From the Minneapolis Peace Action Coalition:

Back to Iraq? We say NO!

Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014
4:00 – 5:00 pm
Lake Street and Hiawatha Ave
Minneapolis
For more information, call 612-275-2720 or 612-827-5364

Stop the U.S. War in Iraq
No U.S. War in Syria

Be part of a visible anti-war presence to speak out against a new chapter of U.S. war in Iraq and against U.S. military intervention in Syria. People need funds for jobs, housing and education, a peace economy, not new wars and interventions.

Initiated by Minnesota Peace Action Coalition.

Endorsed by: AFSCME Local 3800, Anti-War Committee, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Mayday Bookstore, Military Families Speak Out (Minnesota chapter), Minnesota Cuba Committee, Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee, St. Joan of Arc/WAMM Peacemakers, St. Paul Eastside Neighbors for Peace, Socialist Action, Twin Cities Peace Campaign, Veterans for Peace, Welfare Rights Committee, Women Against Military Madness, Workers International League.

The protest announcement was covered today in the Minneapolis City Pages.

Since the cataclysmic events that took place on the morning of September 11th 2001, an extended series of consequences have unfolded with an alarming rapidity. Between vast escalations of military activity abroad, the passing of draconian laws, like the Patriot Act and the NDAA, the instituting of the Department of Homeland Security, and the ramping up of domestic spy programs through the NSA, 9/11 has served as a catalyst for a radical change in how America conducts itself both at home and around the world. In the weeks and months following the incident, the American people were bombarded with a veritable hurricane of bald-faced lies and assertions based on dubious "intelligence". Before they could begin to wrap their heads around the significance of the events taking place around them, their government had already set plans into motion to wage a decades-long military conflict in the Middle East, a conflict which rages at full force to this day. In fact, recent developments in Iraq regarding the Islamic State militant group, or ISIS, elevate the issue of the 2003 Iraq War to the highest importance.

Among the general populace, a widely-accepted narrative has developed which attempts to make sense of all that has happened since September 11th. Very broadly, the narrative contends that Islamic extremists have declared war on the United States, and this alone serves to explain and justify the long string of wars that have been waged in the name of the global "War on Terrorism" ever since. What’s most surprising about the public narrative is that it offers almost no explanation at all of how or why Iraq was, directly or indirectly, implicated in the 2001 terror attacks on New York and DC. At best, the public storyline suggests only a vague connection between Saddam Hussein and the al-Qaeda terrorist organization. Any substantial explanation of this tie, however, has seemingly fallen away into the ethereal memory hole of American historical conscience.

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Bruce Fein and John Woo debated War and the Constitution at the National Press Club.

Consitutional lawyer Bruce Fein was senior policy advisor to the Ron Paul 2012 Presidential Campaign. John Yoo was Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice and a Professor of Law at University of California-Berkeley.

You may also watch the video at CSPAN.

The story is nominally “embargoed” until Thursday morning, but the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) is preparing to release letters from the State and Defense Departments detailing a $7.2 million waste on communications towers built in Afghanistan which nobody wanted or used.

The plan initially started in 2010 as an effort to enhance cell phone and TV broadcast reception in southern Afghanistan, and the initial limit set for the cost was $2 million. The plan was delayed when all the bids came in dramatically higher, and in August of 2011, the State Department cancelled the project. It was immediately uncancelled and they were eventually built in 2012 for $7.2 million.

By then, however, Afghan companies had already built a bunch of smaller, but perfectly servicable, towers and had no need for the US ones, which the State Department quickly dumped on the Pentagon as “surplus” equipment. The Pentagon didn’t really want them either, and complained about the costs of fuel to power the generators if the towers were ever used.

Not that they were. The six towers, four in Helmand, one in Kandahar, and one in Ghazni have effectively just sat there ever since, and the only time any of them “did” anything was in May, when a US helicopter careened into one and crashed, killing a NATO soldier and wounding three US soldiers.

In what may well be the single most tactless comments he’s made yet, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, in open testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he believed the parents of slain US hostages James Foley and Steven Sotloff should feel more grateful to the Pentagon for its botched rescue attempt.

Dempsey declared the failed mission “the most complex, highest risk mission we’ve ever undertaken,” and that the attempt “should give the family some solace.”

Though Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel had referred to the mission as a “flawless operation” in previous comments, the reality is that it was an unmitigated disaster from the word go, with US officials wandering around Antakya, Turkey, just across the border from the ISIS capital, asking random people if they knew where the hostages were being held.

By the time the military was ready to go in, ISIS knew they were coming and had plenty of time to relocate the hostages. When the ground troops got to the jail and found no one inside, they attacked some ISIS forces elsewhere in town, then set the jail on fire and left.

From Just Foreign Policy:

Congress is expected to vote in the next few days on a controversial proposal to arm and train Syrian rebels. Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers have expressed opposition. With recent reports that some so-called “moderate” Syrian rebels this proposal seeks to arm have signed non-aggression pacts with ISIS, as in the past, now is not the time to rush into a policy whose consequences remain so unknown.

Meanwhile, the Congressional Progressive Caucus has introduced H. Con. Res. 114, demanding a robust debate and an authorization vote on any use of force. Sponsors so far include Reps. Grijalva, Ellison, Lee, McGovern, Defazio, Grayson, and Welch.

Antiwar.com, MoveOn, Win Without War, Peace Action, and many other groups have called for a National Day of Action TODAY to say: stop the rush to war in Iraq & Syria!

Call your Representative NOW at (202) 224-3121 . When you speak to a staffer (or leave a message), you can use the talking points below:

Hi, my name is ______, and I’m a constituent from _______.??

I urge you to vote “NO” on expanding military aid to rebel groups in Syria. More weapons to groups we don’t know, who may use them against us or our allies in the future, will only make the situation worse.

I also urge you to co-sponsor H. Con. Res. 114, demanding a debate and an authorization vote on any use of force and the prohibition of the use of ground troops.

When you’ve made your call, you can report it here.