Recent Palestinian attacks against Israel suggest a new uprising (intifada) of the loners is on the making to which Israel may have no sufficient response.

The stabbing of several Israeli youth near the Alon Shvut colony in the Occupied West Bank by a Palestinian man, the stabbing of an Israeli soldier on November 10 in Tel Aviv, and the running over of several Israeli citizens in Occupied East Jerusalem that resulted in the death of an infant last week, all indicate that a new intifada or uprising is well underway.

Yet while similar intifadas were marked by popular uprisings throughout the West Bank that disrupted the Israeli status-quo and sense of normalcy, as was the case in the Al Aqsa Intifada of 2000, or in the first intifada of 1987, popular protests that took place in recent days in the West Bank and inside Israel (particularly in the Galilee, where a Palestinian youth was shot several days ago, and in East Jerusalem) have been contained to a significant degree by Israel forces who are well accustomed to popular protests and who fired tear gas canisters on the demonstrators.

Continue

Iraq war veteran and outspoken Iraq war critic Tomas Young has died at the age of 34.

Democracy Now! reported his death Monday, the eve of Veterans Day.

Young enlisted in the Army following the September 11 attacks, volunteering to go to Afghanistan. He was sent to Iraq, and was left paralyzed by a bullet on the fifth day of his deployment. In 2008, he explained that “many of us volunteered with patriotic feelings in our heart, only to see them subverted and bastardized by the administration and sent into the wrong country.”

Young was the subject of the award-wining documentary Body of War by Phil Donahue and Ellen Spiro.

In 2013 Young wrote “The Last Letter: A Message to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney From a Dying Veteran.” From the letter:

You may evade justice but in our eyes you are each guilty of egregious war crimes, of plunder and, finally, of murder, including the murder of thousands of young Americans—my fellow veterans—whose future you stole.

Asked by Democracy Now! last year how he would want to be remembered, he said: “That I fought as hard as I could to keep young men and women away from military service. I fought as hard as I could to keep another me from coming back to Iraq.”

Watch Young reading his letter to Bush and Cheney below:

Reprinted from Common Dreams.

Why, I asked myself, would the New York City police arrest me and put me in The Tombs overnight, simply because a security officer at the 92nd Street Y told them I was “not welcome” and should be denied entry to a talk by retired General David Petraeus? In my hand was a ticket for which I had reluctantly shelled out $50.

I had hoped to hear the photogenic but inept Petraeus explain why the Iraqi troops, which he claimed to have trained so well, had fled northern Iraq leaving their weapons behind at the first whiff of Islamic State militants earlier this year. I even harbored some slight hope that the advertised Q & A might afford hoi polloi like me the chance to ask him a real question.

However rare the opportunity to ask real questions has become, it can happen. Witness my extended (four-minute) questioning of then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in Atlanta on May 4, 2006. The exchange wasn’t exactly the oh-so-polite give-and-take of the Sunday talk shows but it represented what Americans should expect of democracy, a chance to confront senior government officials when they engage in deception or demonstrate incompetence – especially on issues of war or peace.

It seems a safe guess that somebody wanted to protect Petraeus from even the possibility of such accountability on Oct. 30. Also, let me make clear that I had no intention of embarrassing the retired four-star general and ex-CIA director with a question about his extramarital affair with his admiring biographer Paula Broadwell, which precipitated his CIA resignation in November 2012.

Continue

Did you know the U.S. war in Afghanistan is still going on?

While the American war(s) in Iraq and Syria are the Kardashian’s of geopolitics– can’t get them out of the news, don’t want to look but you do anyway– America’s longest war trudges on. We have been fighting in Afghanistan for over thirteen years now. The young soldiers currently deployed there were barely in elementary school when their dad’s and mom’s kicked off the fighting.

And we still haven’t won anything. The Taliban are still there and very potent and dangerous, a corrupt government still runs the country as a kleptocracy, “ally” Pakistan is still playing all sides against one another and the Afghan economy still relies heavily on opium production that finds its way back home here to America. Al Qaeda may have departed Afghanistan, but the franchise is still strong in its new home(s). Defeated? No, just relocated.

SIGAR and Reconstruction

A lot of the factors of mediocre results are America’s own doing, and many are chronicled by the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR).

