In a world in which what's happening is analyzed and dissected, chewed up and spat out, before it even happens, there is, in fact, a surprising amount of surprise.
Consider recent days. With the U.S. poised to strike Syria for its government's alleged and apparent use of chemical weapons, suddenly we learn that the British House of Commons has denied the British government authorization to join the U.S. in the strike, a virtually unheard of event. No one, at least on this side of the pond, seems to have told the Obama administration that a possibility was actually a probability.
It was September 19, 2002, and US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was scheduled to address the Senate Armed Services Committee about why it was necessary to invade a country that never attacked us: Iraq.
I was so concerned about the pending war that I flew to Washington DC from my home in San Francisco. It was the first congressional hearing I had ever witnessed. My heart was pounding as my colleague Diane Wilson and I pulled out banners that read "UN inspectors, not US war", and proceeded to ask Rumsfeld our own questions: how many innocent Iraqis would die, how many US soldiers, how many of our tax dollars would be poured into this war of choice, and how much money would Halliburton make from the war. We were hauled out of the room by the Capitol police.
As the U.S. Senate prepares to vote for a war authorization that would allow for three months of a U.S. bombing campaign against Syria, new poll numbers show that the American public simply doesn't want to wage war against Syria.
The continued opposition to war by the public continues even as the Obama administration, a growing swath of Congress, and a pliant media shroud military action against the Middle East country in a veil of inevitability.
Tom Hayden spoke to a rally for Egypt in Vancouver, B.C. on Saturday, August 24. This article is based on excerpts from that speech. See partial video of the speech on rabbletv here.
I am moved to see Egyptian-Canadians, supported by longtime peace activists, mobilizing today against the military dictatorship which has seized power in Cairo.
Top White House officials dismissed a Sunday announcement that Syria had agreed to allow United Nations investigators access to sites of Wednesday's alleged chemical attacks, declaring that the development is "too late" in what appears to be a hardening U.S. stance.
Gaza -- 46 years ago this month, Israel seized East Jerusalem, the home of many significant holy sites for Muslims, Christians and Jews, as well as the proposed capital for any future Palestinian state. Since then, Israel has increasingly undertaken measures -- the placing of restrictions on Palestinian movement, the construction of a separation wall, the confiscation of Palestinian land, and the building of Jewish-only settlements -- that are threatening to push out the Palestinian presence in Jerusalem entirely.
Under heavy pressure from the U.S., the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has paid grudging lip service over the past four years to the goal of Palestinian statehood. But his real agenda was always transparent: not statehood, but what he termed "economic peace."