Local Guns Vs. Global War

by William Skink

While gun control in Missoula is chugging along, war control on the global stage remains berserker. In extending the Afghanistan war (to achieve what exactly?!) both Bernie and Hillary agree that more America warmongering is needed. Here’s the skinny from HuffPo:

WASHINGTON — Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said Sunday that he supports President Barack Obama’s decision to keep troops in Afghanistan, prolonging the war beyond 2016.

Obama announced last week that he would keep 5,500 U.S. troops in Afghanistan after he leaves office in 2017, breaking his promise to end the war during his tenure. He originally planned to maintain only a small military presence based at the U.S. embassy there.

During an interview on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday morning, host George Stephanopoulos asked Sanders, a Democratic presidential candidate, whether he backs keeping U.S. troops in the country.

“Well, yeah, I won’t give you the exact number. Clearly, we do not want to see the Taliban gain more power, and I think we need a certain nucleus of American troops present in Afghanistan to try to provide the training and support the Afghan army needs,” he said.

Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton also said Friday that she thought Obama had made “the right decision.”

Of course they do.

So where is the anti-war vote supposed to go? Considering our options it’s pretty clear: no where.

During the first Democratic debate, which I did not watch, Bernie gave Hillary some cover over the email scandal. Here’s the exchange:

“Let me say something that may not be great politics,” Sanders said. “I think that the secretary is right.”

“The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails!” Sanders said, as the audience cheered.

“Me too, me too,” Clinton said, laughing.

“Enough of the emails — let’s talk about the real issues facing America!” Sanders said.

“Thank-you, Bernie,” Clinton said.

The only thing missing from this back and forth is Hillary patting her sheepdog, Bernie, on the head for being a good boy. Bernie, declaring a sentiment he wrongly attributes to the entirety of the American people regarding Hillary’s deceitful use of a private email account, is just doing his duty.

The problem isn’t just emails and the partisan obsession over Benghazi. If one steps back for a little perspective, the problem is that Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State, presided over the utter destruction of Africa’s best hope for Democracy. If you’re surprised that one would associate Libya with the concept of “Democracy”, please read this:

Contrary to popular belief, Libya, which western media routinely described as “Gaddafi’s military dictatorship” was in actual fact one of the world’s most democratic States.

Under Gaddafi’s unique system of direct democracy, traditional institutions of government were disbanded and abolished, and power belonged to the people directly through various committees and congresses.

Far from control being in the hands of one man, Libya was highly decentralized and divided into several small communities that were essentially “mini-autonomous States” within a State. These autonomous States had control over their districts and could make a range of decisions including how to allocate oil revenue and budgetary funds. Within these mini autonomous States, the three main bodies of Libya’s democracy were Local Committees, Basic People’s Congresses and Executive Revolutionary Councils.

The Basic People’s Congress (BPC), or Mu’tamar shaʿbi asāsi was essentially Libya’s functional equivalent of the House of Commons in the United Kingdom or the House of Representatives in the United States. However, Libya’s People’s Congress was not comprised merely of elected representatives who discussed and proposed legislation on behalf of the people; rather, the Congress allowed all Libyans to directly participate in this process. Eight hundred People’s Congresses were set up across the country and all Libyans were free to attend and shape national policy and make decisions over all major issues including budgets, education, industry, and the economy.

In 2009, Mr. Gaddafi invited the New York Times to Libya to spend two weeks observing the nation’s direct democracy. The New York Times, that has traditionally been highly critical of Colonel Gaddafi’s democratic experiment, conceded that in Libya, the intention was that “everyone is involved in every decision…Tens of thousands of people take part in local committee meetings to discuss issues and vote on everything from foreign treaties to building schools.”

The fundamental difference between western democratic systems and the Libyan Jamahiriya’s direct democracy is that in Libya all citizens were allowed to voice their views directly – not in one parliament of only a few hundred wealthy politicians – but in hundreds of committees attended by tens of thousands of ordinary citizens. Far from being a military dictatorship, Libya under Mr. Gaddafi was Africa’s most prosperous democracy.

What a terrifying degree of Democracy Libya was experiencing. Thankfully Hillary helped put a stop to this by joyously celebrating the execution of Gaddafi. Here’s a bit more from that same link:

Tuesday marks the four-year anniversary of the US-backed assassination of Libya’s former leader, Muammar Gaddafi, and the decline into chaos of one of Africa’s greatest nations.

In 1967 Colonel Gaddafi inherited one of the poorest nations in Africa; by the time he was assassinated, he had transformed Libya into Africa’s richest nation. Prior to the US-led bombing campaign in 2011, Libya had the highest Human Development Index, the lowest infant mortality and the highest life expectancy in all of Africa.

