New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


Front Page Rule

February 20, 2015 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Kathy Kelly, Politics

Planting Seeds of Peace Through Protest

by Kathy Kelly

After a week here in FMC Lexington Satellite camp, a federal prison in Kentucky, I started catching up on national and international news via back issues of USA Today available in the prison library, and an “In Brief” item, on p. 2A stopdronesof the Jan. 30 weekend edition, caught my eye. It briefly described a protest in Washington, D.C., in which members of the antiwar group “Code Pink” interrupted a U.S. Senate Armed Services budget hearing chaired by Senator John McCain. The protesters approached a witness table where Henry Kissinger, Madeleine Albright and George Schulz were seated. One of their signs called Henry Kissinger a war criminal. “McCain,” the article continued, “blurted out, ‘Get out of here, you low-life scum.'”

At mail call, a week ago, I received Richard Clarke’s novel, The Sting of the Drone, (May 2014, St. Martin’s Press), about characters involved in developing and launching drone attacks. I’m in prison for protesting drone warfare, so a kind friend ordered it for me. The author, a former “National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism,” worked for 30 years inside the U.S. government but seems to have greater respect than some within government for concerned people outside of it. He seems also to feel some respect for people outside our borders. (more…)

Speak Up

October 25, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: David Swanson, Politics

A New Kind of War Is Being Waged

by David Swanson

There’s a dark side to the flurry of reports and testimony on drones, helpful as they are in many ways.  When we read that Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch oppose drone strikes that violate international law, some of us may be inclined to interpret that as a declaration that, in fact, drone strikes violate international law.  On the contrary, what these human rights groups mean is that some drone strikes violate the law and some do not, and they want to oppose the ones that do.

Which are which? Even their best researchers can’t tell you.  Human Rights Watch looked into six drone murders in Yemen and concluded that two were illegal and four might be illegal.  The group wants President Obama to explain what the law is (since nobody else can), wants him to comply with it (whatever it is), wants civilians compensated (if anyone can agree who the civilians are and if people can really be compensated for the murder of their loved ones), and wants the U.S. government to investigate itself.  Somehow the notion of prosecuting crimes doesn’t come up. (more…)

Saving Syria?

September 03, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, David Swanson, Politics

What We Can Do Instead of Waging More War

by David Swanson

Evidence of “weapons of mass destruction” is “no slam dunk,” U.S. officials are saying this time around, reversing the claim made about Iraq by then-CIA director George Tenet.

Opposition to a U.S.-led attack on Syria is growing rapidly in Europe and the United States, drawing its strength from public awareness that the case made for attacking Iraq had holes in it.

A majority in the United States, still very much aware of Iraq war deceptions, opposes arming the “rebel” force in Syria, so heavily dominated by foreign fighters and al Qaeda. And a majority opposes U.S. military action in Syria.

But that public opinion is only just beginning to get expressed as activism. With Republicans more willing to actively oppose a war this time, and some Democrats still opposed, there’s actually potential to build a larger antiwar movement than that of 2003-06.

What discouraged an attack on Syria has been the public uproar that was created back then over the disastrous attack on Iraq. The nation of Iraq was destroyed.  Millions of refugees still can’t safely return. As with every other humanitarian war thus far, humanity suffered, and the suffering will last for ages. While the damage done to the United States itself doesn’t compare with the damage done to Iraq, it has been severe enough to make many a near-sighted potential war supporter cautious. (more…)

Spectator Wars

August 13, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Economy, Politics, Robert C. Koehler

Something Has to Give in the ‘Great American Consensus’

by Robert C. Koehler

“Pakistani authorities have long denounced the strikes, out of concern that civilian deaths caused by drone strikes inflame the local population, bolster militant groups and violate Pakistan’s sovereignty.” — CNN, July 26

“Analysts said the administration was still grappling with the fact that drones remained the crucial instrument for going after terrorists in Yemen and Pakistan — yet speaking about them publicly could generate a backlash in those countries because of issues like civilian casualties.” — New York Times, Aug. 2

Oh, the serious news! I read it with ever-fresh incredulity. It’s written for gamers. It reduces us to gamers as it updates us on the latest bends and twists in the geopolitical scene. We’re still playing War on Terror, the aim of which is to kill as many insurgents as possible; when they’re all dead, we win (apparently). The trick is to avoid inflaming the locals, who then transition out of passive irrelevance and join the insurgency. They get inflamed when we kill civilians, such as their children. (more…)

Drone World

April 15, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Politics, Robert C. Koehler

The ‘Fun’ Is Just Beginning…

by Robert C. Koehler

In the not so distant future, America’s skies will be full of . . . drones. What could go wrong?

“Although the prospect of drones flying over U.S. cities is generating cries of spies in the skies,” writes the Los Angeles Times, “groups from California to Florida are fiercely competing to become one of six federally designated sites for testing how the remotely piloted aircraft can safely be incorporated into the nation’s airspace.”

It’s just technology and technology is neutral, or so the forces of mainstream capitalism assure us. Drones are an emerging market, with worldwide sales expected to double in the next decade, to $11 billion, if not much more. And these will be good drones, the kind that look for lost children or leaks in pipelines, the kind that catch criminals. (more…)

Lessons from Iraq

March 19, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Economy, Guest Author, Politics

Hard Realities Ten Years After a Preventable War

by Robert F. Dodge

This week marks the 10th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War. As one of the longest and one of the most costly wars in U.S. history, the true costs in dollars, lives, environmental contamination and opportunity costs may never be fully appreciated.  This “preventive war” waged on our behalf has forever tainted the world view and standing of the U.S. Disregarding international and domestic public opinion and international law before the war, this illegal war was destined to happen regardless of that opinion. Perhaps the most significant outcome of the war is the identification and clarification, a “How To” of what doesn’t work in resolving international conflict. Namely war itself.

Dollar estimates of the combined war costs range from $1.4 trillion to $4 trillion dollars spent and obligated or a bill of between $4,500 and $12,742 for every man, woman and child in the U.S. (more…)

A Helping Hand

February 26, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Politics, Winslow Myers

Hard Power, Soft Power, and the Power of Good 

by Winslow Myers

Mark Helprin’s novel, In Sunlight and in Shadow, tries to articulate as noble as possible a justification for the tragic violence of war. The novel is set just after World War II, so it is not surprising that the rationale is based in the Churchillian mindset of the campaign to defeat Hitler. In the novel, an older veteran argues: “How many millions have to die, Harry, before we stop worrying about unintended consequences?”

Harry, a younger vet, responds: “What if all nations decided to kill off what in their eyes was mortally dangerous leadership? It would become a Hobbesian world.”

“The world just lost 50 million dead. Is that Hobbesian enough? Politeness can be a form of collaboration, or suicide…. You have to play it by ear, as you know, as you must know, having fought your way through Sicily, France, Holland and Germany, your responsibility is not to be morally pristine, but to preserve the maximum number of innocent lives. How many men have you killed?” (more…)