Early last month, Green Berets battling to beat back a Taliban advance in Kunduz, Afghanistan, apparently decided that in order to rid an MSF hospital of some “insurgents” who were apparently hanging out inside, they needed to call in an AC-130 gunship. The aircraft made five passes on the way to engaging the building for an hour, eventually killing dozens as tends to happen when advanced air assault technology squares off against unarmed people lying on gurneys.
Subsequent reports would reveal that the US fired on fleeing doctors and others who were running away from the building.
There were competing accounts as to what led to the incident, but at least initially, the military claimed US SpecOps were taking fire from the hospital.
On Wednesday, the US walked back that story. Speaking at a news conference, U.S. Army Gen. John Campbell said the crew of the AC-130 mistook the hospital for a government compound that the Taliban was allegedly using as a prison. "This tragedy was the direct result of avoidable human error," Campbell said.
But it wasn't just "human error," Washington is also blaming - get this - "malfunctioning sensors."
We have been discussing the rapid erosion of free speech on our campuses. That trend started a long time ago in our high schools where officials have steadily attacked the exercise of free speech by teenagers. Few however have reached the level of censorship and content-based punishment as Revere High School in Massachusetts.Cheerleader Caley Godino has been banned from her team because she tweeted political comments that her teachers did not like about illegal immigration.
The day after the municipal elections Godino was on a field trip outside of the school when her Civics teacher sent out a tweet about low voter turnout in the elections that noted that only ten percent of the population voted. Godson dashed off a response saying “10 percent of Revere voted because the others are not legal.”
The school Administration promptly put her on probation. Superintendent Dianne Kelly insisted that she is supportive of free speech but only up to a point: “If you’re going to stand up and say something that other people will find offensive or hateful, then you need to be prepared to deal with the ramifications of that.” Well, yes, but the “ramifications” are usually more speech — part of a healthy dialogue in a free society. Godino received an overwhelming response from critics. However, Kelly and her staff wanted to silence her voice and punish her exercise of free speech. This seems quite afield from the standard under Tinker v. Des Moines Indep. Comm. Sch. Distr. (1969) of punishing those acts that “materially and substantially interfere with the requirements of appropriate discipline in the operation of the school.”
Why is Turkey Not in Hot Water?
By any estimate, Turkey should be in hot water today. First, after violating Greek airspace thousands of times per year, after routinely violating Syrian airspace and territory in support of jihadists seeking to overthrow the government, Turkish President Racep Erdogan decided to shoot down a Russian SU-24 that may or may not have veered into Turkish airspace for a maximum of 17 seconds. In order to carry out such an operation, it is clear that the Turkish F-16s would have had to be lying in wait to ambush the Russians.
The Corporatocracy Behind US Foreign Policy
In a Tuesday interview with Real News Network host Paul Jay, Ron Paul Institute Academic Board Member and former United States Army Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson started off acknowledging that companies’ billions of dollars a year of weapons sales to Saudi Arabia “massively” influence US foreign policy.
Escalation! Two Russian Aircraft Downed in Syria!
In a sudden and dramatic escalation of the Syria conflict, two Russian aircraft -- a SU-24 fighter jet and a rescue helicopter -- have been downed in Syria. The fighter was shot down by the Turkish military after it claimed an airspace violation, and the rescue helicopter was reportedly shot down by US-backed rebels with US-made and supplied TOW missiles.
Forty Percent of Millennials Favor Censorship of Offensive Speech By Government
We have long discussed the rapid decline of free speech protections in the West. I have long argued that the West appears to have fallen out of love with free speech, which is more often viewed as a rising scourge rather than a defining value in some countries. A recent poll of the Pew Research Center shows just how many people we have lost to those calling for greater censorship and criminalization of speech. It is not surprisingly more prevalent with younger age groups, though Democrats are almost twice as likely favor censorship that Republicans. The largest (and most alarming) group is the millennials — 40% of whom favor government censorship of speech offensive to minority groups.
Ron Paul: US Troops Will Come Home ‘Because We’re Flat-Out Broke’
It may seem as if nothing can restrain the United States government’s intervention overseas. But, Ron Paul says economic conditions will impose a limit and that that means the days of expansive US military intervention are numbered.