Today, Libya is a failed state. Western military intervention has caused all of the worst-scenarios: Western embassies have all left, the South of the country has become a haven for ISIS terrorists, and the Northern coast a center of migrant trafficking. Egypt, Algeria and Tunisia have all closed their borders with Libya. This all occurs amidst a backdrop of widespread rape, assassinations and torture that complete the picture of a state that is failed to the bone.

All this foreign stuff is just fodder for this humble little blog. Apparently I pay attention to this shit so that others don’t have to.

To illustrate this point, I’d like to include a back and forth I had over at ID with Pete Talbot. For context, the post was a lament that the GOP was hating on Missoula:

Skink: why whine about the predictable reaction from Republicans? this is part of the cost of picking this fight at the municipal level. so go ahead and close this loophole within city limits. sure, the gun show may go elsewhere, but it’s worth it. Missoula further solidifies its “liberal” reputation, which doesn’t help when it comes to going hat-in-hand to legislator, but it’s worth it.

Talbot: Why so angry, liz?

Skink: are victims of American gun violence more important than foreign victims of American wars?

Talbot: Both are abhorrent. What a ludicrous question. Is sexual assault worse than a hate crime? Is killing the planet through man-made climate change worse than nuking it to pieces? What’s with these absurd comparisons.? Gun violence is the issue before the city right now. Next week it could be a peace rally in Caras Park. One doesn’t have to pick and choose issues, but to act on them as they arise.

Skink: criticizing America’s foreign policy of killing poor brown people in places like Yemen doesn’t help elect Democrats because Democrats are responsible for that violence. gun regulation, on the other hand, fires up the base, so it’s no wonder you focus on that and ignore the violence America uses across the globe.

Talbot: “(I) ignore the violence America uses across the globe?” I leave those weighty matters to you and your friends at Reptile Dysfunction. As I’ve mentioned before, I try to keep most of my posts focused on local and statewide matters – issues that Montanans can actually affect – with an occasional foray into international events. But to accuse me of personally ignoring global violence? How arrogant. While I’m deeply disturbed by the events in Syria, Yemen, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan … and America’s role in those tragedies, I’ll continue to write about issues closer to home. There are hundreds of sites out there already, Reptile Dysfunction included, that tackle foreign policy.

Pete won’t express his opinion on the Democrat consensus to extend the war in Afghanistan because he is a defeatist who automatically assumes Montanans can’t “actually affect” this issue. I doubt his generation had the same sentiment toward the Vietnam War, back in the day. What changed?

What changed is the mechanisms of controlling dissent. With both parties controlled and corporate media compliant, dissent is relegated to the marginalized fringes no one takes seriously.

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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27 Responses to Local Guns Vs. Global War

  1. JC says:

    Can’t say what might have changed with Pete. We’re both of the same generation. But back in the day, we had “anti-war” protests at the front gates of military bases like Malmstrom, and protests and vigils around nuclear silos. And marches in the street. Now he talks peace rallies in the park.

    Growing up in Great Falls, with the large military presence on parade there (and I grew up in a military family), you’d see the motto of the Strategic Air Command: “Peace is our Profession” pretty much everywhere, on every piece of equipment, cars, trucks, uniforms, billboards, etc. It was the propaganda statement of all propaganda statements.

    I can easily imagine Air Force bomber squadrons attending those Caras Park peace vigils and feel right at home. Having them show up for an old-school anti-war protest… not so much. And I think that most people know what I think of the Missoula “peace” movement. Which is to say, I don’t think much of it. I guess some people as they grow older would much rather profess what they are for (“peace”) than be adamant about what they are against (war), and take action accordingly.

    • petetalbot says:

      Man, I hate these tit-for-tats but feel the need to respond. First, JC, I don’t think I’ve changed that much – a little less hair and a few pounds heavier. I attended two Easter protests at Malmstrom. I didn’t cross the white line at the gate, so I never got arrested. Maybe that makes me a piker, but I’d be gladly attend any “anti-war” event scheduled in the region. I don’t see much action in that arena, though. I’d love to see some analysis as to why there isn’t a strong movement now. Maybe you or Skink could tackle that. I might even take a stab at it.
      Also, Skink says, “Pete won’t express his opinion on the Democrat consensus to extend the war in Afghanistan because he is a defeatist who automatically assumes Montanans can’t “actually affect” this issue.”
      My opinion is, except for humanitarian missions, we should get the hell out of the Middle East. No more troops. No more drones. No more weapon sales. But as I’ve written for the umpteenth time, I tend to post on Montana issues and rally folks around those. To intimate that I won’t express an opinion because I’m some sort of Democrat lackey is disingenuous. For the most part, I leave these foreign policy discussions to this and other sites.

