Thursday, November 15, 2012

Bring justice to the enemy, not the other way around

Why is it that the United States of America's global-military "solution" to the supposed threat of terrorism seems to be exactly the policy an entity interested in creating a never-ending supply of extremists would pursue? From "The Politics of Fear" by Mark Danner:
The blanket of near silence cast over the Middle East “peace process” extends south and east, to the United States’ most active current “shooting war”—the undeclared and seemingly permanent covert war being fought mostly with unmanned drones in South Asia and, increasingly, the Horn of Africa. Every day, twenty-four hours a day, American airmen serving their shifts at bases in Nevada, upstate New York, and elsewhere in the United States are “piloting” these lethal flying robots, gazing at computer screens through which they track from above the movements of men on the other side of the world.

Sometimes the men they shadow in Pakistan and Yemen and Somalia are known militant suspects (targets of so-called “personality strikes”), sometimes they are “military-aged” men behaving in ways deemed to fit with known terrorist “profiles” (so-called “signature strikes”). In either case the land-borne pilots, whether working for the Central Intelligence Agency or the United States military, spend their hours and days observing them—and often pulling the trigger that launches the missile that streaks down and kills them. These pilots working quietly on US bases have so far killed several thousand people — credible estimates range as high as 3,500 — and perhaps as many as one in four have been noncombatants. At least four executed in this manner have been American citizens.

This quiet war, President Obama’s “focused” version of George W. Bush’s Global War on Terror, shows no sign of coming to an end. No doubt some of those killed pose an imminent threat to American citizens—though the definition of what exactly that means, what criteria must be satisfied for our government to order someone’s death, remain classified and unmentioned. But there is much evidence to suggest that many, at least by any reasonable definition of “threat,” do not—indeed, that in as many as 94 percent of the cases the targets are “mere foot soldiers” about whom, according to terrorism expert Peter Bergen, “it’s hard to make the case that [they] threaten the United States in some way.” What is not in dispute is that these killings of thousands of Muslims, conducted by remote control by a distant superpower, have caused enormous resentment and hatred of the United States in Pakistan and throughout the Islamic world, a consequence that helps revivify and perpetuate the political sentiments at the root of the war on terror.


"I'm gonna share with you a vision that I had, 'cause I love you. And you feel it. Take all that money that we spend on weapons and defense each year, and instead spend it feeding, clothing and educating the poor of the world - which it would cover many times over, not one human being excluded - and we could explore space, together - both inner and outer - forever, in peace."

~ Bill Hicks

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.

The above slogans appear in the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four by English writer George Orwell (1949). The following quotation is from President of the United States Dwight D. Eisenhower's farewell address to the nation (1961). Published for your consideration, with a perspective on current events.
A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction...

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every statehouse, every office of the federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and liberty may prosper together.

Presidential Election Day! An opportunity to participate in representative democracy the two-party-abattoir!


This excerpt, re-blogged from today's citation on New-York-Times-champion-commentator Karen Garcia's site, comes from a worthy and utterly bleak article by Chris Hedges ("The S&M Election"):
Obama tells us that we better lick his boots or we will face the brute down the hall, Mitt Romney. After all, we wouldn’t want the bad people to get their hands on these newly minted mechanisms of repression. We will, if we do not behave, end up with a more advanced security and surveillance state, the completion of the XL Keystone pipeline, unchecked pillage from Wall Street, environmental catastrophe and even worse health care. Yet we know on some level that once the election is over, Obama will, if he is re-elected, again betray us. This is part of the game. We dutifully assume our position. We cry out in holy terror. We promise to obey. And we are mocked as we watch promises crumble into dust.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Critical thinking

"Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it."

~ Siddhartha Gautama, 563-483 B.C.