Sunday, March 13, 2011

NO U.S. military intervention in Libya!

Here is an important and TIMELY read: http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/03/201138143448786661.html I just emailed my US Senators and my US Representative asking them to please do all they can to oppose using US military forces in Libya, including for setting up a no-fly zone. I know from experience that at least staffers do read these (at least sometimes). I also know that snail-mail takes a long, long, time because mail gets routed to some initial location to be scanned for dangerous stuff in them.

There are for sure compelling financial reasons to oppose getting involved militarily in Libya. They are legitimate but too often they are the only reasons given for abstaining from using military force. This --and, "can we win?"-- seem to be the ONLY type of criterion which countries that do not adhere to the principle of the rule of law at home or abroad consider before using military force.

I was raised to believe that America takes other things into consideration, including moral values and a profound respect for the principle of the rule of law. Please read the whole article, but if you don't have time, here are some excerpts:

"The core legal obligation of the UN Charter requires member states to refrain from any use of force unless it can be justified as self-defence after a cross-border armed attack or mandated by a decision of the UN Security Council.

Neither of these conditions authorising a legal use of force is remotely present, and yet the discussion proceeds in the media and Washington circles as if the only questions worth discussing pertain to feasibility, costs, risks, and a possible backlash in the Arab world.

....There are also serious credibility concerns. As has been widely noted in recent weeks, the US has had no second thoughts about supporting oppressive regimes throughout the region for decades, and is widely resented for this role by the various anti-regime movements.

....The absence of any learning from Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq is startling,...

....Among the most ardent advocates of intervention in Libya are the last republican presidential candidate, John McCain, the supposedly independent Joe Lieberman, and the Obama democrat John Kerry.

It seems that many of the republicans focused on the deficit although cutting public expenditures punishes the poor at a time of widespread unemployment and home foreclosures would not mind ponying up countless billions to finance acts of war in Libya."

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

From Hiroshima & Nagasaki to Iraq & Afghanistan

I am only a few pages away from finishing the book, "The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb", by Gar Alperovitz (1996, Random House). In over 650 pages, it shows how the decision to drop a nuclear bomb apiece on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was decidedly NOT to save American lives or because it was the only way to end what inevitably would've been a war that would drag on for an indefinite period of time.

The dropping of these bombs resulted in the death of hundreds of thousands of people, including women and children and gravely poisoned the environment. The book shows how some American POWs were also killed by these bombs.

The book documents that the predominant reason the US dropped these awful things on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was that doing so was seen by Truman as means to achieve what he believed were critically important post-war foreign policy goals.

Furthermore, it lays out how our government systematically sought to cover up the real reasons the bombs were dropped and in fact lied to the American people about this in public statements.

From that awful time to today, our government has continued to refuse to admit that using those bombs was an unmitigated grave evil. Writing about the attitudes that made it possible for the US government to go ahead and use those awful weapons, Alperovitz writes:

"Around the world, Americans are famous for a certain naive self-righteousness, even arrogance. We like to see ourselves as possessed of special, unique virtue....So long as we accept a distorted, overly idealized image of ourselves and of our society, however --so long as we see all 'good' here and all 'evil' elsewhere-- I believe we must inevitably err in our relationships with others. Many of the excesses of the Cold War --and the overreaching that produced the Vietnam War-- can be traced in part to such attitudes." (Pg. 638).

While reading this book, it seems to me that I can draw a reasonably straight line from the attitudes that spawned the acts of dropping nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the attitudes that spawned the invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. You might think this is a stretch, and you certainly have the right to agree or disagree. This is just how I see it.

Because I see it this way, I will continue to be a voice for peace....for using diplomacy, development and international cooperation instead of military force in America's relationships with other nations. I want my country to be known around the world as a HUMANITARIAN super-power!

Monday, February 14, 2011

After the Revolution: Mubarak is Gone After 30 Years in Power, But Questions Remain as to How Transition Will Proceed

Notwithstanding the title of this post...seems to me that in Egypt there is hope mixed with strong concern as the Egyptian revolution CONTINUES...
http://www.democracynow.org/2011/2/14/after_the_revolution_mubarak_is_gone

The success of the revolution is significant. If it succeeds, it seems to me that there's a greater than 50% chance that a near-future Egyptian government will be able to pressure Israel to behave in a more civilized manner towards Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Also, perhaps the Egyptian government would also allow aid into Gaza through its common border.

Any developments that tend towards Israel treating Palestinians justly can only be good for peace in the region. Maybe even peace in the world in general. It's my sense that mistreatment of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank fuels the anger of fundamentalist Islamic groups and makes it easier for those groups to recruit.

The ultimate goal would be the creation of a truly sovereign Palestinian state within its pre-1967 borders, living in peace and security next to Israel.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Bearing witness against America's wars

America recently observed Martin Luther King day. It is perhaps not widely known the King strongly and publicly opposed America's war in Vietnam. There is no doubt in my mind that if King were alive today he would publicly oppose America's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Part of what makes King’s life and actions so compelling, even decades later, is the love and peace he had in his own heart which he projected in his speaking and actions against war and all kinds of injustices.

Last week on Friday, 8 folks (including yours truly) braved the intense cold to peacefully stand on the corner of Brackett Ave and Hwy 53 from 5pm to 6pm to be witnesses against America's wars. We have been doing this every third Friday of the month for many, many months. Consider joining us! But this is only one way amongst many to express opposition to America’s wars – particularly those in Iraq & Afghanistan.

To anyone reading this: please reflect on the incalculable cost in precious human lives along with the almost incalculably large sums of money that represents the toll America's wars are taking.

Please contact your federal legislators and ask them to consider ways they could help America turn away from using its military to achieve its foreign policy goals and instead use diplomacy, development, and international cooperation.

In this way, the vast amounts of tax dollars that are poured into U.S. military operations could be re-directed to meeting human needs not only here in America but abroad as well.

America could be and should be known and loved around the world as a humanitarian super-power!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

"....a billionaire military and a pauper diplomacy...."

"....we have a billionaire military and a pauper diplomacy. The U.S. military now has more people in its marching bands than the State Department has in its foreign service — and that’s preposterous." http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/26/opinion/26kristof.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss#

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Beyond Belief - Watch the Documentary Film for Free | Watch Free Documentaries Online | SnagFilms

A really well-done vid....well worth the 1.5 hours it takes to view it. Why? Because at least for me, it helped stimulate a vitally-needed thing in our world: empathy... something we must have more of -very soon- if we are to move towards living with each other in peace.

"Susan Retik and Patti Quigley were two ordinary soccer moms living in the affluent suburbs of Boston until the tragedy of September 11 struck. Rather than turn inward, grief compelled these women to focus on empowering widows in the country where the terrorists who took their husbands’ lives were trained: Afghanistan."

Beyond Belief - Watch the Documentary Film for Free | Watch Free Documentaries Online | SnagFilms

Friday, December 17, 2010

"The inhumane conditions of Bradley Manning's detention"

The Salon article, "The inhumane conditions of Bradley Manning's detention" at http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/12/14/manning alleges (and it seems true to me) that Manning has been held in psychologically crippling solitary confinement and is denied even a sheet and pillow for his bed.

No civilized nation should treat its prisoners this way - whether proven guilty or not. America IS a civilized nation, but if our military is treating him in the way that the Salon piece alleges, we are not acting like a civilized nation.

I love America and want it to be a moral example to the world of justice for all.

See also the companion piece at: http://www.democracynow.org/2010/12/16/alleged_wikileaks_whistleblower_bradley_manning_imprisoned

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