      • JC says:

        Pete, how is the fact that our tax dollars (and increased public debt) are being siphoned off to fight wars, and do regime change not a “Montana issue?”

        I could go on and on about why there isn’t an anti-war movement in Missoula. Here’s just a few appetizers: the Jeanette Rankin Peace Center is not an anti-war leader any more; propaganda is effective; universities (once the hotbed of anti-war sentiment) turn out debt slaves unwilling to buck the system, instead of educating people to be free-thinkers; people are more interested in internet-based social media than they are in banding together in affinity groups to affect change…

      • you make it sound like Montanans don’t fight and die in wars, Pete. I couldn’t find current names of Afghanistan war causalities, but here’s the names of Montana soldiers killed in and around Afghanistan from 4 years ago:

        Pfc. Kristofor T. Stonesifer, Missoula, 28, U.S. Army. Died on Oct. 20, 2001, of injuries sustained Oct. 19 in a Blackhawk helicopter crash in Pakistan – along with another soldier killed in the crash, one of the first two Americans to lose their lives in the Afghanistan war.

        First Lt. Joshua M. Hyland, 31, Missoula, U.S. Army. Killed on Aug. 21, 2005, in a roadside bombing attack in Baylough.

        Sgt. Trevor J. Johson, 23, Forsyth, U.S. Marine Corps. Killed on Jan. 27, 2009, in a bomb blast in Helmand Province.

        Sgt. Terry J. Lynch, Shepherd, 22, U.S. Army. Killed on June 29, 2009, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle in Wardak Province.
        Aviation Electronics Technician Airman Andrew S. Charpentier, 21, Great Falls, U.S. Navy. Died on July 23, 2009, in a Miami, Fla., hospital of a non-combat related illness incurred while assigned to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

        Staff Sgt. Thaddeus S. Montgomery II, 29, West Yellowstone, U.S. Army. Died on Jan. 20, 2010, at Korengal Outpost, of non-combat related injuries that remain under investigation.

        Sgt. Jeremiah T. Wittman, 26, Darby, U.S. Army. Killed on Feb. 13, 2010, along with two other soldiers in Zhari Province when enemy forces attacked their unit with an improvised explosive device.

        Pvt. Nicholas S. Cook, 19, Hungry Horse, U.S. Army. Killed on March 7, 2010, when insurgents attacked his unit in Konar Province using small arms fire.

        Spc. Jonathan A. Pilgeram, 22, Great Falls, U.S. Army. Killed on Feb. 17, 2011, in Konar Province when insurgents attacked his unit using small arms fire.

        Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders want to add more names to this list. if you oppose that, like you say you do, how hard would it be for you to write a post about it? don’t use this blog’s focus on foreign policy to justify your decision to not publicly denounce Democrat warmongering at ID.

  2. steve kelly says:

    Emotional compartmentalization is a common defense mechanism used to cope with cognitive dissonance. When discrepancy exists between beliefs and behaviors the ego suffers. Something must change in order to eliminate or reduce the dissonance, or create an illusion of internal consistency. Bill Clinton was a master of compartmentalization. In today’s political reality there’s really no better way to rationalize one’s “meaningful” participation. The rest is history.

  3. Big Swede says:

    I prefer war waged on an economic scale. Dept. of energy just approved the exporting of Natural Gas via a port in Florida.

    “The Palm Beach terminal will add to the local property tax base, create construction jobs, and improve trade relations with friendly governments, according to the Department of Energy. The DOE gave no exact estimates for how many jobs the Palm Beach export terminal would create, but a previously approved Maryland export facility is expected to create 14,600 jobs and reduced the trade deficit by $7 billion every year…

    Global demand for natural gas is expected to be 50 percent higher by 2035 than it is now, but shipping gas to European or Asian markets requires liquefying or compressing the fuel — a costly process. But companies are willing to pay up now in order to sell gas abroad where prices are much higher.”-Daily Caller.

  4. steve kelly says:

    Right on, Swede. All part of the brilliant U.S.-neocon plan to “fuck the EU” with higher gas prices, and fuck Russia simultaneously. Of course, there’s no chance any of this could backfire. Ain’t war great?

    • JC says:

      I hear them Ruskis got tactical nukes in their subs. Shouldn’t be much trouble to take out them LNG transports if things get rough. Of course, all them Ruski pipelines headed to Europe are pretty easy targets, too. It’d probably take a couple days of bombing to put Europe back into the dark ages… literally.

      Syria? Nothing more than a battle over who gets to run another oil conduit to Mediterranean terminals for Europe. Saudi/Qatar or Iran/Russia? Couple more tactical nukes will take care of that economic war.

