By Kevin Zeese
Mike Ferner, the president of Veterans for Peace, was speaking outside the White House calling for a "culture of resistance" against U.S. wars. His organization was leading a protest outside the White House at the same moment that President Obama was inside announcing the continuation of the Afghanistan War.
Pulitzer Prize winning war correspondent and author Chris Hedges, who has seen more war than most vets, joined in the call for action. He adapted President Obama's campaign of hope and change, urging everyone not to wait for Obama, but to take action: "Hope will only come now when we physically defy the violence of the state. All who resist, all who are here today keep hope alive. All who succumb to fear, despair and apathy become an enemy of hope. They become in their passivity agencies of injustice." Hedges urged actions, large and small, against the corporate-government's militarism.
As Obama spoke inside the warm White House, outside in the snow 131 veterans and their supporters defied authorities, some chained themselves to the White House fence, others refused to leave when ordered by police. They were arrested. Many promised continued acts of resistance. Some, from other movements, like Margaret Flowers, MD of the single payer health care movement, urged solidarity as resistance is needed on many issues mishandled by corporate-government. The seeds of resistance had been planted.
The watering of that seed was coming from Obama's false words and the truth escaping from his government's secrecy. He proclaimed progress in the Afghanistan War. But, the front page of the New York Times, the day before his speech, reported "two new classified intelligence reports offer a more negative assessment and say there is a limited chance of success." These reports (not released by WikiLeaks, but by the traditional leaking in DC) were from the National Intelligence Estimates which brings together the findings of 16 intelligence agencies and showed a conflict with the DoD's more rosy picture.
President Obama then went on to talk about how the U.S. could begin withdrawing troops as the Afghan police were trained and took their place. But, just four days before the president spoke, The Guardian described how "more than 20,000 officers from the Afghan National Police (ANP), the country's main law enforcement agency, have left over the past year."
President Obama promised to persist until the United States achieved victory, but as Daniel Ellsberg, a veteran and former military analyst for the Pentagon pointed out, General Patraeus has told the president there will be no victory. Ellsberg, reading from Bob Woodward's "Obama's War" quotes Patraeus saying: "You have to recognize also that I don't think you win this war. I think you keep fighting. . . You have to stay after it. This is the kind of fight we're in for the rest of our lives and probably our kids' lives." Again, the quote from behind the closed doors of the Oval Office came from the traditional leaking in the capitol, not from WikiLeaks.
If Obama's inaccurate statements to the American people about a war costing $5.7 billion per month are not enough, you can look to the documentation of failure and potential war crimes in the WikiLeaks reports, the Iraq and Afghanistan War Logs and the diplomatic cables. They show, among other things, that that U.S. troops kill civilians without cause or concern and then cover it up (more examples of hiding civilian killings here, here and here) including killing reporters, and that the CIA is fighting an undeclared and unauthorized war in Pakistan with Blackwater mercenaries, the President of Afghanistan is not trustworthy, that Afghanistan is rife with corruption and drug dealing, the Pakistan military and intelligence agencies aid Al Qaeda and the Taliban and that the U.S. looks the other way when government's it controls torture. The cables also show that beyond the war fronts that Hillary Clinton has turned State Department Foreign Service officers into a nest of spies who violate laws to spy on diplomats all with marching orders drawn up by the CIA. All of this has the world looking at the United States with new eyes.