The Pentagon has announced it will soon start flying bombing missions out of the Kurdish region of northern Iraq as part of an expanded U.S.-led military campaign against militants from the Islamic State. But it remains unclear when the U.S. will begin launching airstrikes in Syria. According to McClatchy, President Obama has not yet authorized the U.S. Central Command to conduct offensive combat operations in Syria as many questions over U.S. strategy remain unresolved. To talk more about President Obama’s plans to expand U.S. military operations in Iraq and to bomb Syria, we are joined by one of the nation’s leading peace activists, Medea Benjamin, founder of CodePink which held a protest outside the White House on Wednesday during President Obama’s speech. She is the author of "Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control."
In his address on Wednesday night, President Obama invoked the memory of two American journalists, James Foley and Steven Sotloff, who were recently beheaded by the Islamic State, as he outlined his case for expanded military actions in Iraq and U.S. airstrikes against the group inside Syria. We speak to Academy Award-winning filmmaker Haskell Wexler, who worked with James Foley in 2012 in Chicago while he was making a film about protests against the NATO Summit. "For the President to use Jim’s name and other journalists as reason to pursue the stated military policy to 'degrade and destroy the Islamic State so that it is no longer a threat' is an insult to the memory of James Foley and to the intelligence of the American people," Wexler wrote this week. We speak to Wexler and hear James Foley in his own words, from a video interview he did with Wexler.
On July 20, at least 90 Palestinians and 13 Israeli soldiers were killed in the Gaza City neighborhood of Shejaiya. Days later, former Israeli soldier Eran Efrati was arrested by Israel after he posted details about the massacre based on interviews he conducted with Israeli soldiers who were there. Today he speaks out about what he learned and talks about the killing of 23-year-old Salem Khaleel Shamaly. Activists with the International Solidarity Movement posted a video on YouTube showing the fatal shooting of an unarmed Palestinian civilian during the massacre. Family members later stumbled onto the video and identified the man as Shamaly. In the video, Shamaly is seen lying on the ground, apparently wounded by an unseen sniper. As Shamaly tries to get to his feet, two more shots ring out, and he stops moving. Efrati interviewed three of the Israeli soldiers who witnessed the killing of Salem Khaleel Shamaly. His sources within the Israeli Defense Forces reportedly informed him soldiers were deliberately targeting civilians as “punishment” and “retribution” for the deaths of fellow soldiers in their units. Efrati is a former Israeli combat soldier turned anti-occupation activist and investigative researcher.
Full episodes of Democracy Now! can be viewed at the link: https://www.freespeech.org/collection/democracy-now.
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