      No Swede, economic war is just a way to goad your competitor into overreacting, so that you can overreact back. Remember the oil embargo on Japan? Goaded them right into attacking Pearl Harbor. And that was our plan all along, so that we would have a reason to declare war, where the real (military-industrial complex) economic plan takes shape.

  5. Liam says:

    What’s the source on that quote explaing Libyan democracy?

  6. Big Swede says:

    By the way a Russian bomber just took out a Syrian field hospital. You guys probably didn’t hear anything about it. 13 dead.


    • JC says:

      Got any verification of that, or is it just propaganda? From your link:

      “Our initial reports from the ground show that we have lost two hospital staff, a physiotherapist and a nurse,” the staffer said in an emailed statement.

      Speaking on condition of anonymity, she did not specify whether the strikes were conducted by Russian warplanes.

      • Big Swede says:

        Ever ask yourself that when the US strikes a hospital or downs an airliner it’s immediately known and yet when Russia does the same the truth comes out a year or years later.

        • JC says:

          I’m sure that the U.S. has made many, many strikes which are unknown, and the truth has yet to surface. And as Russia continues to fight our terrorists in Syria, there most likely be much “collateral damage.” Such be war. But while there are physical, shooting wars going on in many places, the information war is perpetual and omnipresent.

          One always needs to verify facts from different angles before forming an opinion. The U.S. admitted to bombing the hospital in Afghanistan, most likely because there was too much evidence to blame it on another group. It may well come out that the Russians did strike a field hospital.

          As you’re a god-fearing christian, i’ll remind you of a bit of gospel by “Matthew” in the King James:

          “Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”

    • JC says:

      Got any verification on that story coming from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights? By the way, here is what your buddies at Mises.org have to say about SOHR:

      Close to 99 percent of the mainstream media articles on Syria rely on a single source, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. It is a one-man operation in London run by Rami Abdulrahman, whose day job is running a small clothing shop. Once again, one man and an NGO have been able to ignite international opinion in favor of “humanitarian” intervention. It would do us well to more closely examine the role of the NGOs in promoting international conflict, particularly the governments behind them.

  7. steve kelly says:

    When Zbig starts whining sombody’s doing something right.

    “Former US National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, the man largely responsible for the creation of Al Qaeda, expressed his frustration with the fact that Russia was targeting Al Qaeda as well as ISIS through his twitter account. Pro-NATO media has all but forgotten its war with Al Qaeda, and avoids any mention of its existence preferring to concentrate on ISIS instead.” – Maram Susli

  8. I love when you talk about propaganda. Here’s what the New York Times article your terrible citation actually says about Libya under Qadaffi:

    Colonel Qaddafi’s idea is that representative democracy is inadequate because it involves citizens assigning their rights and responsibilities to someone else. In Libya, the theory goes, everyone is involved in every decision. People meet in committees and vote on everything from foreign treaties to building schools.
    Authoritarian leaders all over the world take steps to create a veneer of democracy. In Egypt, for example, there are elections, though there is never any doubt that the governing party will win.
    Libya outdoes almost all of them.
    Here, tens of thousands of people take part in meetings to discuss issues that are decided by a small group at the top, with all direction coming from the Brother Leader.
    “He makes the decisions,” said a high-ranking diplomat in Tripoli, the capital, who is not being identified to avoid compromising his ability to work here. “He is the only one who knows.”

    Spare us the lectures on propaganda and foreign policy until you can learn to read. Christ. To argue with a straight face that Libya was not only a democracy, but one of the “most democratic” countries in the world is breathtakingly ignorant.

    • is that the same New York Times that reported weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? is it the same New York Times that’s trying to absurdly depict the meeting between Assad and Putin as “chilly“?

      I have no doubt Libya had problems before Hillary screeched in and turned it into a failed state, but if you read that article, you will notice that Gaddafi wanted to abolish the government and give oil money directly to Libyans. that didn’t happen, which is strange, because Gaddafi is an evil dictator who should be able to do whatever he wants. sorry, was an evil dictator. now he’s dead and Libya is fucked, but I doubt that will stop you from voting for Hillary once she dispenses with her sheepdog.

      • You do realize that you used a secondhand claim from the New York Times to support your absurd claim that Libya was a model democracy? Does that mean that the Times is only a tool of the imperialist elite when it fits your agenda to say so? Or that it’s not, when you willfully misread it?

        Come on. Hold your views of the world, but at least pretend to offer them with a modicum of intellectual honesty.

  9. Pingback: On Amphibian Onanism and Reading Comprehension: Libyan Democracy! | Intelligent Discontent

  10. Still haven’t even bothered to correct the post, I see. Please give us more lectures about the propaganda.

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