Monthly Archives: July 2013

It's 9/11! Let's Make More People Hate Us!

Let’s join the Obama Administration in amnesia.
    • Let’s forget, for a moment, that the U.S. was complicit in the Saddam Hussein government’s gassing of thousands of Iranian troops and 5000 Kurdish villagers in 1988.
  • Let’s assume that our drones don’t kill civilians as indiscriminately as poison gas does, and that our use of them does not violate international law.
  • Let’s set aside the the Clinton Administration’s killing of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians with economic sanctions that even strangled the country’s medical system and our later bombing of utilities in that country — again with lethal results for the civilian population, results lasting years after we toppled Saddam’s regime, and again in violation of the law of war.
  • Let’s ignore, for now, what is suspect in the “intelligence” that is being presented on how gas was released in Syria, and that our government is the same one that manufactured the Gulf of Tonkin incident to justify making war in Vietnam and trumpeted “solid evidence” of weapons of mass destruction to justify the horrors we unleashed in Iraq.
  • Finally, let us look the other way at how that government has similarly brought hell to Afghanistan — for an oil pipeline route from Central Asia — under the guise of pursuing the 9/11 attackers. (If you don’t want to look the other way, click here and scroll down to “Obama, Iraq, and Afghanistan” and its footnoted sources.)
  On the other hand, let us acknowledge that we have left debris from depleted-uranium ordnance all over Iraq, that its spread has been linked to major increases in cancer and birth defects there, and that this atrocity probably violates the principle of the law of war requiring proportionality between the miliitary advantage gained and the civilian casualties caused, along with other requirements of international law. Does that mean that another country with the means to do so —Russia, let’s say — ought to bomb us, to teach us a lesson?  Vladimir Putin might say, in but a slight adaptation of Mr. Obama’s Tuesday remarks, “If we fail to act, the [U.S.] regime will see no reason to stop using [depleted uranium] weapons. . . . [O]ther [rogue states] will have no reason to think twice about acquiring [such weapons] and using them.” Or is the real lesson that a country which arrogates to itself the indiscriminate power to punish others by raining terror from the skies spreads a justification for violent blowback? Putin won’t do it. Small groups of very angry people have and will.

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All Is Not Lost: 12 Theses on the Way Forward

In his Alternet piece The 4 Plagues: Getting a Handle on the Coming Apocalypse, Don Hazen shows that the momentum in every area of public policy is in a harmful direction, and he does so with thoroughness, eloquence, and clarity. He concludes, “The number of people and books that bewail the system are many, but the path to solutions, almost nil. Meanwhile, more people suffer every day.” In a later piece he emphasizes that the old strategies are not working and invites a dialog about new ones.

This is my response to that invitation, which is welcome because we surely need the conversation. And there is a solution; we just need to think in larger terms than those to which we are accustomed.

1. Our economy, politics, and culture are dominated by corporate capital, to the immediate detriment of more than 99 percent of the population and the ultimate detriment of 100 percent. The aftermath of Barack Obama’s 2008 election was a stark reminder that our history fails to support the myth that we can truly get our needs met by electing better people. Even before the Supreme Court removed the few boulders around which the river of money to politicians had to flow, virtually no one could hold state or federal office without pursuing policies acceptable to wealthy backers. Populist rhetoric is okay; congruent action is not.

So the super-rich control government, moderated only by whatever are the current limits on what the rest of us will stand for. Their legislatures have seen to it that alternative parties, if they can get on the ballot at all, can only siphon off protest votes from the major parties. They also control the dominant media, which create most of the public’s understanding of what is happening in public life and what is possible.

Because of their conditioning, belief systems, and the societal structures within which they operate, those with all this power cannot stop themselves from driving us to ruin.

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