Annual Fundraising Appeal

Here’s an important message to CounterPunch readers from
BARBARA EHRENREICH…

BarbaraE

Here at CounterPunch we love Barbara Ehrenreich for many reasons: her courage, her intelligence and her untarnished optimism. Ehrenreich knows what’s important in life; she knows how hard most Americans have to work just to get by, and she knows what it’s going to take to forge radical change in this country. We’re proud to fight along side her in this long struggle.  We hope you agree with Barbara that CounterPunch plays a unique role on the Left. Our future is in your hands. Please donate.

Day8

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….)
button-store2_19

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

In Our National Interest

The Standard

by MISSY COMLEY BEATTIE

For several days, I’ve read, written, deleted, read more, written more, deleted. I confess. I don’t know exactly what the hell is going on in Iraq except that this War of Terror is an epic clusterfuck and that the US armed Syrian jihadis who now have entered Iraq to join Sunni extremists in slaughtering Shi’ites.

Perhaps that George Bush “Mission Accomplished” photo op was a celebratory slam-dunk to commemorate Middle East destabilization—a goal that was supposed to lead to another: neo-liberalizing Iraq.

On Friday, June 13, early afternoon, my brother Mark called. CNN’s Pamela Brown was interviewing Marine Staff Sargent Mitch Beeler who served with my nephew Chase (killed in Iraq on August 6, 2005) about the current Iraq situation. Pamela and Chase were friends, grew up together in Lexington, Kentucky, saying they’d marry someday.

Late Friday, Mark sent a link to the CNN video. After watching it, I lay awake, thinking of Chase’s death scene. Witnesses had told Mark that Chase was leading a convoy when a vehicle approached. Chase stood, aiming his rifle. Loaded with explosives, the vehicle slammed into Chase, blowing off his face. I closed my eyes and saw him, standing with his rifle, aimed at the driver that moved closer, closer, closer. I know Chase knew, had time to know he was going to die. And I couldn’t sleep.

It’s been almost nine years since Chase died. I think of him often, but not the way I did Friday night. Usually, I see the child, adorable and little-boy naughty. Never in that amphibious assault vehicle thousands of miles from home, because I don’t want to dwell on that, the choice he made to enlist, engaging in whatever he was trained to do, whatever, whatever, whatever. Whatever we know troops are trained to execute in dehumanizing another person and therefore dehumanizing themselves. I can’t bear to think about his death and what he was ordered to do in my name, in our names.

Many times when I lived in NYC, I took the train to Baltimore to either attend or speak at a DC peace rally. Mark called the evening before one of these, one at which I was scheduled to speak. He said an acquaintance, offering condolences, told him Chase died protecting his country. Mark responded, “No, Chase did not die protecting his country. The suicide bomber who killed Chase died protecting his country.” I knew this would be the bulk of my speech, brief yet powerful—my brother’s words spoken in painful truth.

These words are with me now, were with me on my morning run when I went out to sweat some anxiety but returned still carrying oppressive apprehension. I’ve heard the fear mongers, those predicting more attacks here at home, the jingoists, artful in frightening the public to juice up American nationalism. No acknowledgement from them about Iraqi sacrifice. No recognition that Saddam Hussein kept the balance; that the 2003 incursion and the dictator’s overthrow resulted in chaos. The mainstream media are complicit partners, interviewing not just the same bloodthirsty endorsers of violence but also veterans, like Staff Sargent Beeler who said we can’t allow a breeding ground for terrorism after we provided a safer environment, liberated women and children.

Again, I don’t understand exactly what’s happening, but it’s reported that there’s a new and meaner bin Laden, leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS or ISIL), Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, with a $10 million US bounty on his head. There always will be someone to scare us stupid, replacing the villain eliminated by a team of US special operatives after which Americans can chant, “USA! USA! USA!”

Earlier this week, I read that Obama’s deployed troops to Iraq and that more are on standby, combat ready.

It’s Wednesday night. The DC death dealers convened today to strategize. Despite calling Iranians “thugs and killers”, Lindsey Graham, who customarily errs on the side of aggression with Congressional thugs and killers, called for dialogue with Iran, diplomacy.

White House spokesperson Jay Carney said administration lawyers are examining the legal implications if Obama chooses military action and doesn’t seek Congressional approval.

Gen. Martin Dempsey said, “… anytime we use US military force, we use if for those things that are in our national interest. That’s the standard.” When asked if the US will honor Iraq’s request for air power, Dempsey said, “It is in our national security interest to counter ISIL wherever we find them.”

No surprise that Obama has announced the deployment of up to 300 military “advisers” to Iraq.

Years ago, Henry Kissinger said, “Military men are just dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy.” My nephew was among the 4500 US pawns killed during use in Iraq, where millions of Iraqis have been murdered, maimed, or displaced by Empire. You know, for “those things that are in our national interest,” but actually, really, ultimately aren’t.

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com