Item: The Associated Press reported on July 15 on the UN’s proposed Arms Trade Treaty to regulate weapons worldwide: The French Ambassador, Eric Danon, “said the treaty aims to regulate the legal trade of conventional weapons for the first time by requiring countries to track arms exports and imports and help fight the illicit weapons trade. Countries are debating whether the treaty should also track bullets and other ammunition.”
Most Americans are aware that U.S. forces are involved in missions in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. Those who pay closer attention to the news may know that American troops are also active in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia. But according to Nick Turse of TomDispatch.com, those six nations comprise only five percent of the total number of countries in which the Department of Defense is conducting operations. “A secret force within the U.S. military,” says Turse, “is undertaking operations in a majority of the world’s countries” — at a rate of 70 such operations per day.
While much of the nation's news for the past several weeks has been focused on the national debt, the killing of 30 U.S. and seven Afghan troops, along with an interpreter on Saturday reminded Americans of a debt to fighting forces that cannot be repaid. The shooting down of a Chinook transport helicopter by the Taliban insurgents, killing all on board, was another grim reminder that the cost of war cannot adequately be measured in trillions of dollars.
When Chalmers Johnson, a retired Asian scholar and former Naval officer during the Korean War, visited Japan in the mid-1990s, he was surprised to discover 38 U.S. bases on Okinawa alone, half a century after U.S. forces captured the island in the last great battle of World War II. If Johnson, past president and founder of the Japan Policy Research Institute at the University of San Francisco and author of numerous scholarly books on Asian affairs, had been unaware of the enormity of America’s military involvement in far-off lands, it is hardly surprising that the public at large has been even less aware. The American people, he would later observe in The Sorrows of Empire, “do not realize that a vast network of American military bases on every continent except Antarctica actually constitutes a new form of empire.”
The United Nations is preparing to finalize its Arms Trade Treaty in 2012, better known in the United States as the Small Arms Treaty, after a series of talks in the Third Preparatory Committee took place last week. The final talks on the treaty have been scheduled for four weeks next summer, and new rules indicate that a majority vote is not necessary in order for the treaty to be passed.
A strong supporter of Israel, Florida Republican Representative Allen West (left) has openly railed against the plan to sell U.S. tanks to Egypt that is currently in the works. According to West, the sale would likely benefit the Muslim Brotherhood, which poses a risk to Israel.
The Blaze reports:
With President Barack Obama having issued an executive order banning secret Central Intelligence Agency prisons and then-CIA Director Leon Panetta having stated that “CIA no longer operates detention facilities or black sites,” one might think a credible report that the CIA is still operating such a prison would make the front page of every newspaper in the country and be covered on all major television news programs. Alas, in 21st-century America, where the news media are the handmaidens of the state, the story has largely been ignored; and those outlets that have deemed it worthy of coverage have done so in such a way as to play down its revelations and play up the government’s denials.
The Associated Press reports:
The cost to the United States of the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan over the past 10 years has been somewhere between $3.2 and $4 trillion dollars, according to a study released this week by the Eisenhower Research Project, based at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.
The American Center for Law and Justice ACLJ), a conservative legal advocacy group, is targeting Delta Airlines’ new partnership with Saudi Arabian Airlines, charging that the venture serves to further discriminatory policies the Saudi passenger carrier has in place that target Jews, Christians, and women. In January Delta announced its partnership with the Saudi airline, with Delta’s vice president, Charlie Pappas, saying he was “honored that Saudi Arabian [Airlines] has chosen to link its future growth and success with Delta and our SkyTeam partners, while bringing our alliance greater access to destinations across the Middle East.”
On Thursday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that peace negotiations in Afghanistan must include the Taliban if they are to be successful in achieving long term stability of the nation.