
September 11, 2001, look highly implausible–and prosecutable.

Up to this point, most of the efforts of the 9/11 truth movement have been geared
to educating the general public about the facts that refute the official story–the
mysterious inaction of the US military; the inscrutable behavior of the chain
of command, from Bush on down; the weird “coincidences” in both airline and
World Trade Center security; the unexplained global stock trades on companies
affected by the attacks; the deliberate confusion of US intelligence; the official
attempts to hide the truth, from destroyed video and audio tapes, to manipulation
of data in government reports, to profligate use of the “state secrets” privilege;
and perhaps most important, the physical evidence, now in the hands of independent
scientists, of controlled demolition of the World Trade Center.…

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Statement on Prosecution of Former High Officials

We urge Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a non-partisan independent Special Counsel to immediately commence a prosecutorial investigation into the most serious alleged crimes of former President George W. Bush, former Vice President Richard B. Cheney, the attorneys formerly employed by the Department of Justice whose memos sought to justify torture, and other former top officials of the Bush Administration.

Show Editor’s Note »

UPDATE 2/27/09 6pm: In response to the many email questions we’ve received asking why we have not endorsed this call for a Special Prosecutor: On 2/24, when this statement/petition was posted at AfterDowningStreet.org, 911truth.org immediately signed on as an endorsing organization via the signup at that site. As of now, our name does not appear on that list. Nonetheless, we did submit endorsement. We are not, yet, encouraging 9/11 truth advocates to politely contact David Swanson asking him why he would permanently post a video statement from Willie Rodriguez on the front page of his site, yet continue to ignore/ban the burgeoning 9/11 truth movement from being heard as the powerful voice we are, in calling for truth and accountability. We believe that Mr. Swanson is acting in good faith, all in all, and will post our endorsement with the others on the list shortly.

Our laws, and treaties that under Article VI of our Constitution are the supreme law of the land, require the prosecution of crimes that strong evidence suggests these individuals have committed. Both the former president and the former vice president have confessed to authorizing a torture procedure that is illegal under our law and treaty obligations.…

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The Political Persecution of the RNC 8

by Leslie Rose
February 23, 2009
Revcom.us

Introduction to the Series:

A very important case is unfolding in Minnesota–eight people are being singled out by the government for their role in the political protests at the 2008 Republican National Convention (RNC).

At the September ’08 RNC in St. Paul, war criminal John McCain and right-wing religious fundamentalist Sarah Palin were being selected as the Republican ticket for the presidential race. The national media spent endless hours on things like Palin’s unmarried pregnant daughter. Meanwhile, the streets of St. Paul were turned into a militarized zone with massive police mobilization. Over the course of four days, thousands defied the armed clampdown to make known their opposition to U.S. wars-torture-spying and the imperialist globalization that has brought suffering to a huge section of humanity and caused catastrophic environmental damage. Over 800 people were arrested and scores were brutalized by the police.

Even before the protests started, law enforcement authorities carried out preemptive raids and arrests of activists and independent journalists throughout Minneapolis/St. Paul (the Twin Cities). Among those arrested were eight who are now being targeted for persecution, facing over 12 years in prison. They are known as the RNC 8.

For the first time, a state version of the fascistic USA Patriot Act is being applied to political demonstrations. The RNC 8 are charged with felony conspiracy to riot in furtherance of terrorism and felony conspiracy to commit criminal damage to property in furtherance of terrorism, along with two other felonies. They were sitting in jail for the duration of the Republican convention–but they are being held legally responsible for anything that any protestor did during that time.

The prosecution of the RNC 8 would set a very bad precedent that criminalizes political protest. But too few people even know about this case. Everyone who understands the importance of dissent and the ability to resist the crimes being committed by the government and ruling institutions needs to speak out. A big demand to drop the charges on the RNC 8 needs to be raised from a broad cross section of society. This railroad must be stopped cold in its tracks.

In three articles over several issues of Revolution, this series examines key aspects and layers of what has come to light about the unjust prosecution of the RNC 8. The three articles are: “The Case of the RNC 8”; “The Informants and Undercover Agents”–the lies and strategy of the government; “The Clampdown”–the police state, mass arrests, and targeting of journalists.

*****

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Indict Bush and Impeach Obama–Get in the Streets March 19 & 21

Liberal Leaders Betray Antiwar Cause To Serve Dems and Obama — Again

by John Walsh
February 25th, 2009
Dissident Voice

In the Wall Street Journal of January 24, the loathsome McCarthyite neocon David Horowitz gazed approvingly on the inauguration of Barack Obama. To Horowitz it meant the removal of an obstacle to war. Thus he wrote:

Consider: When President Obama commits this nation to war against the Islamic terrorists, as he already has in Afghanistan, he will take millions of previously alienated and disaffected Americans with him, and they will support our troops in a way that most of his party has refused to support them until now. When another liberal, Bill Clinton went to war from the air, there was no anti-war movement in the streets or in his party’s ranks to oppose him. That is an encouraging fact for us . . .

Horowitz is now locked in fast embrace with Katrina Vanden Heuvel, editor in chief of The Nation and Leslie Cagan and her cohorts at United For Peace and Justice (UFPJ). Vanden Heuvel’s most recent piece in The Nation runs under a title in the form of a query, “Obama’s War?” Whose war does she think it is anyway? Even the mainstream media calls it Obama’s war — sans question mark. Her piece ran shortly after Obama ordered 17,000 more troops to Afghanistan and almost a month after both Afghan and Pakistani civilians were first bombed at Obama’s orders. She concludes her piece, after citing the deployment of additional troops, “Up to this point the Afghan war belonged to George W.…

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