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Pennsylvania's Critical Decision on War and Peace
by Richard Kane Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2009 at 2:13 AM

Whether or not Senator Specter, who thinks the Afghan War is only helping al Qaeda recruit, is part of the peace movement is an important decision. It is critical for Pennsylvanian Activists to pay attention, and decide whether his stance could lead to US troops in Somalia instead of Afghanistan, or whether Specter has a reasonable chance to convince Obama to end the Afghan war. Since Joe Sestak is running already campaigning against him in the Democratic Primary, with the stance that anti-Iraq War activist can support the surge, Pennsylvania activists have to make a critical decision on whether or not this is important.

Pennsylvania’s Critical Decision on War and Peace

Pennsylvania has a critical decision to make that will affect the future of the Peace Movement.
Is Senator Arlen Specter’s position on the Afghan War, pro-peace? Or does it represent mudded confusion? And is the already hot Democratic Primary race between Specter and Joe Sestik who clearly supports the surge, and spreads the momentum of former anti-Iraq War activists now supporting the war in Afghanistan.

Specter, like Rep. John Murtha of Johnson, is very concerned about military readiness, and GI’s being exhausted by unnecessary wars. I see an overlap between them. Specter is pushing the concept that al Qaeda is extremely dangerous, and that the US should do what it can to stop them, especially worried about Somalia and Yemen, but Specter concludes that the war in Afghanistan is only empowering al Qaeda. Some may worry that Specter’s talk about danger in Somalia, could lead to wars that are easier to fight rather than peace. Specter is sending faxes to administration officials and talking with other Senators pushing his point of view and is actually is milling over not voting for supplemental war spending on Afghanistan,
Specter statement on the war,

Just Foreign Policy, an important peace group, thinks Specter is important to the antiwar movement,
This could be an opportunity for progressive politicians who don’t want to condemn Obama’s integrity too much for fear of discombobulating the entire progressive agenda.

The peace movement pays attention to Dennis Kucinich. His bill to end the Afghan War unless Congress takes responsibility to Declare War has 12 co-sponsors, and Nancy Pelosi the Speaker of the House said she will not do anything to stop the vote from getting to the floor or do anything else to help to get Afghan funding though the House. The peace movement needs to be familiar with the nuances of the co-sponsors, and especially the way Libertarianism and Progressive Antiwar sentiment overlap,
Dennis Kucinich, (D-OH); John Conyers, Jr.; (D-MI); Ron E. Paul (R-TX); Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD); Bob Filner (D-CA); Walter Jones, Jr. (R-NC); Lynn Woolsey (D-CA); Edward Whitfield (R-KY); Michael Capuano (D-MA); Timothy V. Johnson (R-IL); Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ); Eric Massa (D-NY); and Alan Grayson (D-FL),

President Obama, who has always been extremely upset about al Qaeda, partly for cross-cultural reasons, may be malleable to Senator Specter’s insights.

One thing that is easy to miss in Obama’s comments on the war. His expressed goals are extremely limited, something about stopping al Qaeda from overthrowing the Afghanistan Government. He is looking for Taliban fighters that are willing to compromise and has negotiation feelers out the Taliban in general,

This war could, of course, last until the next Republican President in three or seven years, like Richard Nixon, claims to have a secret plan to end it, with eventually Congress ending up slow to come up with enough funds, like in Vietnam. Or the dollar totally collapses like al Qaeda is confident that US’s huge military budget will lead to. There could be some sort of mass refusal to fight any more from soldiers who thought they signed for two years end up discovering that they are going to spend the entire working lives fighting overseas. The economy is extremely harsh on late teens and those in their 20's. Soup kitchens, subsidized housing shuns them, and unemployment compensation is only for those who already managed to get one job. Telling a young relative that you would respect them never having a permanent job, over them becoming disabled or full of disabling nightmares, is an important way to resist the war. And so is speaking up against helping programs that shun young men and women without kids.

However, the war could very well end in a negotiated cease-fire where the Taliban actually or symbolically distances itself from al Qaeda. The Taliban may not have the power to turn bin Laden over to the US even if it wanted to, and it’s not known even if he is still alive, or perhaps died in some way not fitting for a martyr. In no way would the Taliban ever agree to have US help in keeping al Qaeda out of Afghanistan even if the Taliban demanded this of al Qaeda.

If there is a negotiated cease-fire where the Taliban symbolically, or actual disavowed al Qaeda, the differences between the two positions would be hard to discern. Neocons who want war or extreme tension between the US and much of the Muslim world would call any muddled cease-fire an Obama betrayal. Certain weapons contractors looking for more work would go along. The sections of the antiwar movement claiming Obama is a complete fraud would have trouble turning around and defending the cease-fire.

For better or worse, Alan Specter may be critical for the future, something the peace movement in Pennsylvania can help decide.

It is interesting to note that the only real difference between Taliban controlled Afghanistan and the drug lords siding with the Americans, including Afghan President Karzia’s brother, is that in Taliban areas women without veils get whipped and in the US controlled areas they instead risk rape. The Taliban no longer fights the drug trade, and instead profits from it. And if someone privately listens to music or quietly takes his wife or unmarried daughters with him to his doctor, it’s their business not the Taliban’s.

However bin Laden’s goal of bankrupting American by encouraging super-expensive smart weapons is right on track and the US’s fall could be more traumatic than the collapse of the Soviet Union.

I am afraid that the above statements might be construed as inadvertently suggesting that the US can’t afford to spend money on health care, so I think I must change the subject for a moment. There is intense complection for export trade between nation, and any secret subsidy on exports gets them in trouble. But the health bill stopping unions from striking over health benefits, and any US subsidy to employee, employer heath plans will allow export goods to be sold at a slightly lower price, enhancing US foreign trade even if the rest of the bill is watered down into being a joke.

Incidentally Joe Sestak who is running against Specter is what was once called a Hubert Humphrey union Democrat, he firmly supports defense workers’ rights to their jobs, and increased defense related work.

Senator Specter has a long history. He grilled Anita, Hill. He was involved with the Warren Commission which was very worried about the tension with Cuba after President Kennedy was killed. More on Specter’s earlier background at,
Also note, Central page for the above link,

According to Specter’s book “Passion for Truth” (Pg. 59), when asked what Lee Harvey Oswald’s widow would testify to, Chief justice Earl Warren blurted out, “There may be some things we will never know during our lifetime”. I personally think we will more likely to find out sooner and pay more attention to it, if Specter stays in office.

Specter once worked hard preventing the kind of polarization between Democrats and Republicans we now see, still manages to have a moderating influence on the pro-Israel lobby, and has a burning desire to promote civil liberties.

One problem with the peace movement getting involved with Specter is that the Libertarians have strong differences with Specter. Thus the smooth Libertarian and Progressive Peace oriented alliance Dennis Kucinich is trying to create would be less smooth. However in the Senate Senator Bird is sadly often too sick to do much and Burnie Frank’s interest in anti-poverty efforts, and socialism, doesn’t fit in with Libertarianism.

I for one long for the dreams President Obama once preached and feel Senator Specter is a small step in that direction.

Richard Kane
I can be reached at,
Google, RichardKanePA

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Illinois also has politcal fight over Afghan War Richard Kane Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2009 at 3:26 PM
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