Monthly Archives: August 2021
According to an 8-16-21 piece on Counterpunch by David Swanson, “the U.S. government, according to its own reporting, accounts for 66% of all the weapons exported to the least democratic quintile of nations on earth. Of the 50 most oppressive governments identified by a U.S.-government-funded study, the U.S. arms 82% of them: Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Brunei, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, China, Democratic Republic of Congo (Kinshasa), Republic of Congo (Brazzaville), Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), Ethiopia, Gabon, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Libya, Mauritania, Nicaragua, Oman, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and Yemen. Israel’s government, notorious for its violent oppression of Palestinian people, is not on that list (it’s a U.S.-funded list) but is the top recipient of “aid” funding for U.S. weapons from the U.S. government. The Stop Arming Human Rights Abusers Act (H.R.4718) would prevent U.S. weapons sales to other nations that are in violation of international human rights law or international humanitarian law. During the last Congress, the bill, introduced by Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, gathered a grand total of zero cosponsors.
What do you notice about that list of nations? One of them, Afghanistan, was on the list of oppressive governments before the Taliban threatened to take it over. And the other 40 are of truly minimal interest to the U.S. corporate media, much less to any of the “BUT THE WOMEN!” crowd out there moaning in agony that a war might end. The same crowd seems to have no objection to the proposal moving through the U.S. Congress to force U.S. women at age 18 to register for a military draft that would have them (against their will) killing and dying in more of these wars?
What would I propose that the U.S. government do for the women and men and children of Afghanistan now, regardless of horrible decisions in the past that it’s too late to undo and silly and offensive to rehash?
1. Until it can reform itself into an entity capable of benevolent action, not a goddamned thing.
2. Stop encouraging the Taliban to think that it can become a model U.S. client state in a few years if it’s mean and nasty enough, by ceasing to arm and train and fund brutal dictatorships all over the globe.
3. Cease eroding the idea of the rule of law around the world by dropping opposition to the International Criminal Court and the World Court, by joining the International Criminal Court, and by eliminating the veto and democratizing the United Nations Security Council.
4. Cease being the leading holdout globally on major human rights treaties like the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which every nation on earth has ratified except the United States, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, which every nation on earth has ratified except the United States, Iran, Sudan, and Somalia.
5. Move 20% of the U.S. military budget into useful things each year for five years.
6. Move 10% of that rededicated funding into providing no-strings-attached aid and encouragement to the most law-abiding and honest-to-god small-d democratic poor nations on the planet.
7. Take a hard look at the U.S. government, and take serious steps to remove bribery from the election system, establish fair public funding and media coverage for elections, and remove gerrymandering, the filibuster, and as soon as possible the United States Senate.
8. Free, apologize to, and thank every whistleblower who’s told us what the U.S. government was doing in Afghanistan for the past 20 years. Consider why we needed whistleblowers to tell us.
9. Prosecute or free and apologize to every prisoner at Guantanamo, close the base, and get out of Cuba.
10. Get out of the way of the International Criminal Court’s prosecution of Taliban crimes in Afghanistan, as well as its prosecution of crimes committed there by the Afghan government, and by the militaries of the United States and its junior partners.
11. Swiftly become an entity that can credibly comment on horrors being committed by the Taliban, by – among other things – caring enough about humanity to invest heavily in ending the destruction of the earth’s climate and the existence of nuclear weapons.”
David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is executive director of WorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. Swanson’s books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a Nobel Peace Prize nominee, and was awarded the 2018 Peace Prize by the U.S. Peace Memorial Foundation. Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.