Wednesday, April 07, 2010

NO MORE SPARTA!!!!! America needs to return to more Athenian Democracy this 2010

NO MORE SPARTA!!!!! America needs to return to more Athenian Democracy this 2010

Dear President Obama,

As I am expecting my first child next month, it is time to get serious on change and reform in the core pillars of American Democracy

This past week has been an eye-opening period for many Americans—propaganda and cover-ups about the war and too-many victims are seen every where. This is why increasingly, Americans want the country to stop playing the role of an out-of-control Sparta.

Recall, Mr. President, “Sparta was unique in ancient Greece for its social system and constitution, which completely focused on military training and excellence.” I have noted in various articles over the past decades that this has been the case in the USA for far too long, i.e. where out-of-control weapons production, out-of-control weapons and military services sales, and no-holds-barred military recruitment of young Americans continue almost unabated since I can remember. We need to return to a more Athens-like model for a democracy and a more freedom and peace-building set of goals for the American future in the 21st Century.

Likewise, according to the New Security Action Network just today, “It has been a grim couple of days in the battle for hearts and minds of the people of Afghanistan. Afghan investigators claimed yesterday that US Special Operations forces tried to cover up the horrific killing of five Afghan citizens in February following a raid of what turned out to be a baby shower. Military officials, after first claiming US soldiers had stumbled upon the victims of a so-called ‘honor killing,’ now admit that our military forces were responsible for these deaths. Three women were killed. Two of them were pregnant.”

Back in the USA, we have seen even worse mismanagement of truth, honor and democracy raised by the important DOD-whistle-blower’s release this week of the inhumane video-game-like-behavior of a “US military helicopter in July 2007 as it killed twelve people and wounded two children. The dead included two employees of the Reuters news agency, photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen and driver Saeed Chmagh.” This occurred in Iraq. This recent released online video at WIKILEAKS finds that the Reuter’s reporter, after being shot and left to bleed, was no threat but crawling on the ground and bleeding. Yet, these run-amok Spartan-culture-trained soldiers in the helicopter kept circling and taunting the victim to pick up a gun so they could finish him off.

While I laud the DOD whistle-blower’s releasing of this footage, I am ashamed by the continuing cover-ups of those and other crimes by an-out-of-control army groups [too many DOD representatives globally] that thinks that humans—especially unarmed civilians are targets in s video-sport-shoot. (Please see a fuller discussion of all these practices of our Spartan troops on the Democracy Now link below--which discusses this historic release of a classic shoot-don’t-shoot video for American police to explain when not to shoot in a battle in a community of unarmed civilians.)


New Security Action Network noted, concerning the more recent 2010 cover-up of a pair of murders of pregnant women in their own home in Afghanistan that, “Covering up the murder of civilians is unconscionable.”

Moreover, NSAN has stated in a recent email that “[a]t the time of these deaths, [USA] military officials claimed that the bodies [in Afghanistan] showed signs of puncture and slashing wounds from a knife, and appeared to have died several hours before the raid. Yet The London Times is now reporting that Afghan investigators have determined that American forces "dug bullets out of their victims bodies" after the killing, tampering with the evidence of the crime. American military officials deny the claim. US and NATO officials have now admitted that Special Forces were responsible for the killing of these innocent women, and that previous denials of any involvement were false. Yet they now expect the public to accept their claim that there's "no evidence to support tampering". Having already misled the public, military officials now claim to be ‘further investigating’ the incident. This is not good enough. At issue is not just a horrific killing but its cover-up and the willingness of military officials to mislead and distort the facts.”
Julian Assange, editor and investigator for WikiLeaks on Democracy Now yesterday stated, “[A] few weeks ago, we released a 2008 counterintelligence report from the United States Army, thirty-two pages, that assessed quite a few articles that I had written and some of the other material we had released—so that includes the main manuals for Guantánamo Bay, which revealed falsification of records there and deliberate hiding of people from the Red Cross, a breach of the Geneva Conventions, and psychological torture, many other things, and a report we released on the battle of Fallujah, once again a classified US military report into what happened there—and clearly concerned that we were causing embarrassment to the US military by exposing human rights abuses and some concern—doesn’t seem to be legitimate, but some concerns that the fine details of some material that we were releasing could, in theory, when combined with other detail, pose a threat to soldiers if insurgents got hold of that information. So that report sort of looks at different ways to destroy or fatally marginalize it.”


