“A writer’s notebook is not a diary. Writers react. Writers need a place to record these reactions. That’s what a writer’s notebook is for. It gives you a place to write down what makes you angry or sad or amazed, to write down what you noticed and don’t want to forget. A writer’s notebook gives you a place to live like a writer.” - Ralph Fletcher

 


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A counter-insurgency (or counter-terrorist) effort that is not democratically regulated with the sober influence of popular oversight will soon degenerate into human rights abuses and institutional tyranny.

Manny Jalonschi 

(Source: politicususa.com)


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If you’re not inside the National Security Complex, it may be just a tad hard to grasp how “due process” could mean a secret process of review in the White House presided over by a president with a “kill list” (whose legal justification, laid out by the Justice Department, cannot be made public). And yet that is, as far as we can tell, indeed the claim.

Tom Engelhardt

(Source: tomdispatch.com)


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The ACLU estimates that US drone strikes have killed as many as 4,000 people in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia since 2002. Of those, a significant proportion were civilians.


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…a counter-insurgency (or counter-terrorist) effort that is not democratically regulated with the sober influence of popular oversight will soon degenerate into human rights abuses and institutional tyranny. For example, also noted in the New York Times piece is the remarkably low “civilian death toll” from our hundreds of drone strikes. Here a lack of democratic oversight led to a convenient, almost Orwellian, change of language that allowed the American public to imagine their drone program wasn’t massacring its way through civilians in central Asia.

Manny Jalonschi

(Source: politicususa.com)


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—assassination has been thoroughly institutionalized, normalized, and bureaucratized around the figure of the president. Without the help of or any oversight from the American people or their elected representatives, he alone is now responsible for regular killings thousands of miles away, including those of civilians and even children. He is, in other words, if not a king, at least the king of American assassinations. On that score, his power is total and completely unchecked. He can prescribe death for anyone “nominated,” choosing any of the “baseball cards” (PowerPoint bios) on that kill list and then order the drones to take them (or others in the neighborhood) out.

He and he alone can decide that assassinating known individuals isn’t enough and that the CIA’s drones can instead strike at suspicious “patterns of behavior” on the ground in Yemen or Pakistan. He can stop any attack, any killing, but there is no one, nor any mechanism that can stop him. An American global killing machine (quite literally so, given that growing force of drones) is now at the beck and call of a single, unaccountable individual. This is the nightmare the founding fathers tried to protect us from.


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Since 2004, between 2,464 and 3,145 people are reported to have been killed by US drone attacks in Pakistan, of whom up to 828 were civilians and 175 children. Some Pakistani estimates put the civilian death toll much higher.

Seumas Milne

(Source: todayonline.com)


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Predators and Reapers are President Barack Obama’s weapons of choice and coercion, deployed only on the territory of troublesome US allies, such as Pakistan and Yemen—and the drone war is Mr Obama’s war.

Seumas Milne

(Source: todayonline.com)


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If we’re going to win our never-ending war against terror, there are bound to be casualties, and one of them just happens to be the Constitution.

Stephen Colbert

(Source: truth-out.org)


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The American people are tired of war, particularly the “boots on the ground” kind where Americans are killed. However, they seem content to conduct war by other means, i.e. drones. One poll shows that eight out of ten Americans support the use of lethal drones. That’s because drones have been posed as a cheap alternative for killing our enemies that puts no American lives at risk and only hits the “bad guys.” In reality, they are not all that cheap (especially since they are constantly crashing), they kill lots of innocent people, and while they don’t put pilots at risk, they stir up anti-American sentiment and provoke new attacks against us. Drones may seem like “war made easy,” but that’s precisely the problem. War should not be easy, and drone attacks just guarantee that we will keep making new enemies faster than we can kill them.

Medea Benjamin

(Source: truth-out.org)


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Most Democratic praise for “Obama’s foreign policy successes” fails even to acknowledge, let alone condemn, the thousands of innocent people whose lives have been extinguished by his militarism. These deaths simply do not exist in their world. When you force them to address it, they’ll simply dismiss it away with the military terminology first popularized by Timothy McVeigh (that’s just “collateral damage”) and then quickly return to the Bush-era mantra of mindlessly invoking the word “Terrorism” to justify whatever violence the U.S. Government commits.

Glenn Greenwald

(Source: salon.com)