Annual Fundraising Appeal
Over the course of 21 years, we’ve published many unflattering stories about Henry Kissinger. We’ve recounted his involvement in the Chilean coup and the illegal bombings of Cambodia and Laos; his hidden role in the Kent State massacre and the genocide in East Timor; his noxious influence peddling in DC and craven work for dictators and repressive regimes around the world. We’ve questioned his ethics, his morals and his intelligence. We’ve called for him to be arrested and tried for war crimes. But nothing we’ve ever published pissed off HK quite like this sequence of photos taken at a conference in Brazil, which appeared in one of the early print editions of CounterPunch.
100716HenryKissingerNosePicking
The publication of those photos, and the story that went with them, 20 years ago earned CounterPunch a global audience in the pre-web days and helped make our reputation as a fearless journal willing to take the fight to the forces of darkness without flinching. Now our future is entirely in your hands. Please donate.

Day12Fixed

Yes, these are dire political times. Many who optimistically hoped for real change have spent nearly five years under the cold downpour of political reality. Here at CounterPunch we’ve always aimed to tell it like it is, without illusions or despair. That’s why so many of you have found a refuge at CounterPunch and made us your homepage. You tell us that you love CounterPunch because the quality of the writing you find here in the original articles we offer every day and because we never flinch under fire. We appreciate the support and are prepared for the fierce battles to come.

Unlike other outfits, we don’t hit you up for money every month … or even every quarter. We ask only once a year. But when we ask, we mean it.

CounterPunch’s website is supported almost entirely by subscribers to the print edition of our magazine. We aren’t on the receiving end of six-figure grants from big foundations. George Soros doesn’t have us on retainer. We don’t sell tickets on cruise liners. We don’t clog our site with deceptive corporate ads.

The continued existence of CounterPunch depends solely on the support and dedication of our readers. We know there are a lot of you. We get thousands of emails from you every day. Our website receives millions of hits and nearly 100,000 readers each day. And we don’t charge you a dime.

Please, use our brand new secure shopping cart to make a tax-deductible donation to CounterPunch today or purchase a subscription our monthly magazine and a gift sub for someone or one of our explosive  books, including the ground-breaking Killing Trayvons. Show a little affection for subversion: consider an automated monthly donation. (We accept checks, credit cards, PayPal and cold-hard cash….)
cp-store

or use
pp1

To contribute by phone you can call Becky or Deva toll free at: 1-800-840-3683

Thank you for your support,

Jeffrey, Joshua, Becky, Deva, and Nathaniel

CounterPunch
 PO Box 228, Petrolia, CA 95558

Occupation Fever

Iraq: 100 Days of Solidarity

by MEDEA BENJAMIN

This week marks the beginning of what is supposed to be the final 100 days of the U.S. occupation of Iraq. But if U.S. troops are to leave Iraq at the end of this year as promised – repeatedly – it will take grassroots pressure to counter the growing “occupy-Iraq-forever” chorus in Washington.

Despite the fact that there is a Bush-era agreement with the Iraqi government to leave, despite the fact that the majority of Iraqis and Americans don’t support a continued U.S. presence, and despite the fact that Congress is supposedly in an all-out austerity mode, strong forces – including generals, war profiteers and hawks in both parties – are pushing President Obama to violate the agreement negotiated by his predecessor and keep a significant number of troops in Iraq past the December 31, 2011 deadline.

It’s true there has already been a major withdrawal of U.S. troops, from a high of 170,000 in 2007 to about 45,000 troops today (with most of the troops being sent over to occupy Afghanistan instead). That number, however, doesn’t tell the whole picture. As the New York Times notes, “Even as the military reduces its troop strength in Iraq, the C.I.A. will continue to have a major presence in the country, as will security contractors working for the State Department,” the latter to defend a U.S. embassy that’s the same size as  the Vatican.

Back in 2007, candidate Obama pledged that the first thing he’d do as president would be to withdraw our troops from Iraq. “I will get our troops home. We will bring an end to this war. You can take that to the bank,” the future president declared. So far, the only thing many Americans can take to the bank, however, is evidence their home was fraudulently foreclosed upon.

In spite of President Obama’s oft-repeated promises, his administration appears unwilling to withdrawal all U.S. troops, much less private contractors. Obama’s hand-picked Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, has already endorsed a plan that would see 3,000 to 4,000 U.S. troops remain in Iraq indefinitely, ostensibly to “continue training security forces there.” The senior commander in Iraq, meanwhile, is pushing to keep as many as 18,000 troops there. And U.S. lawmakers, both Republican and Democratic, are echoing the call to stay.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham recently predicted leaving only 3,000 troops behind would be a “formula for disaster.” Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, meanwhile, warned it would be a mistake because Iraq was not yet fully secure. And in a FOX interview, Republican Sen. John McCain said, “I have talked to many military leaders who have specifically said around 13,000 troops would be a minimum. . . .I have never talked to a military leader that said that leaving only 3,000 is a good idea. I don’t know who came up with this idea.”

Somebody ought to tell McCain who came up with the idea – not of leaving 3,000 troops, but leaving none: the Iraqis. Removing all U.S. troops by the end of this year was agreed to by the very government that the U.S. helped install. And it came as the result of popular pressure – the way democracy is supposed to work. The agreement was codified in a 2008 Security Agreement signed between Washington and Baghdad. And any change in that agreed-upon deadline is supposed to come only at the request of the Iraqi government. So far, with less than 100 days left, no such request has been made.

Iraqi leaders, even those who owe their positions to the U.S. occupiers, know it would be political suicide to come out publicly in favor of keeping U.S. troops. Most Iraqis hate the American invaders who launched an illegal war of aggression that has killed well over 100,000 Iraqis. They blame the U.S. for setting off a civil war that forced more than 4.7 million Iraqis to flee their homes, the majority to never return, and which resulted in the ethnic cleansing of Baghdad. A proud people, they feel humiliated by the presence of foreign troops and they will not forget the treatment that many of their fellow citizens received in American-run prisons. Indeed, tens of thousands of Iraqis have taken to the streets of Baghdad to demand that the foreign invaders leave.

After inflicting so much suffering on the Iraqi people, the least we can do here at home is support their call for our troops to leave. While some members of Congress are pressing Obama to keep the occupation going, others, spearheaded by Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee, are calling for an end to this shameful episode in our history. A coalition of peace groups ranging from Peace Action to Military Families Speak Out is also adding their “out now” voice.

“We are deeply troubled by recent reports that indicate your Administration is making plans to leave thousands of U.S. troops deployed in Iraq indefinitely,” the groups say in a letter to the president. “We are also troubled by the extraordinary buildup of private military contractors and untold numbers of intelligence operatives in Iraq. Mr. President the future of Iraq depends upon the Iraqi people, not the U.S. military. Now is the time to bring all of our brave men and women in uniform home, as promised.” They have asked all peace-loving Americans to flood the White House with messages. Call 202-456-1111.

Others are taking to the streets. On October 6, anti-war activists from around the nation will be gathering in Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC, to call for an end to both the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The protest will not be just for one day, but an on-going “people’s occupation” of the plaza to call for an end to U.S. military occupations. Come if you can, or just help spread the word if you can’t.

Instead of passively accepting our government’s plans to extend the Iraq occupation indefinitely, let those who claim to represent your wishes in Washington know you’ll stand for nothing less than a real, no-gimmicks end to a war and occupation that has wrecked all too many lives. And that’s a pledge they can take to the bank.

Medea Benjamin is cofounder of the human rights group Global Exchange and the peace group CODEPINK.