Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

Friday, March 10, 2006

AEGIS INVOLVED IN TESTS TO GIVE U.S. FIRST-STRIKE CAPABILITY


The U.S. and Japan tested a new Theatre Missile Defense (TMD) technology Wednesday off the coast of Hawaii. A missile was launched by an Aegis cruiser and successfully deployed a new Japanese-designed nose cone.

These developments indicate that U.S. and Japan's efforts to expand joint military operations in the Asian-Pacific region are moving ahead. The U.S. is now pressuring Japan to get rid of their constitutional prohibition against having an offensive military. Together, the U.S. and Japan are now preparing a major military escalation in the region that is like a dart pointed at the heart of China.

China today has 20 nuclear missiles capable of hitting the west coast of the U.S. The U.S. has over 7,500 nuclear weapons. The new TMD technologies under development by the U.S. and Japan are intended to make it possible for China's 20 nuclear missiles to be taken out during an attack. The idea is that the Aegis destroyer would be based in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, thus giving the U.S. the ability to virtually surround China's coastal region. Add to that the new permanent military bases the U.S. is now building in Afghanistan, right on China's inland border. These bases would also be outfitted with ground-based TMD systems. Together, along with planned airborne and space-based systems, the U.S. plan is to be able to launch a preemptive first-strike attack on China and then take out China's retaliatory response by using the new TMD interceptors.

At the U.S. Space Command, during the past couple of years, they have been war gaming this first strike attack on China. Set in the year 2016, the U.S. launches the attack and then attempts to pick off China's anemic nuclear response.

These joint U.S. and Japanese TMD operations are helping to increase tensions in the region and are forcing China to make defensive military build-ups along their border regions.

It should be remembered that not long ago, Japan was the fascist imperial power in the region that invaded Manchuria, China and Korea that helped kick-off World War II. The Japanese were known to have killed large numbers of civilians during their brutal occupations of these countries. Japan blew up one of its own
trains in September of 1931, blaming it on China, and using it as a pretext to invade Manchuria. The incident was used to justify the invasion on the grounds that Japanese interests had to be protected from assaults by the Chinese. (Sound familiar?)

So the U.S. and Japan are now playing an old game. They are moving to militarize the region, as China defensively responds, the U.S. accuses China of trying to control the region. China gets surrounded, tensions rise and at some point the fuse gets lit. An explosion happens and China will get blamed. The U.S. and Japan do not intend to let China become a major power without first trying to control her. As the Washington Post said in 2001, the U.S. will now double our military presence in the Asian-Pacific region so that "we" can "manage" China.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

WHO IS THE CUT AND RUN CROWD?


Last night I was invited to an Iraq war debate at the University of Southern Maine in Portland. I debated on behalf of the College Democrats, while the College Republicans picked a graduate student as their debater. The Greens were also represented in the event.

The Republican debater basically named called and character assassinated the peace movement all night long. He called anyone who disagreed with Bush enemy "collaborators" and named us the "cut and run crowd".

I responded to this nonsense by saying that a recent Zogby Poll showed 72% of GI's in Iraq now say they want to come home. I also noted that USA Today reported 8,000 U.S. military personnel have deserted since the start of the war. The cut and run crowd all......

At another point the Repub debater used the words "We suffer and incur" from the war in Iraq. In a defensive moment, he was pandering and trying to show some kind of solidarity with the GI's in Iraq. This really made me angry and when I had my turn I said that those promoting this war are not "suffering and incurring" anything at all. They are not in Iraq, their children are not going to Iraq, AND the Repubs are making sure that the very rich in the U.S. are getting major league tax cuts. This war I said is being fought by the working class who have to join the military in hopes of a job and the chance for college money. The rich are making the bucks on this war that is being fought for control of diminishing natural resources......The poor get nothing but cutbacks at home and American flags to drape the coffins of returning kids.

Even though I was debating on behalf of the College Dems, I had to be fair and acknowledge that the Democratic party has been a full partner in the war. While admitting there are some noble Dems, like Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA)who have introduced legislation calling for a cut in funding for the war, most Dems keep voting for the war. I challenged the Dems in the audience to sharpen the debate within their own party if we hoped to end this war.

Yesterday I read that former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich said Bush's "Long war" would last at least 70 years. At over $8 billion a month, just how will we pay for this war and still have social progress in America?

The time is now to speak out.....

Monday, March 06, 2006

WHY DO WE STAY IN IRAQ?


National polls are showing today that 80% of the American people believe there is now civil war in Iraq. The majority now believes we must leave Iraq.

The poll found that 56 percent also say the United States is not making significant progress toward restoring civil order in Iraq -- a 17-point drop in optimism since December and the most pessimistic reading on this question since it was first asked in June, 2004.

Our Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) is in Iraq and held a "town hall meeting" with Maine National Guard soldiers stationed there. Sounds like the peace movement will have to dress up in Army uniforms before we are able to get our senator to meet with us.

Our friend Dexter Kamilewicz, who has announced his candidacy to run for Congress as an Independent, has a son in Iraq with the Vermont National Guard. Dexter's son Ben came home last week on leave after seven horrid months in Iraq. He returns this week for another five months. In a letter Dexter sent out to supporters Dexter said, "Ben flew home on an airplane crowded with wounded soldiers with lost limbs, disfigured faces, debilitating concussions, and horrific wounds that won’t heal in a lifetime, but nobody sees them, nobody is allowed to see them. There are tens of thousands of them."

Dexter concluded his letter by saying, "Our Maine Congressional Delegation is responsible for the War in Iraq as they vote to fund it. It is impossible to say that you are against the war when you fund it – such is the problem with politicians speaking out of both sides of their mouths. Those who vote to fund an illegal, immoral, cruel war have blood on their hands. Our politicians’ votes to fund the war results in more death and destruction on an ever widening basis, more American deaths and returning soldiers with baggage that we are unprepared to deal with, no health care plan, no retirement benefits, degradation of the planet, higher taxes – just endless, mindless war, and no future. Why?"

Why? Permanent bases to control oil....profits for the weapons corporations....kick-backs (called campaign donations from the weapons industry) to politicians.....belief in empire.....

Are we in Iraq, like my local Congressman Tom Allen (D-ME) says, to prevent a civil war? What will be the next excuse the politicians use to justify permanent occupation? Who will be fooled into voting again for these policians who deceive us so?