Instead of stopping subterfuges, the USA military has simply used spin and cover-up, i.e. failing to make important documents and videos available under the freedom of information laws.

Assange continued, “And because our [Wikileaks’] primary asset is the trust, that sources have enough—we have a reputation for having never had a source publicly exposed, and as far as I know, that reputation is true—it looks to see whether they can publicly expose some of our sources, prosecute US military whistleblowers—and, in fact, it uses the phrase ‘whistleblowers,’ not people who are leaking indiscriminately—but prosecute US military whistleblowers in order to destabilize us and destroy what it calls our ‘center of gravity,’ the trust that the public and sources have in us.”

Dear President Obama, the time has never been riper for a real democratic light in America, e.g. like a light from the best of Athens—not a military Spartan America.

[Come on Whistleblowers, in the Executive Branch! Help America to get out of the Afghanistan and Iraq quagmires than the powers-run-amok want it to happened.]

Basically, the American military and its intelligence community have dominated and misled Americans to the grotesque distortion of the American image and reality world-wide since the 1950s. Glen Greenwald, summarized the main issues for We (real) Americans. Concerning the cover-up on the murder of the Reuter’s reporters (and more than a dozen others) and other stories only released by the grace of concerned whistleblowers, Greenwald has also stated. “[Y]ou see that this is standard operating procedure [under the American DOD]. The military was not at all concerned about what took place. They didn’t even think there were remedial steps needed to prevent a future reoccurrence. They concluded definitively that the members of the military involved did exactly the right thing.”

For all misguided American Spartans, Greenwald add this note, “This is what war is. This is what the United States does in these countries. And that, I think, is the crucial point to note, along with the fact that the military fought tooth and nail to prevent this video from surfacing, precisely because they knew that it would shed light on what their actual behavior is during war, and instead of the propaganda to which we’re typically subjected.”

Nabil Noor, the brother of the killed Reuter’s reporter in Iraq, asked an appropriate question of all Americans after seeing a Wikileak report and video this week:
“Is this the democracy and freedom that they claim have brought to Iraq? What Namir was doing was a patriotic work. He was trying to cover the violations of the Americans against the Iraqi people. He was only twenty-one years old. Other innocent colleagues and other innocent people, who were just standing out of curiosity when they see a journalist in a scene, and they were all killed. This is another crime that should be added to the record of American crimes in Iraq and the world. Is the pilot that stupid, he cannot distinguish between an RPG and a camera? They claim he was carrying an RPG. When was the RPG this small, small as a camera? He was carrying a small camera. An RPG is more than one meter long. Yes, it was an RPG because it shows the acts against Iraq and its people that still suffer from their crimes. We demand the international organizations to help us sue those people responsible for the killings of our sons and our people.”

Investigations and tribunals of justice are needed to clear out the Spartan-type military personnel out of power as soon as possible.


Christian Blackwell wrote of Athenian Democracy, “The democratic government of Athens rested on three main institutions, and a few others of lesser importance. The three pillars of democracy were: the Assembly of the Demos, the Council of the 500, and the People’s Court.” Notice that no mention of guns, military, etc. are mentioned in such a narration of the Athens form of democracy.

Mr. Obama, if we were to make a list of the pillars of American Democracy right now in history, two pillars would go for the military and the propaganda machines that promote continuing wars. Another pillar would go to an industrial waste-land-making military complex of production. Let’s get rid of these three pillars (or shrink them to a single pillar).

President Obama, lead America away from the failure-ridden military constitutional leadership of Sparta America and help get us back on the road to a land of real people and freedom loving institutions. Shine the light on the facts and get American military retrenched and under American democratic control (and really protecting Americans at home and abroad).

I know that this summer many family members and relatives of mine are going to be sent for the next big military push in Afghanistan 2010. I ask that after that time (or before) that victory be euphemistically declared, the troops and military waste be brought home, and that the DOD and its propaganda and production partners be placed fully under the heel of democracy for the first time since at least the 1920s.


