Ahmed Mohamed, Liberal Rhetoric and Obama Administration Propaganda

by Leili Kashani | published September 28, 2015 - 4:31pm

Most readers will know by now that a 14-year-old kid named Ahmed Mohamed was recently arrested in Irving, Texas for, well, for making a clock while Muslim. Ahmed, an aspiring engineer and a robotics enthusiast, had built a simple digital clock and brought it to his ninth-grade high school classes, hoping to impress his teachers. Instead, one of them called the cops on him, and with the consent of the school principal, five police officers arrested him and took him to a detention center in handcuffs. Ahmed has reported that one officer he’d never seen before looked at him and said, “Yup.

We Can—and Should—Do More to Help Syrian Refugees

by Chris Toensing | published September 16, 2015

Imagine that 58 million Americans were streaming into Canada and Mexico, many with only a small satchel and the clothes on their backs. Picture another 102 million residents of the Eastern seaboard seeking refuge with relatives in the Midwest and West.

That terrifying mental exercise gives a sense of the sheer, staggering scale of the Syrian refugee crisis.

Half of Syria’s pre-war population of 22 million has been uprooted since the country’s horrendous civil war broke out in late 2011. Over 4 million people have escaped to neighboring countries and beyond, while an additional 7 million or so are displaced within the country.

An Extraordinary Feat of Diplomacy

by Chris Toensing | published August 5, 2015

The nuclear agreement with Iran is an extraordinary feat of diplomacy.

First and foremost, non-proliferation experts agree that the deal blocks all of the routes to making an atomic bomb. There are provisions for rigorous inspections—so if Iran cheats, the world will know.

Second, it isn’t just Washington to whom the Iranians are accountable. All five permanent members of the UN Security Council, and Germany too, signed alongside the United States. The UN’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, will monitor Iranian activities on the great powers’ behalf.

Slahi, Guantanamo Diary

by Lisa Hajjar
published in MER275

Mohamedou Ould Slahi, Guantánamo Diary (New York: Little, Brown, 2015).

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Migrant Workers and the US Military in the Middle East

by Darryl Li
published in MER275

Over the past 15 years, the United States has waged two major land wars in the greater Middle East with hundreds of thousands of ground troops. Shadowing these armies and rivaling them in size has been a labor force of private contractors. The security company once called Blackwater has played an outsize role in the wide-ranging debate about the privatization of war and attendant concerns of corruption, waste and human rights abuses. But this debate has also largely overlooked a crucial fact: While Blackwater was founded and largely staffed by retired US military personnel, the vast majority of the overseas contractor work force is not American.

From the Editors

by Amanda Ufheil-Somers , Chris Toensing
published in MER275

No publication based in Washington should write about prisons without first noting that America leads the world in incarceration.

Breaking Even, Breaking Down or Going for Broke?

by Karen Pfeifer | published May 22, 2015 - 8:25am

As of mid-May 2015, crude oil prices had fallen to the lowest level in recent years, under $60 a barrel for US domestic benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) and about $66 a barrel for the international Brent benchmark. These market prices are compared to several types of “break-even” prices and affect decision-making by oil producers at several levels: whether price covers just production costs or incorporates a satisfactory level of profit, whether budgets balance and whether long-term capital investment is attractive.

Repression and Remembering in Kent and Cairo

by Joshua Stacher | published May 5, 2015 - 4:59pm

Yesterday was the forty-fifth anniversary of the day when Ohio National Guardsmen fired 67 rounds of live ammunition into a crowd of peaceful protesters at Kent State University. The crime took 13 seconds. The tragedy endures.

As usual, the campus I call home closed for half of Remembrance Day. Many separate remembrances take place each May 4, as well as in the days leading up to it. Student organizations, such as the May 4 Task Force, remain vigilant and active even if the student body’s politics have quieted and atomized since 1970.

From the Editors

published in MER117

”We oppose the militarization of internal conflicts, often abetted and even encouraged by massive US arms exports, in areas of the world such as the Middle East and Central America, while their basic human problems are neglected.” Most people, we believe, would readily support such a straightforward declaration—one sentence from the official “call” for the August 27 march in Washington for “Jobs, Peace and Freedom.” It identifies, with commendable simplicity, a US policy responsible for unspeakable suffering for people unfortunate enough to dwell in these lands so prized by the captains of industry and stewards of state.

Israeli, American Military Confer on Combat Stress

by A Special Correspondent
published in MER119

On January 2-6, 1983, I attended the Third International Conference on Psychological Stress and Adjustment in Time of War and Peace, sponsored by Tel Aviv University. The first two conferences in the series, convened in 1975 and 1978, were also held in Tel Aviv. According to the organizers, the conferences were designed to 1) facilitate the exchange of knowledge within the international scientific and professional community on topics of war-related stress and adjustment, and 2) enable Israeli scientists and professionals to exchange ideas and insights about various programs initiated during and after the October war of 1973.

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