Tag Archives: terrorism

Syria and our educational system: A discussion with Noam Chomsky, Richard Falk, Lawrence Davidson and Ilan Pappé

Syria and our educational system: A discussion with Noam Chomsky, Richard Falk, Lawrence Davidson and Ilan Pappé

PAPPÉ: While in the American academia the knowledge production on the Middle East in general and Syria in particular has been considerably transformed in recent years, the dissemination of these more updated views fails to reach the conventional educational system. For two main reasons: Politics can still subdue and censor views that are not endorsed ideologically, and academics have still not learned how to write openly, directly and, one should say, courageously about these issues.”

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Guantánamo: The President could close it tomorrow if he really wants to

Guantánamo: The President could close it tomorrow if he really wants to

“Congress did amend the National Defense Authorization Act three years ago to prohibit funding for the transfer of any Guantánamo detainee to the U.S. It also prohibited funding for transfers to other countries, unless the Defense Secretary personally certified that the transferred detainee would never engage in terrorist activity. Because no one can give such a personal assurance, that provision effectively blocked transfers. But Congress then amended the law to allow the Secretary to waive that requirement and to transfer detainees to other countries if he finds (1) that the receiving country will take steps to ‘substantially mitigate’ the risk that the detainee will engage in terrorist activity, and (2) that the transfer is in U.S. national security interests.”

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Moral & Legal Challenges of Drone Warfare

Peace Policy

Ethicists and international legal experts speaking at the Kroc Institute conference (March 19-21) raised concerns about the implications of drone warfare. Martin Cook(U.S. Naval War College) noted that drone weapons reduce the risk to U.S. forces and result in fewer civilian casualties, but they may increase the temptation to use force. They may be “tactically smart but strategically dumb,” he said.

The justifications for drone warfare offered by Obama administration officials invoke the jus ad bellum and jus in bello criteria of just war doctrine, presenters said, but they fail to mention the core principle at the heart of this doctrine:  the presumption against the use of force. Just war principles of discrimination and last resort are often cited in rhetoric but are frequently violated in practice.

Under jus ad bellum criteria, Jennifer Welsh (Oxford University) argued, military force can be used only under very specific and necessary circumstances: …

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Can we wage a just drone war

Can we wage a just drone war

“In short, there is no clear end game of the drone campaign against Al-Qaeda, but rather, an endless cycle of perceived threat, drone strikes, inevitable collateral damage, and mutual animosity. The successes lauded by Brennan in his speech may be but a Pyrrhic victory. By their very nature, drones remove the human element because they are operated from far away and all but eliminate any positive contact with local populations. This may greatly diminish the risk to U.S. personnel, but it also makes making peace almost impossible. If drones are to be effective, they need to be part of a clearly defined strategy where non-lethal measures are the priority, and drone strikes are a last resort. Just because they are easy to use and very effective at killing does not mean they should be used in lieu of other options.”

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In a Nation in Decline, a Lust for Hatred

In a Nation in Decline, a Lust for Hatred

“In our decline, hatred becomes our primary lust, our highest form of patriotism and a form of eroticism. We are made supine by hatred and fear. We deploy vast resources to hunt down jihadists and terrorists, real and phantom. We destroy our civil society in the name of a war on terror. We persecute those, from Julian Assange to Bradley Manning to Edward Snowden, who expose the dark machinations of power. We believe, because we have externalized evil, that we can purify the earth. We are blind to the evil within us. Melville’s description of Ahab is a description of the bankers, corporate boards, politicians, television personalities and generals who through the power of propaganda fill our heads with seductive images of glory and lust for wealth and power. We are consumed with self-induced obsessions that spur us toward self-annihilation.”

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