“Years of air strikes, drone-operated killings, and covert operations have brought neither peace nor safety to the region and its people. Estimates of the death toll from U.S. attacks in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia alone range from 3,100 to 5,400, including 570-1,200 civilians. Precise figures are impossible to obtain since the strikes remain classified, and investigating drone attacks is difficult and dangerous work. Nor has the drone campaign halted the proliferation of groups seeking to link their — usually local — agendas to the idea of a global struggle represented by al-Qaeda. Indiscriminate killing — and the constant fear of death from above — has only destroyed communities and provided easy recruitment material for extremist groups.”
— An unwinnable war continues
11:10 pm • 18 September 2014 • 60 notes
“My generation was set up to believe that there was such an American dream that would allow for a good, progressive lifestyle and a good job. We worked very hard for it — AP classes, SATs, GREs, very competitive college entrance and graduate school, and then we found out there was nothing left for us to compete for; it was all a ruse. I think these people for the first time figured out how to critique the system that they had once set out to fit in to, or to remold.”
— Cecily McMillan
8:48 pm • 16 September 2014 • 88 notes
“Who can believe America is a force for good in that part of the world when we have just blown the whole place up – and left a failed state in our wake?”
— Andrew Sullivan
8:48 pm • 15 September 2014 • 1 note
Critique from an Obama fan
“America will lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat,” Obama declared in his speech Wednesday night. He described it as a “counterterrorism campaign” that would “degrade and ultimately destroy” ISIS.
There’s some inconsistency there. Counterterrorism is the right prism through which to approach this, rather than all-out war, but it’s unlikely to destroy ISIS any more than it did the Taliban or militancy in Yemen.
Indeed, the president, in his speech, said that his strategy in Syria “is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years.” That’s a plausible comparison, but Obama may be the only person in the world who would cite conflict-torn Yemen and Somalia as triumphs. […]
“We’re going to war because we’ve been spooked,” notes Joshua Landis, a Syria specialist at the University of Oklahoma. “But if we do it wrong, we could ensure that the violence spreads.”
8:54 pm • 14 September 2014
“With so many large and growing problems in the world – hunger, disease, climate change, homelessness, chronic unemployment – why are America’s leading tech companies, each overflowing with talent and creativity and with hundreds of billions of dollars to spare, coming up with such trivial solutions to non-problems?”
— Robert Reich
8:48 pm • 14 September 2014 • 59 notes
“To recap: we are going to war with no clear exit plan; we are doing so before the regional allies have been forced to take a stand; Obama is shouldering all of the responsibility himself, based on a hysterical public mood that could evaporate in a month’s time. To argue that this is a reneging of everything Obama ran on is an understatement. Even Bush went to Congress for a vote before the Iraq War. And the legitimization of panic and fear and hysteria undoes so much of what Obama had previously achieved in amending US foreign policy.”
— The Nightmare Scenario
5:36 pm • 13 September 2014 • 22 notes
“A ‘Freedom Tower’ cannot exist in a surveillance state. This place is freedom’s antithesis.”
— Life atop Ground Zero
10:42 am • 12 September 2014
Of the 680,000 people caught up in the government’s Terrorist Screening Database—a watchlist of “known or suspected terrorists” that is shared with local law enforcement agencies, private contractors, and foreign governments—more than 40 percent are described by the government as having “no recognized terrorist group affiliation.” That category—280,000 people—dwarfs the number of watchlisted people suspected of ties to al Qaeda, Hamas, and Hezbollah combined.
The documents, obtained from a source in the intelligence community, also reveal that the Obama Administration has presided over an unprecedented expansion of the terrorist screening system. Since taking office, Obama has boosted the number of people on the no fly list more than ten-fold, to an all-time high of 47,000—surpassing the number of people barred from flying under George W. Bush.
“If everything is terrorism, then nothing is terrorism,” says David Gomez, a former senior FBI special agent. The watchlisting system, he adds, is “revving out of control.”
12:20 pm • 6 August 2014