Kevin Stoda
Candidate for US Senate (KS)



Blogger Kevin Anthony Stoda said...

Listen to Daniel Ellsburg at this site calling for real Americans to provide the proof to help entangle us from our newest Vietnams.

6:22 PM  
Blogger Kevin Anthony Stoda said...

Afghanistan Mission Creep Watch - The Karl Eikenberry, I Could Kiss You Version
Posted by Michael Cohen

Earlier tonight I was preparing to come home and write a long and anguished blog post about how President Obama was on the verge of sending his presidency off a cliff by approving the dispatching of 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan. So you can imagine my gleeful surprise when I came home to read this:
President Barack Obama does not plan to accept any of the Afghanistan war options presented by his national security team, pushing instead for revisions to clarify how and when U.S. troops would turn over responsibility to the Afghan government, a senior administration official said Wednesday.

After the increasingly depressing leaks of the past few days, this is just stunning news. And it gets even more interesting . . . because apparently our man in Kabul - Ambassador Karl Eikenberry -- may well be leading the charge:
The U.S. ambassador in Kabul sent two classified cables to Washington in the past week expressing deep concerns about sending more U.S. troops to Afghanistan until President Hamid Karzai's government demonstrates that it is willing to tackle the corruption and mismanagement that has fueled the Taliban's rise, senior U.S. officials said.

What's perhaps most interesting is that Ikenberry's concern seems to pretty closely dovetail with the issue raised in today's NYT article about Obama's concern that Karzai is not a serious partner for a counter-insurgency:
Ikenberry has expressed deep reservations about Karzai's erratic behavior and corruption within his government, said U.S. officials familiar with the cables. Since Karzai was officially declared reelected last week, U.S. diplomats have seen little sign that the Afghan president plans to address the problems they have raised repeatedly with him.

U.S. officials were particularly irritated by a interview this week in which a defiant Karzai said that the West has little interest in Afghanistan and that its troops are there only for self-serving reasons.

And the Times advances the story even further:
General Eikenberry sent his reservations to Washington in a cable last week, the officials said. In that same period, President Obama and his national security advisers have begun examining an option that would send relatively few troops to Afghanistan, about 10,000 to 15,000, with most designated as trainers for the Afghan security forces.

. . . Pentagon officials said the low-end option of 10,000 to 15,000 more troops would mean little or no significant increase in American combat forces in Afghanistan. The bulk of the additional forces would go to train the Afghan Army, with a smaller number focused on hunting and killing terrorists, the officials said.The low-end option would essentially reject the more ambitious counterinsurgency strategy envisioned by General McChrystal, which calls for a large number of forces to protect the Afghan population, work on development projects and build up the country’s civil institutions.

I'm really not sure what to make of all this; the leaking that is going on here is just ridiculous. It's very possible that this is a trial balloon meant to light a fire underKarzai . But honestly I don't think so. Instead, I think President Obama is taking charge of his Afghan policy in a significant and long overdue way - and more important, standing up to his generals and national securityadvisors who seem to want to shoot first and ask questions later.

For what it's worth, that's change I can believe in.

6:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Transpartisan dialogue stimulating questions...

▪ "What values do you hold dear, and how are they honored in political life today?"

▪ "What are the deepest longings of the American people, and what would it take to meet them?"

▪ "What change do you most think is most needed in America today?"

▪ "What would it take to create change in America?"

▪ "If our success was completely guaranteed, what bold steps might we take?"

▪ "What needs our immediate attention going forward?"

▪ "What seed might be planted today that would make the most difference to our future?"

▪ "How can we support each other in taking the next steps? What unique contribution can we each make?"

▪ "What could America also be?"

▪ "In your fondest dreams, what would the next batch of US presidential

candidates be saying?"

▪ "What do you really wish US leaders would deal with, at last?"

▪ "What question, if addressed really well by American politicians,

would make all the difference in the world?"

▪ "At their best, what are the American people capable of? W hat would

you like to see happen that could release that capacity?"

▪ "If someone really wanted to understand America, where would they look?"

▪ "If someone found a way to tap into the common longings of the American people as a whole, what do you think they'd find out?"

▪ "What would America have to do to get its act together, once and for all?"

5:55 PM  

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