In this episode of Days of Revolt, Chris Hedges sits down with investigative journalist Allan Nairn to discuss his experience covering wars across the globe, and the U.S.’s role in fueling such conflicts. The two discuss the mechanics of Western intervention, and the consequences that are still unraveling today.
On November 22, thousands gathered at the gates of Fort Benning, GA at the 25th annual protest of the School of the Americas to memorialize the tens of thousands of people who lost their lives at the hands of the U.S. Empire’s brutally repressive juntas it used to rule Latin America by force.
While the American Empire – and much of the policies being pursued – did not begin under President Obama, the focus of “Empire Under Obama” is to bring awareness about the nature of empire to those who may have – or continue – to support Barack Obama and who may believe in the empty promises of “hope” and “change.” Empire is institutional, not individual. My focus on the imperial structure during the Obama administration is not to suggest that it does not predate Obama, but rather, that Obama represents ‘continuity’ in imperialism, not “change.” This part examines the concept of ‘counterinsurgency’ as a war against the populations of Iraq, Afghanistan and spreading into Pakistan.
Maggie O’Kane, Executive Producer, tells the story revealed by the Guardian documentary about the role of Col. James Steele in supporting torture, death squads and brutal sectarian conflict during the height of the Iraq war. Steel’s reports went directly to Rumsfeld and Cheney.
Only days after American Vice President Joe Biden made a very public and tantalizing offer of bilateral talks between the US and Iran, there then follows another round of punitive trade sanctions imposed by Washington on Iran’s vital oil industry.
What to make of this seemingly contradictory US position? Some commentators say that the above anomalous attitude reflects a carrot-and-stick policy in Washington, by which incentives dangled in front of Iran are quickly followed by a blow of hardship, with the objective of forcing an end result.
The presidential election exposed the liberal class as a corpse. It fights for nothing. It stands for nothing. It is a useless appendage to the corporate state. It exists not to make possible incremental or piecemeal reform, as it originally did in a functional capitalist democracy; instead it has devolved into an instrument of personal vanity, burnishing the hollow morality of its adherents. Continue reading →
Those who own the wealth of nations take care to downplay the immensity of their holdings while emphasizing the supposedly benign features of the socio-economic order over which they preside. With its regiments of lawmakers and opinion-makers, the ruling hierarchs produce a never-ending cavalcade of symbols, images, and narratives to disguise and legitimate the system of exploitative social relations existing between the 1% and the 99%.
For the second consecutive day Turkish military forces bombarded Syria’s border region with artillery. Several Syrian soldiers are reported dead from the assault in the Tel Abyad district. Civilians have also suffered injuries, according to unconfirmed video footage, despite Turkish claims that its forces are using military “rules of engagement” and radar to select targets.
In the week Barack Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, he ordered bombing attacks on Yemen, killing a reported 63 people, 28 of them children. When Obama recently announced he supported same-sex marriage, American planes had not long blown 14 Afghan civilians to bits. In both cases, the mass murder was barely news. What mattered were the cynical vacuities of a political celebrity, the product of a zeitgeist driven by the forces of consumerism and the media with the aim of diverting the struggle for social and economic justice.
Fugitive Iraqi Vice President Tareq Al Hashemi, who is wanted on terrorism charges in Iraq, has fled to Saudi Arabia amid growing controversy over the role of the Gulf monarchies in the region’s volatile geopolitics.
Hashemi, a leading Sunni politician, is facing charges that he ran death squads at the height of the Shia-Sunni sectarian conflict in Iraq, which saw thousands killed, during the US-led nine-year occupation of that country. Hashemi denies the charges, but the authorities in Baghdad claim they have evidence that he personally directed Sunni death squads.
The war in Afghanistan—where the enemy is elusive and rarely seen, where the cultural and linguistic disconnect makes every trip outside the wire a visit to hostile territory, where it is clear that you are losing despite the vast industrial killing machine at your disposal—feeds the culture of atrocity. The fear and stress, the anger and hatred, reduce all Afghans to the enemy, and this includes women, children and the elderly. Civilians and combatants merge into one detested nameless, faceless mass. The psychological leap to murder is short. And murder happens every day in Afghanistan. It happens in drone strikes, artillery bombardments, airstrikes, missile attacks and the withering suppressing fire unleashed in villages from belt-fed machine guns.
Love, the deepest human commitment, the force that defies empirical examination and yet is the defining and most glorious element in human life, the love between two people, between children and parents, between friends, between partners, reminds us of why we have been created for our brief sojourns on the planet. Those who cannot love—and I have seen these deformed human beings in the wars and conflicts I covered—are spiritually and emotionally dead. They affirm themselves through destruction, first of others and then, finally, of themselves. Those incapable of love never live.
From beginning to end, Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech was replete with delusion and falsifications. His promise of building an “America that lasts” was predicated on a sentimental, but utterly disingenuous notion of selfless teamwork. The invocation of American military “heroes” and their “achievements” during nine years of waging war on Iraq as an exemplar of how to salvage his nation from economic and social catastrophe was both sickening and laughable.