Did Trump Dump Sec. of State Tillerson to Make Diplomacy and Human Rights Even Weaker Again?

(Much to say today in a small way, which reminds me of the poems I am not writing, a sacrifice I make in the interests of public service. Time to come to the aid of the country, etc.) President Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson today via Twitter; if the Russians ever hack into…

Reality: Airstrikes are killing civilians

What price war? In Syria and Iraq, U.S. coalition airstrikes will inevitability kill some innocent people, including children. This fact is apparently not enough to prevent democracies from dropping bombs and missiles from aircraft. We have known since the glory days of aerial bombardment during World War II that the killing of civilians in war has been justified…

In Guns We Trust, Again and Again

Surely it's time to refute the great American myth our elected representatives in Washington, D.C. so believe in: an armed citizenry and war abroad will protect us from criminal and terrorist violence.  There is a sort of mass mental incongruity going on, a splitting of the political brain in which the epidemic of "mass shootings" is deplored and denounced but ignored while generally…

Debate in Wisconsin? Let’s talk about Patriotgate

One question not heard at last night's Republican presidential debate in Milwaukee was anything about what we might call "Patriotgate." This has nothing to do with deflated footballs but does include the New England Patriots, as well as the Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Brewers and the UW-Madison Badgers. A report released last week by Arizona Senators Jeff Flake and…

The Pentagon and professional sports: “paid patriotism”

It is no secret that the Dept. of Defense has a marketing relationship with professional sports, essentially using popular sporting events as recruiting tools. But two Arizona Republicans, Sen. Jeff Flake and no less a hawkish patriot than Sen. John McCain, have been investigating the nature and depth of this marketing relationship over the past year. And…

“Killing Blindly in the Endless War” by Kathy Kelly

"These are people who had been working hard for months, non-stop for the past week. They had not gone home, they had not seen their families, they had just been working in the hospital to help people... and now they are dead. These people are friends, close friends. I have no words to express this.…

U.S. considering use of ground troops in Syria & Iraq. Iraq says, “No, Thanks.”

The Obama administration is apparently considering an increased role for U.S. ground troops in Syria and Iraq to combat ISIS. Here's the Washington Post: "The changes would represent a significant escalation of the American role in Iraq and Syria. They still require formal approval from Obama, who could make a decision as soon as this…

Sec. of State Kerry and others wrongly urging no-fly zone in Syria

Though Secretary of State John Kerry is, according to the NY Times, pushing for a "no-fly zone" in Syria to protect Syrian civilians from the various groups and nations now fighting each other in that desperate country, the Pentagon, of all things, is urging caution. As the NY Times describes it: "But the Pentagon presentation…

Keeping Score: The War of Numbers in Afghanistan

There is a school of thought, let's call it the "War of Numbers School", which holds that the killing and oppression that takes place in war, even the killing of innocent non-combatants, is morally palatable if it ultimately prevents killing and oppression. Proponents of this school argue that it is worth invading foreign lands (and in…

More than 4,000 people killed in Syria in September

As Russia steps up the bombing and slaughter in Syria, now including firing cruise missiles from a thousand miles away,  the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has calculated that 4,219 people were killed in Syria in September 2015. SOHR states that 1201 of those killed in September were civilians, including women and children.  The U.S.…

Bombing Hospitals All in a Day’s Work

 [From the Institute of Policy Studies via Common Dreams] By Phyllis Bennis The destruction of the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital in Kunduz, with 22 dead so far, including doctors, other staff and patients, capped a week that also saw the bombing of​ another hospital in Afghanistan, plus the U.S.-backed Saudi Arabian bombing of a…

Gov. Walker, would-be warrior, quits the race on Peace Day

Some ironies are so fitting and delicious you are tempted to think that God Herself has something to do with it. Yesterday, September 21st, a day chosen as "Peace Day" celebrated around the world,  Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker announced in Madison, Wisconsin--a liberal city he hoped to leave far behind-- that he was getting out of…