Continue

I was stunned that Maryland voters gave the heave-ho to Democratic gubernatorial candidate Anthony Brown yesterday.  Obama’s “Mini-Me” never recovered from his role as the mastermind of perhaps the most disastrous ObamaCare Internet site rollout in the country.

I accidentally participated with Brown in the Rockville Memorial Day parade earlier this year.  It wasn’t my fault  –  maybe I was distracted by the garish Gaithersburg Police Humvee and did not notice where I was supposed to exit the parade route. Here’s the story-

I was out biking that morning and finished up by swinging into Rockville Town Center to get incensed by politicians milking hell out of Memorial Day. The speeches at a poppy wreath dedication were the usual “they died for your freedom” trope – and thus all the politicians that sent troops to die are absolved. The unctuous mayor of Rockville was the emcee, and her blather was enough to make listeners wish they were deaf.

DSC_0653

There was a half hour break between the belated end of the speeches and the start of the Memorial Day parade – so I roamed a mile or two north out to where the marching groups were assembling.

There I saw the mayor sitting there in the back of a convertible like a homecoming queen, smiling as if people actually gave a damn who she was. She would be followed by half a dozen other local pols and candidates in convertibles.  Anthony Brown was there, and he had a flock of volunteers wearing his t-shirts and looking like they were the advance guard of a progressive era. Or at least a vast expansion of government jobs for Brown’s followers. Brown was acting like he was on the way to his coronation by voters later that year. (He easily won the Democratic primary for governor a few weeks later.) Brown tub-thumped about his military service in Iraq as if both Brown and the war itself had been a glorious success.

DSC_0657I wasn’t causing any trouble when, out of nowhere, the mayor started throwing candy to nearby little kids. The tykes scrambled like dogs fighting for a bone, and the mayor beamed and threw more Tootsie Rolls. Brown’s troop were also throwing out candy to onlookers. This is Maryland politics reduced to a 100 calorie thumbnail.

The mayor’s convertible took off for the parade and I figured I’d trail it – at least until I got kicked off the street. At that point, the parade was haphazard; units were getting launched far too slowly, leaving big gaps between performers.

To get a good photo of the mayor dispensing goodies, I realized that I needed to be in front of her. I saw where the parade was heading and took a turn down a street seeking the best chance for a good shot.  And then I noticed – OOPS – that the sidewalks were fenced in and people 4 to 5 deep were waiting to see the parade.   The mayor’s convertible turned into the street behind me –  – there was no graceful way to go back – and the only thing ahead of me was the Rockville Police military-style color guard.  So I biked along for a couple blocks between the mayor and the color guard – including past the reviewing booth and emcee.

People were gawking: “What the hell is he doing in the parade?” I finally found a break in the fencing.  As I was taking my bike through it, some old lady growled at me: “People probably thought you were a clown!”

I didn’t stick around to see Brown’s contingent pass by the reviewing stand, but a Washington Post story later detailed how Brown had been barking out orders to his street walkers the whole way through the parade.

Folks were snapping endless photos that day and I checked on Flickr to see if any shots of a wayward cyclist turned up. No luck.

On Twitter @jimbovard      www.jimbovard.com

cartoon toles election tt141103

President Obama and a heap of other politicians are imploring us to view voting as the ultimate expression of our freedom and self-government. The reality is that the vast majority of politicians will do as they damn well please after Election Day.

Edward Snowden’s revelations should have been a battering ram to use against the incumbent party. Instead, the National Security Agency’s crimes seem to have all been forgotten.

The Senate report on CIA torture has been stonewalled for years. The Obama administration succeeded in delaying the release until after tomorrow’s elections – perhaps to avoid its grisly revelations from distracting from the president’s denunciations of cynicism.

Obama’s Syrian war became far more of a debacle this weekend when masses of “moderate” Syrian fighters defected to ISIS. But almost no one on the campaign trail is holding the administration liable for plunging the nation into another pointless (and mindless) war.

Regardless of the results tomorrow, Americans can expect a continued bipartisan conspiracy against their rights and liberties.

One bright side – if the Republicans win big, it may become more difficult for Obama & team to coverup their abuses and crimes. And that could sow some seeds that will later haunt the political establishment.

On Twitter @jimbovard   www.jimbovard.com

(the Tom Toles cartoon at the top is one of his best ever)